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Expert Shares How to Get Tomato Sauce Out of Any Fabric

Plus, how to remove a set-in stain from linen, cotton and more materials 

You devoured that spaghetti bolognese you whipped up this afternoon, but it seems one bite missed your mouth and instead made its way onto your favorite blouse. Don’t fret! We asked a fabric expert how to get tomato sauce out of clothes — no matter what material you’re working with. Keep scrolling for the expert advice.

How to get tomato sauce out of clothes

“Tomato sauce is notoriously difficult to remove because it contains a combination of oils, acids and natural pigments called carotenoids,” explains textile and fabric expert Grace Thompson. “The oils repel water, so washing is less effective. Meanwhile, the acids actually alter the fabric’s dye, making the carotenoids’ red hues stand out even more.”

Still doubting the tenacious staining properties of tomato sauce? Just store some in a plastic food storage container and then try to remove the orangey hue it leaves behind. So it’s no surprise it can be one of the toughest stains to get rid of on clothes. But it’s not impossible, it just depends on what your clothes are made of.

How to get tomato sauce out of cotton clothes

These fabrics are a bit more durable and can withstand most cleaning methods,” says Thompson. “This is my go-to method: first drip enough dish soap over the stain to cover it, then let that sit for about 10-15 minutes. This will help absorb and remove the oil. Rinse that with cold water, then apply a paste made from baking soda and water and let that sit for another 10-15 minutes — this helps neutralize the acids. When the time is up, use a damp cloth to gently ‘scrub’ the paste into the spot, then rinse. Repeat until the stain is no longer visible, then wash the garment as usual.”

How to get tomato sauce out of linen clothes

You can follow the same process as you did for cotton, but skip the scrubbing action, since linen can be more delicate, suggests Thompson. “Instead, rinse out the baking soda after it’s sat for the 10-15 minutes and repeat the soap/baking soda paste process again if the stain still lingers, then wash as per the garment’s label.”

How to get tomato sauce out of silk clothes

how to get tomato sauce out of clothes: Woman Cleaning Stained Shirt in Bathroom Sink.
Getty

“Silk is very delicate, so you’ll need to use a deft hand here,” says Thompson. “Apply undiluted dish soap or a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water using a clean rag. Make sure to dab and avoid scrubbing, which can damage silk.” Rinse with cold water — which prevents the stain from spreading — and if the stain is gone, you can wash according to the garment’s tag directions.

How to get tomato sauce out of nylon or synthetic clothes

“Pouring a bit of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide over the spot can typically get the stain right out, but it’s essential on these materials to do a spot test first,” explains Thompson. “Choose a small area that’s not visible and add the alcohol or peroxide to that spot first and leave for 10-15 minutes before proceeding on the stain.” Why the spot test? Since it’s impossible to predict how every blend of synthetic materials will react to a cleaning method, this ensures you get your stain out without damaging the fabric.

How to get tomato sauce out of wool clothes

“This material requires a gentle touch,” says Thompson. “I’d stick to using mild dish soap and a bit of white vinegar — you’ll get the one-two punch of attacking both the oils and acids with this method, but in a way that won’t harm the wool. Dab gently with a clean, damp cloth until the stain disappears.” If you’re running the garment through the wash after, skip the hot water setting to prevent shrinkage.

Tomato sauce stain already set in?

You can still get it gone! Try this multi-step method using just dish soap, water and white vinegar, as seen here:


For more on removing stains, click through the links below!

Experts Share How to Get Sunscreen Out of Fabric At Home to Avoid Stains

The Simple Method That Will Get Nail Polish Stains Out of Clothes From Laundry Pros

How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Every Surface in Your Home

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