Removing Tomato Sauce Stains From Cotton Fabric

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Tomato sauce leaves a stain when spilled on cotton clothing.
Tomato sauce leaves a stain when spilled on cotton clothing. (Image: Whole Wheat Pasta and Tomato Sauce image by JJAVA from Fotolia.com)

A tomato sauce stain is a combination stain, containing both an oil stain component and a dye stain component. When removing tomato sauce stains from cotton fabric, it's important to use supplies that will treat both parts of the stain. Treat the stain as soon as possible for easier removal, using a combination of home remedies and standard laundry supplies.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Pre-wash stain remover
  • All-fabric bleach

Flush the stained area of the cotton fabric with cool water, from the reverse side of the fabric to the front. Continue to run water through the stain until the tomato sauce particles are gone.

When in doubt, use cool water instead of hot.
When in doubt, use cool water instead of hot. (Image: robinet image by razorconcept from Fotolia.com)

Pour liquid laundry detergent onto the entire surface of the stain. Gently rub the detergent into the stain with your fingertips, then allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

Rinse the cotton fabric with cool water to remove the laundry detergent. Continue to rinse until you no longer see soap bubbles. Pour white vinegar onto a clean sponge and dab at the tomato sauce stain for a few minutes. Rinse the sponge and the fabric well. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed until it seems the stain is no longer getting any lighter.

Sponge a stain instead of scrubbing so the stain doesn't spread.
Sponge a stain instead of scrubbing so the stain doesn't spread. (Image: sponge image by Leonid Nyshko from Fotolia.com)

Apply pre-wash stain remover to any remaining tomato sauce stain on the cotton fabric. Rub the stain remover into the fabric and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Wash the cotton garment according to the directions on the care label. Add all-fabric bleach to the wash cycle. Check the fabric for any lingering stain before placing it in the dryer, as the heat will set any tomato sauce that remains. If you still see tomato sauce, rub liquid laundry detergent into the stain and soak it in warm water for 30 minutes. Wash the garment again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Blot, scoop or dab when removing excess tomato sauce. Scrubbing will cause the stain to spread.

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