How To Get Tomato Sauce Out Of Clothes, Carpet & Upholstery

How To Get Tomato Sauce Out Of Clothes, Carpet & Upholstery?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Spaghetti and meatballs are simply- heavenly! Well, until the tomato sauce splatters on your work clothes, and you have to walk around all like that. Tomato sauce stains can be a pain to get off. But you really dont have to live with that ugly looking stain on your favourite top so here's how to get tomato sauce out of clothes or your carpet and upholstery. Because, you WILL have those days.

Other than removing tomato sauce stains on your clothes, you might have days where that pasta sauce might actually land and stain that beautiful rug or table cloth you just bought or just had freshly dry cleaned. And more so, why does it always have to happen when you really need everything to not go wrong and look all sparkly.

Even then, a few spaghetti bolognese sauce stains shouldn't ruin your dinner. Other than being quite difficult to remove, tomato stains can get a little stinky in a pungent smell that only intensifies when left to sit there. Tomatoes have tannins that cause them to stain your garment in tomato stains that don't get off so easy.

Additionally, tomato sauce also contains oil, so if your stain was caused by tomato sauce, that's going to be a little harder to get off. The good part about all this, is the fact that you can still remove this stain at home. Just remember to first pre-treat the fabric, before putting your garment in the dryer until the stains are fully out, since the heat can cause it to permanently set.

How Does Tomato Stain Your Fabric?

Tomatoes stains because the tomato seeds contains tannins, which are aalso used as a natural fabric dye. So, the spaghetti sauce or tomato soup from the tomato paste on your shirt actually dyes the fabric. Another problem with most tomato stains is that they come from the tomato sauce.

Tomato sauces contain oil, so, you'll not only be trying to remove the dye from the tannins, but also try to get the oil off the fabric. Pre-treatment of your fabric could be done when you blot dry the stain immediately using a paper towel or gently rub the stain remains using dishwasher detergent.

What You’ll Need To Remove Stains

  • Stain type - Tannin-based 
  • Detergent type - Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Use of chlorine bleach is optional and best if working with white fabrics
  • Water temperature - Cold water
  • Cycle type - Varies with the specific fabric content


  • Cool water
  • Heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent or mild dish soap
  • Stain remover like bleach (optional)
  • White vinegar (great option for white/colorfast clothing)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (also a great option for white/colorfast clothing)
  • Lemon juice (also a great option for all-white clothing)

Pre-treatment Of The Sauce Stain

If the sauce stain contains oil, for instance, since pasta sauce or tomato sauce contains oil, you'll first have to treat the oily part first with some mild dish detergent before proceeding with the directions. If you are not sure whether your sauce contains some oil. Generally, spaghetti sauce that contains any kind of meat is going to be a little oily. The goal here is to remove the stain gently before it fully sets, so you must first remove the oily part before you can deal with the tannin stain .

Pro Tips:

  • If your garment is white (also if you've tested its colorfastness), you can use a mild bleaching agent such as white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice
  • Beware that some of these items take the color and designs out of clothing, especially on white fabrics
  • Rinse thoroughly well

Method 1: Using Baking Soda And Salt

Baking soda and salt are 2 items that just about anyone could have in their house. They frequently both come in handy in stain removal. Its also one of the simplest home remedies on how to remove tomato sauce.

For this, all you'll need is salt, some baking soda, and cool water.

  • Mix equal parts of both salt and baking soda in a dish
  • Add some of the cold water to form a paste
  • Rub the paste into the sauce stains
  • To fully remeove tomato sauce then launder as usual.

Method 2: Dish Detergent, Ice Cube and Vinegar

Here's another simple home remedy you can use to remove tomato sauce stains or pasta sauce, that's made up of ingredients you can easily find in your kitchen. This method will require dishwasher detergent, white vinegar and some ice. Typically, dish detergent works amazing on those greasy stains, and on the other hand vinegar comes in handy with just about everything.

To remove tomato sauce stains, apply some dish detergent to that stain, then rub it in using the ice cube. After the tomato sauce stain had faded but not fully come off, using a clean cloth, blot out the stain using the vinegar. Then launder it as usual.

Method 3:

What's Needed

1. First Remove The Excess Tomato Sauce

Try to remove as much of the excess tomato sauce from the fabric before it sets. You can use a spoon or dry cloth or paper towel, or the back of a butter knife. These are tools that won't damage your clothing, and help remove the excess sauce before its sets. This part helps you avoid accidentally staining the rest of the fabric with the excess tomato sauce.

2. Run The Stain Through Cold Water

As quickly as you can, run some cold water through the back of the stain. This helps force the stain back out through your fabric. Don't run the cold water through the front of the tomato stain, since this will only deepen the set stain into your clothing. Run cold water for 10-15 minutes or until the water seems to be running clear.

3. Apply Dish Soap Or Liquid Laundry Detergent

Rub some of the soap into the stained portion of your fabric. Work into the fabric gently in a circular motion beginning with the outside, working into the stained area. Allow this to sit for roughly 10 minutes before you thoroughly rinse it.

4. Repeat And Add Bleach Until The Stains Are Off

Add more of the dish soap or laundry detergent, and some mild bleaching agent until the set stain no longer appears. Hold the cloth stain up to the light (natural light is best) to make sure that it's fully gone. If not, apply some stain remover stick, spray or gel. Allow this to sit for roughly 5 minutes.

5. Machine Wash It and Dry

Machine wash as you normally do with detergent. Alternatively, you can also let the clothing to air dry first so you can ceck whether there's any stain. If not, then it's safe to do the normal wash and dry.

If the stain is still there, rub detergent in again and then soak it in warm water for approximately 30 minutes. Rinse it well and you can apply stain remover stick, spray, or gel and launder it according to the specific cloth directions. Apply the stain remover, even if you can't see any lingering stain, just to be sure that it's all out when you finally toss it in the washing machine to wash it.

How To Remove Tomato Stains From Your Carpet and Upholstery?

In horror, you had to watch your plate of spaghetti with homemade pasta sauce fall on that off-white rug you love. Now you have tomato stains on your carpet. To remove this stain, just grab your carpet cleaner and white vinegar and follow these steps;

  1. Using a clean cloth scoop out as much of the excess tomato as possible
  2. Blot out the stain using a clean towel that's a little wet, while trying to absorb as much as you possibly can
  3. Repeat until you can't absorb any more of the stain
  4. Add a few drops of the carpet cleaner on your clean towel
  5. Gently but firmly rub that stained area
  6. Keep using the clean part of the towel while adding dish soap , to make sure the towel is absorbing the stain. Repeat this until the stain is out
  7. Use a spray bottle spray some white vinegar on the rest of the stain
  8. Allow the vinegar to sit for 15 minutes
  9. Blot it out using a towel
  10. Repeat until the stain is completely off
  11. You can wash or clean the whole rug or carpet if you need to, after
Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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