Removing a Tomato Stain

Written by Emily McBride (last updated February 7, 2022)

Spaghetti tastes great, but it can be a messy food to eat and the spaghetti sauce easily stains. Plastic ketchup packets are notorious for squirting when being opened. At some point or other in your life, you will probably get a tomato stain. These red, blotchy stains are ugly and very noticeable. You probably don't want to throw away a shirt any time you get tomato stains, so here are some tips on getting rid of them:

  1. Get to it quick. The more time a tomato stain has to soak into a fabric, the harder it is to remove. Don't let a stained shirt sit in the laundry basket for weeks—try to start cleaning the stain as soon as you can.
  2. Before you start cleaning the stain, remove any bits and pieces of tomato (or other food). If you don't, these pieces can actually stain the material as well.
  3. As for cleaning the actual stain, you can use cleaners that you probably already have at home, such as lemons and vinegar. To use a lemon, cut it on half and squeeze the juice on the spot. Then, scrub the spot with the rind of the lemon. To use vinegar, mix it with water and apply to the stain. Scrub the stain, and it should go away. Also, normal detergent and water will sometimes get rid of the stain.
  4. If these household products aren't getting rid of your stain, you can also use a stain remover. These cleaners are specifically formulated to get rid of stains and can be found in most supermarkets. To use, follow the directions on the package.
  5. After you have scrubbed at the stain, let the material dry in the sun. The sun acts as a natural bleacher and should help to get rid of the stain. However, the sun can also make darker fabrics fade, so don't leave the material in the sun for too long.
  6. After the spot is gone, you will want to wash the material the same way you usually wash it. This will get rid of the excess lemon, vinegar, or other cleaner that you used.
  7. If you still see a spot, repeat these steps. Don't dry any fabric in the dryer until the spot is gone. The heat from the dryer can permanently seal in the stain.

Following these steps, you should be back in your favorite shirt in no time. Just be more careful next time you're eating french fries or pasta!

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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