3 ways to remove marinara sauce stains from clothing

How to remove marinara sauce stains from clothing?

Marinara stains on clothes are something we’ve all had to deal with – except those that never eat marinara. Tomato-based sauces, in general, have a tendency to leave disastrous stains that will horrify anyone affected. Sadly, it’s really difficult to eat spaghetti without making a bit of a mess, so they’re also difficult to avoid.

Fortunately, marinara is not the hardest thing to clean. If possible, act fast, and choose from among our methods to remove marinara sauce stains from clothing.

Before you begin

To ensure the safety of yourself, your family, and your clothes, read our helpful tips and tricks.

  1. If you’re using any type of detergent or solution, please do not clean around children or pets.
  2. Air out the room. Never use detergent in a closed room with no air supply.
  3. Before attempting our methods, test each cleaning solution on a hidden patch of your garment. Apply a small amount and leave to dry. If it doesn’t stain, you can continue.
  4. Always read the tags on your clothing to ensure that this particular solution or detergent will be safe for the fabric.

Simple ways to remove marinara sauce stains from clothing

Like with most stains, it’s important to act fast. Even a bit of cold water applied almost immediately will help you. 

Once you do start cleaning, make sure you don’t rub the stain too hard, or you may make the situation worse. Be prepared to repeat some of the steps if the stain is large or already dry. However, even if it takes time, don’t stress. It’s entirely possible to remove marinara sauce from your clothes.

Read on below to find the perfect method for you.

Method #1: Using vinegar

Time: >30 min + laundry time

Required items: liquid dish soap, distilled white vinegar, water, clean cloth, butter knife or a spoon, ice cubes

This method is known to be successful. For a large stain, also prepare a big bowl to sink the garment in.

  1. Start by scraping away as much of the marinara sauce as possible. Use a spoon or a butter knife.
  2. Attempt to clean as much of the stain as possible by putting the back of the stain directly underneath a small stream of water. 
  3. Rub over the stained area with an ice cube. Do this as if you were rubbing out the stain.
  4. Once done, combine 1 part liquid dish soap, 3 parts white vinegar and 3 parts water. Mix well.
  5. Apply the solution directly to the stain, then blot it in using a clean cloth. 
  6. If the stain is really big, you can soak the entire garment in the solution.
  7. Leave it to sit (or soak) for about 20 minutes.
  8. Rinse with fresh, cold water.
  9. If the stain persists, you can repeat these steps.
  10. Once the stain is gone or almost gone, you can throw the piece of clothing into the laundry as normal.

Method #2: Using baking soda

Time: >30 minutes + laundry time

Required items: baking soda, salt, clean cloth, cold water, a butter knife or a spoon

This is a very simple, but effective method.

  1. Start the same way as in Method #1 – scrape away excess sauce, then put the back of the stain underneath a steady stream of cold water.
  2. Combine equal parts of salt and baking soda, then add a bit of water to form a thick paste.
  3. Rub the paste onto the stain generously, using a clean cloth. 
  4. Leave it to sit for 20 minutes.
  5. Scrape away the paste, then run the back of the garment under a stream of cold water.
  6. If needed, repeat the steps. Otherwise, launder as usual.

Method #3: Using boiling water

Time: >30 minutes + laundry time

Required items: heat resistant bowl, boiling water, a butter knife or a spoon

This is a natural method that should break up dried stains. You can also use it as an introduction to our other methods. Before trying this method, make sure that boiling water won’t damage your fabric.

  1. Begin by performing steps 1-2 from Method #1: scrape away excess sauce and rinse the back of the stain with cold water.
  2. Place the garment over the still empty bowl so that the stain is positioned right in the center of it.
  3. Stretch the garment slightly. There should be almost no slack on the piece of clothing.
  4. Pour the boiling water carefully through the garment. Aim for the stained area.
  5. You can leave it to sit for a few minutes, but the process of boiling water going through the garment should be enough to remove the stain.
  6. If the stain is gone, throw the clothing into the laundry. Otherwise, try our other methods now.

What’s next?

Marinara sauce stains, while cleanable, can sometimes be stubborn. If the above methods don’t work for you at first, you can repeat them or even mix them as needed. They use natural products, so they are safe for most fabrics.

For clothes that are white or color resistant, you can also try to use 3% hydrogen peroxide. Simply add it to Method #1 as an additional step – pour some onto the stain and allow it to sink in for a few minutes.

If the methods don’t work, consider purchasing a professional stain remover. Enzyme cleaners are known to work rather well on tomato stains, but any kind of stain remover should do. Read the label carefully.

When even the stain remover doesn’t help, consider consulting a professional dry cleaner. With more tools at their disposal, they may be able to help.

One way to avoid at least some marinara sauce stains is putting down a napkin either on your shirt or in your lap. However, if something slips through, don’t worry – and try to act fast. The sooner you begin the cleaning process, the higher the chance that the stain will be easy to clean.