Saucesplosion: How do I best clean this hot sauce or ketchup off fabric?
December 7, 2013 11:40 AM   Subscribe

In what is probably the strangest cleaning issue I've had to date, a seemingly inexplicable,* large glob of hot sauce (or maybe ketchup? hard to tell) found its way onto the floor of our bedroom. What's worse is that it was under several bags of clean laundry that had been brought up from the laundry room a few days ago. What's even worse than that is that I lifted those laundry bags up and put them on my bed where I was going to sort and fold the laundry. So, now we have sauce 1) on the wooden floor, 2) on my bedsheets in small amounts, 3) potentially on some of the clothes that were in the laundry bags, and 4) in thick globs on the exterior of all of our laundry bags (this is the one I'm least sure how to deal with). Help me!

First, the laundry bags: the sauce is globbed on these pretty thickly. Do I need to soak them before washing them in the machine? Or should I declare laundry bag amnesty and just throw them out?

What is the best thing to use to get thick red sauce out of fabric? I'm dealing with both natural and synthetic fibers here.

FYI, we live in an apartment building with communal washing machines--I'm worried about getting sauce all over the machines.

*Best guess for origin of sauce: rogue sauce packet from a takeout dinner earlier this week that was intact (and therefore not noticed) when the laundry bags were set down, and then smooshed accidentally sometime later. But this is really all speculation. Imagine my horror when sauce from nowhere is all over things in my bedroom of all places.
posted by ocherdraco to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
A safe way to start is to rinse off/out as much as possible with cold water.
posted by jon1270 at 11:52 AM on December 7, 2013

Rinse them off in the sink or bathtub.

Soak them in the bathtub in the stain remover of your choice: I have seen OxyClean work miracles.

Check and see how the stains are doing after about 20 minutes.

If they are still there, rinse and try a different stain remover.

If they are gone, or close, wring out the clothes enough that a human can get them to the basement.


(If you can soak in the washing machines, that would probably be easier...)
posted by kestrel251 at 11:55 AM on December 7, 2013

Don't throw the bags out - they're laundry bags, who cares if they have stains? Use them to determine the best way to remove the sauce and stains.

Start with cold water. Take a stained portion of one of the bags and soak in cold water to loosen the globbed-on sauce. Do what you can to gently get rid of as much as you can without rubbing it in further to the fabric. Then soak in something like oxyclean + cold water. Rinse. Repeat if necessary. On another stained/globby bag, maybe try something like Shout - but still use only cold water. Hot water and putting it in the dryer without removing all the goop will absolutely set the stain.

I wouldn't worry about gunking up the building's washers if you soak off most of the goop, and if the sauce is not some oil-laden stuff. Use an extra rinse cycle on the washing machine, if you want. See what the results are and modify your methods as needed for clothing and sheets; always test a small, non-visible bit of fabric with the stain-removal agent first.
posted by rtha at 11:57 AM on December 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Effective cleaning requires accurate diagnosis - I highly doubt this is hot sauce.

Smell it. Do you smell vinegar, tomatoes, or .. metallic? Hot sauce includes vinegar. If metallic, it's blood. Blood is one of the hardest things to remove. You need bleach.
posted by Kruger5 at 12:12 PM on December 7, 2013

Response by poster: It is definitely sauce, not blood.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:22 PM on December 7, 2013

In that case:

Dawn soap
Hydrogen peroxide

Combine the 2. Dawn is used to cut oil spill grease in the oceans. Hydrogen peroxide destroy tomato based staining particles.
posted by Kruger5 at 12:29 PM on December 7, 2013

Response by poster: Okay, the laundry bags are soaking in OxyClean (sorry, Kruger5, I got that going before I saw your most recent response). I'll work from there! Thanks, everyone.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:57 PM on December 7, 2013

Just don't run things through the dryer until you are sure that the stain is completely removed. You can safely wash multiple times in cold, but dryer heat will set any remaining stains.
posted by belladonna at 1:35 PM on December 7, 2013

Also sunlight! If you still have stains after all the treatments/washing, let hang dry in the brightest sunshine you can find. (Difficult perhaps if it's winter where you are.)
posted by rebeccabeagle at 11:08 AM on December 8, 2013

Response by poster: Oxy Clean did the trick! And I found the offending packet: it was ketchup after all.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:17 PM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

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