While a delicious touch to any dish, hot sauce can leave frustrating stains on your clothes, carpet, and upholstery. The tannins, oils, and the occasional boost of dye in hot sauce of any color or spiciness require prompt removal. Still, they are relatively easy to resolve when you take proper cleaning steps.
You can work to remove hot sauce stains at home using everyday household products you likely already have in your cabinet, such as white vinegar, heavy-duty detergent, and a stain removal stick. Unless a significant amount of dye has been added to the hot sauce, you should be able to remove the stain easily. Remember to never place a still-stained item in a machine dryer, as the high heat can set the mark and make it permanent.
Click Play to Learn How to Remove Hot Sauce Stains
|Stain Type||Tannin-based, oil-based, dye-based|
Before You Begin
The sooner the fresh stain can be treated, the better the chances of success for removal. Do not rub immediately. That will only push the stain deeper into the fabric fibers and make the stain harder to remove. Before attempting to remove a hot sauce stain, check the care label on the garment and test any detergent or cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it does not discolor the fabric. While most cleaning methods are gentle enough for a diverse range of fabrics, knowing an item's specific care needs will help you choose the best stain removal option. Older or dried stains will be harder to remove, so know that you might need to repeat the cleaning process several times before the stain disappears.
Equipment / Tools
- Dull knife, spoon, or plastic scraper (optional)
- Clean white cloth, napkin, or sponge
- Water faucet
- Washing machine (optional)
- Soft-bristled brush (optional for carpet or upholstery)
- Vacuum (for carpet or upholstery)
- Stain remover or liquid laundry detergent
- Distilled white vinegar
- Oxygen-based bleach (optional)
- Dishwashing liquid (for carpet or upholstery)
How to Remove Hot Sauce Stains From Clothing
You can work to remove hot sauce stains from clothing using a few simple, at-home steps. Always review your item's care label before washing.
Lift Away or Blot the Stain
Use the edge of a dull knife, spoon, or credit card edge to lift any solids from the sauce off the fabric's surface. Do not rub the hot sauce because it will push the stain deeper into the material. Blot the stain with a white cloth or napkin if the sauce is purely liquid.
Spot Treat With a Stain Removal Pen
Treat the stain with a stain removal pen if you have one handy.
Flush With Water
Flush the stain from the fabric with cold water as soon as possible. It's best to hold the material inside-out with the stain directly under a running faucet and let the force of the water push the hot sauce from the fabric's fibers.
Blot With Vinegar and Rinse
Dip a sponge or clean white cloth in distilled white vinegar. Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center, sponge the stain and then rinse well. Repeat until no more color from the hot sauce is transferred from the fabric to the sponge or cloth.
Treat With Stain Remover and Wash
Treat with a stain remover or a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent such as Tide or Persil, highly rated brands with high enzyme content. Let sit and then launder as recommended by the item's care label. If the stain persists, do not place the garment in the dryer. Instead, continue to another soaking step.
Submerge in Oxygen Bleach
Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach like OxiClean, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener or OXO Brite with tepid water and apply to any remaining stain. Submerge the entire garment and allow it to soak for at least four hours or overnight. Launder as you usually would.
How to Remove Hot Sauce Stains From Carpet and Upholstery
You can use the same cleaning solutions and care steps to remove hot sauce stains from carpet and upholstery as you would for clothing. Be careful, however, not to over-wet upholstery because it can create mildew and mold within the cushions.
Remove Solids and Blot Away Wetness
Scoop up any solids from the sauce using a dull knife or spoon. Blot the stain from liquid hot sauce stains with a white cloth or paper towel, but never rub. Work from the outside edge of the stain to prevent the mark from becoming more significant.
Make a Cleaning Solution
Mix a solution of 2 teaspoons of hand dishwashing liquid, 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, and 2 cups cool water.
Treat Stain With Cleaning Solution
Dip a sponge, white cloth, or soft-bristled brush in the solution. Start at the outside edge of the stain and work the cleaning solution inward into the stained area. Blot with a clean white cloth or paper towel to transfer the stain out of the carpet. Keep moving to a clean, dry area of the cloth until no more stain is transferred.
Rinse and Blot Away Cleaning Solution
Dip a clean white cloth into tepid water to rinse the area. It is essential to rinse any cleaning solution, as any residue will attract soil to the site. Blot until no more soapy residue remains.
Air-Dry and Vacuum
Air-dry the carpet and then vacuum to lift its fibers.
When to Call a Professional
If your stained garment is labeled as dry clean only, remove any solids and blot with a clean white cloth before heading to the dry cleaner as soon as possible. Point out and identify the stain to help your professional cleaner choose the proper treatment. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag. If your stained upholstery fabric is vintage or silk, consult a professional before attempting to remove the stain.
Additional Tips for Handling Hot Sauce Stains
If you're using bleach to resolve a stain on any non-pure white cotton fabric, make sure it's oxygen-based. Oxygen-based bleach is safe for all washable, white, and colored fabrics except for silk, wool, and anything trimmed with leather. In addition to vinegar, cornstarch acts as a great natural cleaning agent. You can sprinkle cornstarch on a hot sauce stain, let it sit for around 10 minutes, and then rinse. You should be able to remove a hot sauce stain at home, but if it persists, visit a professional cleaner for more specialized advice.