How to Remove Hot Sauce Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

How to Remove Hot Sauce Stains

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr, 15 mins - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-$10

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. 

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Click Play to Learn How to Remove Hot Sauce Stains

Stain Type Tannin-based, oil-based, dye-based
Detergent Type Heavy-duty
Water Temperature Cold

Before You Begin

Before attempting to remove a hot sauce stain, test any detergent or cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the fabric to ensure that it doesn't cause discoloration. 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.

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. 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.

What You'll Need

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)

Materials

  • Water
  • Stain remover or liquid laundry detergent
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Oxygen-based bleach (optional)
  • Dishwashing liquid (for carpet or upholstery)

Instructions

items needed to remove hot sauce stains
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

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.

  1. 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.

    blotting a hot sauce stain
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 
  2. Spot Treat With a Stain Removal Pen

    Treat the stain with a stain removal pen if you have one handy.

    pretreating with a stain removal pen
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska  
  3. 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.

    flushing the stain with water
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska  
  4. 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.

    treating the stain with vinegar
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 
  5. 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.

    treating with stain remover
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 
  6. 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. 

    soaking the garment in an oxygen bleach solution
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Tip

In a pinch, you can use a piece of soft bread to absorb the excess hot sauce.

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.

  1. 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. 

    blotting a hot sauce stain on a rug
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 
  2. 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.

    mixing a stain removal solution
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. 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.

    treating the stain with cleaning solution
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 
  4. 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.

    rinsing away the cleaning solution
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    Air-dry the carpet and then vacuum to lift its fibers.

    air drying and vacuuming the rug
    ​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

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.