Salsa, the classic sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, jalapenos, and other seasonings, is a favorite accompaniment to tacos, burritos, and chips. There are several varieties of salsa, and it's likely that at some point, it will inevitably spill onto your clothing. That blob of salsa should be removed as soon as possible, being careful not to rub or scrub as that will push the stain further into the fibers of the material. Stains that are older will be harder to remove so it's best to tackle them sooner rather than later. Do not put the clothing into the dryer until all the stain is gone, as the heat from the dryer can set the stain in, making it harder to get it out. Fortunately, removing salsa stains is not difficult and can be done with a few simple steps using household items.
|Cycle type||Varies depending on the type of fabric|
Before You Begin
Prior to removing that stain, check the care label on your clothing. If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, remove any solids and blot gently with a clean white cloth. Do not rub because that will make the stain harder to remove. As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.
For materials that are particularly delicate, like silk or leather, it's best to carefully follow the label directions or have a professional dry cleaner treat the item.
If it's washable, you should test any detergent or cleaning solution in an inconspicuous spot on the piece of clothing first to ensure that it does not discolor the fabric. Note there are specific stain removal items and directions below for white clothing versus colored clothing.
Equipment / Tools
- 1 spoon or butter knife
- 1 clean sponge
- 1 bottle of liquid laundry detergent
- 1 bottle of white vinegar (optional)
- 1 bag of oxygen whitener (optional)
- 1 bottle hydrogen peroxide (optional for white/colorfast clothing)
- 1 cup lemon juice (optional for white clothing)
- 1 bottle of mild dish soap (optional for oily stains)
- 1 bottle of stain remover
How to Remove a Salsa Stain From Clothing
Remove Excess Salsa
Gently scrape the surface with a spoon or the back of a butter knife to remove as much of the excess salsa as possible from the fabric. This includes any chunks of vegetables, seeds, and sauce that can be removed. This won't damage your clothing but will allow all the excess to come off.
Run Garment Under Cold Water
Run cold water through the back of the stain as quickly as possible. This will force the stain back out through the fabric.
Don't run water through the front of the salsa stain, as it will only embed the stain more into the fabric.
Rub With Detergent
- Rub a liquid detergent into the stained portion of the fabric.
- Work the detergent into the stained fabric gently with a clean sponge in a circular motion, beginning on the outside of the salsa-stained area and moving toward the center of the stain.
Use a Mild Bleaching Agent for White Clothes
If the garment is white or colorfast, you can apply a mild bleaching agent. Choose between white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or lemon juice applied with a sponge. Remember that these will bleach out colors and patterns. If possible, test the bleaching agent on a small corner or hidden area of the fabric prior to using on the stain.
Ensure Stain Is Gone
Repeat with detergent followed by mild bleaching agent until the stain no longer appears. Hold the stain up to the light to make sure all of the salsa is fully gone.
Apply Stain Remover
Apply a stain remover stick, gel, or spray according to directions. Let the stain remover sit on the fabric for three to five minutes.
Launder the Garment
Wash the garment normally with laundry detergent. Before drying, check the stain again. Stains that are dried will usually become permanent. If the stain is still there, go to the next step.
Repeat If Necessary
If the salsa stain still remains, rub detergent into the blemish. Next, soak in warm water for 30 minutes. Rinse well and check for the stain again.
Try a Stain Stick One More Time
If, after all these steps, the salsa spot still remains, apply stain remover stick, gel, or spray, and launder according to directions. This final step can help get all traces of the salsa stain out.
Additional Tips for Handling a Salsa Stain
- If your stain is a combination of oily and wet, treat the oily part first with some mild dish detergent before proceeding with the directions above. This might happen if salsa along with taco meat or another oily substance have both spilled onto your garment.
- The faster you can begin the stain removal process, the more likely the stain will be eliminated. Spilled food that has been absorbed into the fabric for a long time is much harder to remove.