How to Remove Soy Sauce Stains From Clothes, Upholstery and Carpets

closeup of a cloth napkin stained with soy sauce

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 7 hrs

Soy sauce, a staple in Asian cuisine, is a dark condiment that tends to splatter, leaving dark splotchy stains wherever it lands. But you can easily remove soy sauce stains from garments and table linens if you act quickly. It's always best to treat stains while they are fresh, but even dried stains can be removed with soaking.

materials for getting rid of soy sauce stains
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 
Stain type Tannin-based
Detergent type Liquid laundry detergent; dishwashing liquid
Water temperature Hot
Cycle type Varies by fabric type

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Clean white cloth
  • Sponge

Materials

  • Clean cloth or paper towel
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • White distilled vinegar, lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide (for white or colorfast clothing)
  • Stain remover stick, gel or spray

Instructions

Before You Begin

As soon as possible after the stain occurs, blot any excess soy sauce from the garment or table linen with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Remove Soy Sauce Stains From Clothing

Be sure to act quickly, following these steps as soon as possible after the stain occurs. Even if you're in a restaurant, you can follow a couple of these steps to minimize the damage.

  1. Blot Any Excess Soy Sauce

    Use a clean cloth or napkin to blot the wet area. Never rub or the stain could set in and become harder to remove.

    person blotting excess soy sauce from a napkin
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  2. Flush With Cold Water

    Use cold water to prevent the soy sauce from setting. Run the cold water through the back of the garment, so it doesn't force the stain deeper into the fabric.

    person rinsing the stain under the sink
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  3. Spot Treat With Liquid Laundry Detergent 

    Use your thumb and fingers to rub liquid laundry detergent into the soy sauce stain gently. Allow the garment to sit for three minutes before rinsing it thoroughly.

    person spot cleaning with liquid detergent
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  4. Apply a Bleaching Agent

    If you've tested your clothing to confirm it is colorfast, or if the garment is white, you can apply a bleaching agent such as vinegar, lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide with a sponge. Do not do this with clothing that is colored or patterned and not colorfast. Alternate between rubbing liquid laundry detergent and the bleaching agent, rinsing between each application. When no more soy sauce can be removed, rinse thoroughly.

    Tip

    A natural bleaching agent like lemon juice or distilled white vinegar can be a good alternative to chlorine bleach on tough stains—and these natural products have a gentler impact on the environment.

  5. Soak the Garment

    If the stain remains, soak the item. Apply liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain and soak the clothing in warm water for 30 minutes. If the stain still remains, apply a stain remover stick, gel or spray before washing the garment normally, using the hottest water suitable for the clothing.

    cloth napkin soaking in a bleach solution
    ​The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  6. Check the Fabric

    Inspect the garment after washing it but before putting it in the dryer. If the stain isn't all gone, the heat of the dryer could set it permanently. If any stain remains, repeat the cleaning process.

Tips

A few additional steps may be effective at removing older, stubborn stains.

  • Prepare a tub with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Dab additional dish soap directly onto the stain. Place the garment in the tub and let it soak overnight.
  • Apply household hydrogen peroxide to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing.
  • Use a colorfast bleach in the laundry cycle. Check for success before moving the garment to the dryer.

Remove Soy Sauce Stains From Upholstery and Carpet

If you've dropped soy sauce on upholstered furniture or a rug, the washing machine is usually not an option. Act fast to blot the wet spot with paper towels or a clean cloth, being careful not to rub the stain deeper into the fibers.

What You'll Need

Supplies

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Ammonia

Tools

  • Clean cloth
  • Sponge
  1. Blot the Stain With Soap and Water

    Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups of cold water. Use a clean cloth to blot the stain until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the stain disappears.

    For carpet, if the stain remains, mix one tablespoon ammonia with one-half cup of water and sponge the stain with the ammonia mixture.

  2. Rinse and Dry

    Sponge the soapy solution from the spot with cold water and dry by blotting with another clean cloth or paper towel.

If the stain persists, treat it once more with the methods above. If the clothing, upholstery or carpet is is vintage or made from silk or wool, contact a professional cleaner or see our guide if you need more stain removal tips.