How to Remove Soy Sauce Stains

Quick action and cold water give you a head start

Soy Sauce and Soybean
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Soy sauce is a very dark condiment that has a tendency to splatter, leaving dark splotchy stains wherever it lands. To remove soy sauce from garments easily, you need to be quick. It's always best to treat stains while they are fresh, but even dried stains can be removed if you're up to soaking the garment.

How to Treat Soy Sauce Stains in Clothing

For most fabrics, these simple tools will do the trick:

  • clean cloth or paper towel
  • liquid laundry detergent
  • vinegar or hydrogen peroxide (for white or colorfast clothing)
  • stain remover stick, gel or spray

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 from the garment with a clean cloth or paper towel. Don't scrub the wet soy sauce or you'll make the stain worse.
  2. Flush with cold water through the back of the fabric. 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.
  3. Spot-treat with liquid laundry detergent. Use your thumb and fingers to gently rub liquid laundry detergent into the soy sauce stain. Allow the garment to sit for 3 minutes before rinsing it thoroughly.
  4. For white or colorfast clothes. 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 or hydrogen peroxide with a sponge. Do not do this to 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.
  5. If the stain remains, soak the clothing. 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.
  1. 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.

A few additional tricks may be effective at removing stubborn stains that don't respond to the recommended treatment.

  • Soak the garment overnight in water to which you've added dish soap. Dab additional dish soap directly onto the stain. Rinse well the next day.
  • Apply household hydrogen peroxide the stain and let it sit for a while before rinsing.
  • Use a colorfast bleach in the laundry cycle. Check for success before moving the garment to the dryer.

Treating Rugs or Upholstery

If you've dropped soy sauce on a rug or upholstered furniture, chances are the washing machine is not an option. If your fabric will hold up to moisture, you can try equal amounts of isopropyl alcohol and water as a cleaner, or experiment with 1 tablespoon ammonia to ½ cup water (though ammonia will damage wool).

If the stained item can only be dry-cleaned, you do have one additional option. Mix one part coconut oil with eight parts dry-cleaning solvent and use the mixture as a dry spot cleaner. Be careful, however, not to inhale the solvent as it can be both toxic and flammable.