If you are not proficient with chopsticks, raw fish in sushi and related condiments like soy sauce and wasabi can leave frustrating stains on your belongings. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to remove these stains at home using everyday household products you likely already have in your cupboard.
Fish, soy sauce, and wasabi each contain a different stain composition. The fluid from raw fish creates a protein-based stain, the green dye in wasabi creates dye-based stains, and the brown color in soy sauce makes tannin-based stains. Stain removal treatment is always most effective while the stain is still fresh. Never treat a protein-based stain with hot water, as the heat can cook the enzymes and make the mark permanent.
|Stain type||Protein-based, tannin-based, dye-based|
Equipment / Tools
- Dull knife
- Credit card (optional)
- White cloth
- Paper towel
- Soft-bristled brush
- Oxygen bleach
- Heavy-duty detergent
- Stain remover
- Dishwashing soap
- Household ammonia
How to Remove Sushi, Soy Sauce, and Wasabi Stains From Clothes
The occasional stain is to be expected while enjoying a sushi meal. You can treat sushi stains using products like heavy-duty detergent, stain remover, and ammonia.
Remove Solids and Blot
Remove any solids, like wasabi or roe, using a blunt knife or the edge of a credit card. Be careful not to rub the substance into the fabric, making the stain more difficult to remove. If the stain is liquid, blot up as much fluid as possible with a white cloth or paper towel.
Flush With Water
Flush the stained area by holding it inside-out directly under running, cold water. Never use hot water because that can cook the protein from the fish into the fabric fibers and make the stain more difficult to remove.
Pretreat the stain with an enzyme-based stain remover or a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent, such as Tide or Persil. Let the cleaner sit on the fabric for at least 10 minutes before washing as you usually would.
Submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes. Check the stain and if it remains, continue soaking for another two hours or overnight before laundering as usual. This treatment is safe for all fabrics except silk, wool, or garments with leather trim.
How to Remove Sushi, Soy Sauce, and Wasabi Stains From Carpet and Upholstery
You can use the same cleaning solution and techniques recommended for carpets to remove stains from upholstery. Take extra care not to over-saturate the fabric because excess moisture can cause mold and mildew in cushions.
Remove Solids and Blot
Remove any solids as quickly as possible with a dull knife or credit card, and blot any fluids with a white cloth or paper towel.
Mix a Solution
Mix 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in 2 cups of lukewarm water, and use a sponge or soft-bristled brush to work the solution into the stain. Rinse and blot using a white cloth or paper towel dipped in cool water to remove any soapy residue that may attract dirt.
Mix Secondary Solution
Mix a solution of oxygen bleach and cool water if the stain remains. Saturate the stained area with the solution, allow it to rest on the stain for at least 30 minutes, and then blot the moisture.
Sponge older stains with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of non-sudsing household ammonia with 1 cup of water. If the carpet or upholstery is dark, test the mixture in a hidden spot before treating the stain, as it might cause colored fabrics to fade.
Finish by blotting and air-drying.
When to Call a Professional
When your stained garment is labeled dry clean only, scrape or blot any excess matter and head to the dry cleaner soon as possible. If you choose to use a home dry cleaning kit, treat the stain with the provided remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag. Remove the solids and contact a professional upholstery cleaner if the stained upholstery is vintage or silk.
Additional Tips for Removing Soy Sauce and Sushi Stains
To remove soy sauce stains, you can pre-treat the spot using a bit of hydrogen peroxide, followed by soaking. You may repeat your preferred cleaning method as many times as you see fit. While at-home methods are reliably effective, you can visit a professional cleaner for more specialized treatment advice if the stain doesn't seem to budge. You may need to tackle the smell of spilled fish products separately from treating the stain.