Remove Soy Sauce and Sushi Stains from Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

How to Remove Sushi and Soy Sauce Stains

The Spruce / Alex Dos Diaz

If you are not proficient with chopsticks, sushi and condiments such as soy sauce or wasabi can often land in your or your neighbor's lap. While the sushi isn't much of a problem, the dipping sauces can be tough to remove.

Removing Stains from Washable Clothes

Sushi is most often a roll of raw seafood, rice, and vegetables. Since the fish or seafood is raw, when it is dropped on fabric, remove any solids and then treat the spot like a bloodstain. Flush the stained area by holding it with the wrong side directly under a running cold water faucet to force out the stain. Never use hot water because that can cook the protein in the blood into the fabric fibers and make the stain more difficult to remove. After flushing, launder as recommended on the care label.

If a dollop of wasabi lands on fabric, use a blunt knife or edge of a credit card to remove any wasabi on the fabric. Try not to rub it any deeper into the fibers. Pretreat the stain with an enzyme-based stain remover or a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent (Tide and Persil have enough enzymes to break apart the stain molecules). Work the cleaner into the fabric and let it work for at least 10 minutes before washing as usual.

When soy sauce splatters everywhere, blot up as much of the liquid as possible with a white cloth or paper towel. Before washing, pretreat the stain with an enzyme-based stain remover or a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent, working it in and letting it work for at least 10 minutes.

Check the stained items after washing before you toss them in the dryer. Never dry a stained garment at high heat. Instead, fill a sink with cool water and add the recommended amount of oxygen bleach (follow package directions). Brand names are OxiClean, Nellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite. Completely submerge the entire garment or table linen and allow it to soak at least 30 minutes. Check the stain and if it remains, let the item soak one or two hours longer. Then, wash as usual. This treatment is safe for all fabrics except silk, wool, or anything with leather trim.

Removing Stains from Dry-Clean-Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry-clean-only, remove any solids by lifting them away from the fabric with a dull knife or spoon edge. Next, blot the stain with a white cloth. As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

If the stain is small and you decide to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

Removing Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

If raw or cooked fish, vegetables, or condiments hit the carpet, remove any solids as quickly as possible. Immediately blot the stain with a plain white cloth or paper towel to absorb any liquids.

Mix a solution of one teaspoon hand dishwashing liquid in two cups of lukewarm water. Use a sponge or soft-bristled brush to work the solution into the stain. Use a white cloth to blot away the stain as it is lifted from the fibers. Rinse with a cloth dipped in plain cool water to remove any soapy residue that can attract soil.

If the stain remains, mix a solution of oxygen bleach and cool water. Saturate the stained area with the solution and allow it to remain on the stain for at least 30 minutes. Then blot up the solution and "rinse" with plain water by sponging the area. Blot with a clean dry cloth until all moisture is gone. Allow to air dry away from direct heat.

If the stain is older, try sponging with a mixture of two teaspoons of non-sudsing household ammonia mixed in one 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 colors to fade. Again, blot with the solution, then rinse with plain water and blot with a dry cloth to remove moisture. Allow it to air-dry.

The same cleaning solution and techniques recommended for carpet can be used to remove stains from upholstery. Take extra care not to over-saturate the fabric because excess moisture can cause problems in the cushions.

Allow the cleaned and rinsed area to air-dry away from sunlight and direct heat. If the upholstery is vintage or expensive silk, remove the solids and contact a professional upholstery cleaner or if you need more stain removal tips.