Try This Genius Hack Next Time You Need To Remove Tomato Stains

Why is it that when you're wearing a white shirt or a new pair of pants, tomato sauce somehow finds its way onto the fabric? Unlike some other food stains, tomato products leave a bright red splotch that can seem impossible to remove, even with a quick Tide-to-Go pen or vigorous scrubbing. While commercial stain removers may help if applied in time, there is a trick that you can try that may assist your efforts in lifting this tough laundry stain from your garment. Head to your pantry and grab your bottle of distilled white vinegar because it may be just the thing you need to banish that tomato stain for good.

To try this hack by using vinegar on tomato stains, start by mixing equal parts of 5% acidity distilled white vinegar and warm water in a bowl. Add a few drops of dish soap and mix the solution together. Then, lay your stained fabric on a clean, dry surface. Before using the vinegar solution, carefully remove any food debris from the affected area without further staining more of the surface. Once finished, apply the vinegar and soap solution liberally to the stain, gently scrubbing with a soft brush or damp cloth. It's important to scrub gently here, especially on delicate fabrics that may not tolerate a brush well. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 15 minutes, and then wash the item in cold water. With some luck, your item should be in the clear.

Why vinegar and dish soap should help

White distilled vinegar could quite possibly be the cheapest and greatest addition to your laundry room. It has many applications when it comes to stained or odorous garments or linens.

For tomato stains in particular, vinegar is effective due to its acidic nature. The acetic acid in vinegar acts as a solvent, breaking down the components of the tomato stain. This acid helps to break the chemical bonds in the stain, loosening its grip on the fabric or surface. Furthermore, vinegar is excellent at neutralizing alkaline substances, which are prevalent in tomatoes. When combined, these properties make vinegar a powerful agent for dissolving and lifting the acidic components present in tomato stains.

Similarly, dish soap is also effective in getting rid of tomato stains. The chemicals present in dish soap work to break down the oils and fats within the tomato stain. The dish soap essentially lifts the tomato stain from the surface, allowing it to be washed away more easily. Therefore, when vinegar and dish soap are used in combination, they create a potent stain-fighting mixture that targets both the alkaline and oily components of tomato stains, offering a highly effective solution for removal. Next time you get ketchup on your shirt, consider starting with a vinegar and soap solution.

How to proceed if vinegar isn't working

Okay, so you tried the DIY solution and didn't quite work. Unfortunately, some stains are incredibly stubborn and even the powerful combination of vinegar and dish soap can't stand up to the penetrating nature of tomatoes. There are additional steps you can take to address this saucy situation. A great next step for tomato stains is to use a baking soda paste.

To make a baking soda paste, combine 1 tablespoon of water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and mix until a paste forms. Apply the paste to the affected area of the fabric and use a soft brush, like a toothbrush to work the paste into the item. Let the item sit for at least 30 minutes and then rise cold water through the back of the stain to encourage it to lift out of the fabric. Baking soda, having an alkaline nature, is effective in this way at lifting the acids from the fabric.

Next, put a few drops of dish soap on top of the stain and gently work it in with your fingers. Like before, the dish soap should break down any remaining oils in the garment and allow them to be washed away. After gently working the dish soap into the surface, launder in cool water. Hang dry the item and repeat these steps if necessary. Also, never put a stained item in the dryer as it could bake the stain further into the fabric.