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How to Remove Food Stains From Clothes

Ever enjoyed a meal so much that you accidentally stain your clothes? Read this guide to help you remove stubborn food stains from clothes.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Food stains on clothes

Food stains on clothes are usually a sign of a meal that has been enjoyed with much zeal! From enjoying your food so much that you’re rushing it in and spilling it at the same time, to the joy of a child playing with their food and learning about texture and taste, food stains often mean love, enjoyment and fun was had.

While this may be true, they can also be pesky things that are hard to get out after the fun has dissipated, right? Here is our guide on how to remove food stains from clothes, the most common ones like pasta sauce, coffee and red wine anyway. We’ll give you a list of the best detergents to use too:

How to Remove Food Stains from Clothes

Pasta Sauce Stains

Most pasta sauces are tomato-based, and these are the sauces that stain clothing the most. The sauce stains are usually easy to get rid of if you get them early. If a spill happens, get the item off quickly, and pre-treat the stain as soon as possible. Here’s how:

  • Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half onto the stain. Leave it to sit for 10 – 15 minutes.

  • If the fabric is white, you can also apply a teaspoon of white vinegar to the stain too.

  • Wash the fabric as normal after it has soaked. We recommend using OMO Auto Washing Powder for great results and removing tough stains.

Coffee Stains

Coffee stains are the norm in most households, whether it’s on shirts or spilled on bedding too. Here’s how to deal with coffee stains on clothing:

  • Rub a little of your favourite laundry detergent on the stain or use Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid. Sunlight breaks down the oil in the coffee and allows the stain to break down.

  • Leave the dishwashing liquid to soak in for 10 – 15 mins and then soak the garment in warm water for a further few minutes.

  • Wash the fabric as normal after it has soaked.

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Red Wine Stains

Your grandmother was spot on when she taught you to put some table salt on red wine stains. Table salt draws the red wine out of the fabric, making it easier to get rid of. Here are a few other ideas:

  • You can also pour a tablespoon of milk on the stain or white vinegar (if the fabric is white).

  • Once you’ve pre-treated the stain with one of these suggestions. We’d recommend soaking the garment in a bucket of warm water and Surf Hand Washing Powder. Allow to soak for 10 – 15 minutes and then give it a vigorous hand wash. Rinse and dry outside in the sun.

The Best Ways to Clean Different Types of Food Stains

At Cleanipedia, we’ve done a lot of homework when it comes to stains, and just how to get the peskiest ones out of clothing. Below is a list of blogs we’ve written before that can help you to get rid of stubborn stains from clothing:

Which Foods Are Most Likely to Cause Stains on Clothes?

When it comes to staining, just about anything can stain clothing and fabrics from tea to toothpaste. Commonly though, the top foods (and drinks) that cause stains most often are:

  • Cooking oils and butter

  • Chocolate

  • Red Wine

  • Tomato-based foods

  • Fruit like blueberries, strawberries and blackberries

  • Coffee and Teas

Tips for Removing Stubborn Food Stains From Clothes

We’ve given you the lowdown on how to get food stains out of clothes quickly and most effectively, but here are our top tips to remember:

  • Act quickly – when it comes to stains, the quicker you can pre-treat them or get them soaking, the better.

  • Use what you have in your cupboard – like white vinegar, table salt, or a lemon as a great pre-treat mixture to break down stains quickly.

If you’d like our advice, we’d say that you should never stop living or having fun (or allowing your kiddies to do the same) just because you’re worried about food stains. With great products like Skip, Surf and Sunlight washing powders, liquids and soaps, you’ll be able to get rid of most stains, most of the time.

For more laundry tips and tricks, browse through our Laundry articles today!

Frequently Asked Questions on Removing Food Stains from Clothes

Are food stains permanent?

If not treated quickly and properly, food stains can leave a nasty permanent ring. However, if you use a combination of at-home ingredients and great laundry detergents like Skip, Surf and Sunlight, then you’re pretty much sure that food stains won’t last forever.

How do you get food stains out of clothes naturally?

In our blog above, we’ve given you tips on at-home ingredients to use on a variety of stains, like vinegar, table salt and even lemon juice. Read the blog above for more info.

Do food stains come out in the wash?

If you pre-treat fabric well beforehand and use a good quality hand washing powder like Surf or a washing detergent like Skip, food stains will most likely come out easily in the wash.

What is the fastest way to remove stains from clothes?

The fastest way is to act fast. If you can get the stain treated as quickly as possible, it’s more likely to be able to come out.

What detergent removes food stains from clothes?

Surf and Skip are our favourite washing powders for hand washing and machine washing when it comes to getting stains out. You can also use Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid for those nasty oil or butter stains, and coffee stains too.

Originally published