Ketchup stains can look bad at first, but if you act fast, that tomato-based blotch can be a thing of the past. It’s always best to check your clothing’s care tag before spot-treating, as some fabrics may have specific requirements like dry cleaning.

Cotton and synthetic fabrics in a washing machine.

HOW TO GET KETCHUP STAINS OUT OF COTTON AND SYNTHETIC FABRIC

  1. Scrape off any excess ketchup with a dull butter knife or spoon, then blot gently with a clean, white paper towel or cloth to remove as much as possible. 

  2. Rinse from the back of your clothing with cold water only. Hot water could set the stain.

  3. Working from the outside in to the center, rub enzyme detergent, stain remover or liquid dish soap (for handwashing) into the stain. Let it sit for 5 minutes so it can start working on the stain's oil base.

  4. Rinse completely and let air dry. If the stain is still present, you can repeat the above steps.  

  5. Wash the clothing according to its care instructions, but go for the warmest water recommended on the care tag. 

  6. Line dry. Heat from a dryer cycle can set stains that aren’t completely removed, especially tomato-based ones. If the stain still remains, repeat the steps above.
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Always rinse from back to front

Rinse with cold water from the back of the clothing to push the stain back out. Rinsing from the front may set the stain further into the fabric.

 

Wool, knits and other delicates in a washing machine.

HOW TO REMOVE KETCHUP STAINS FROM WOOL, KNITS & OTHER DELICATES

  1. Gently scrape off excess ketchup with a spoon or dull butter knife, then blot with a clean, white paper towel or cloth to remove as much as possible.

  2. Mix a mild detergent in cool water and add the stained clothing to this cleaning solution, then gently rub the solution through the stain and let soak for 10 minutes.

  3. Rinse and machine wash normally or dry clean, depending on the care tag instructions.

  4. Line dry. Heat can set stains that aren't completely removed, especially tomato-based ones. If a stain still remains, repeat the above steps.
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Jumpstart the stain removal process when you’re on the go

When you get a ketchup stain away from home, remove all of the excess, and saturate the stain with water by blotting. Do not scrub, as this might set the stain in more. Sprinkling artificial sweetener on the stain could help absorb some of the oils.

 

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