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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

How to remove spaghetti sauce

By Dr. Laundry July 18, 2012

What is the best way to remove spaghetti sauce splatter from a natural, white cotton knit shirt?

Spaghetti sauce recipes can vary, but usually the stain is a combination of both oil and tomato solids. If you treat the oily part first, your chances of success go way up. Start by applying a little liquid laundry detergent or liquid dishwashing detergent directly to the stain. Gently rub it in and wait 5 minutes – this helps solubilize the oil. Rinse the treated area, and then pre-treat any stain remaining a second time to get rid of the colored part of the stain. How you do this depends on the color and fiber content of the item you are washing.

For items that are white (and don’t contain any wool, silk, spandex, mohair, or leather), apply a little Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel directly to the stain. Wash immediately in the warmest water recommended on the garment care label with detergent + ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach. Air dry the item to check for success – you want to avoid heat setting the stain in a hot dryer. Repeat the above steps if you don’t quite get all the stain out.

For items that are colored (or have fibers that shouldn’t be bleached, per above), apply a little liquid Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster directly to the stain.  Rub in and wait 3-5 minutes, but don’t let it dry on the fabric, then proceed to wash in the warmest water recommended on the garment care label with detergent + more Clorox2®. Air dry and check for success – retreat if any stain remains.