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Treating a salsa stain

By Dr. Laundry February 6, 2013

I spilled some salsa in some khaki shorts. I tried Oil Soap and that helped a bit, but did not completely treat the stain. How do I get the rest out?

I’m guessing you have a salsa stain on khaki shorts, which are either tan or olive green in color. I don’t think using Oil Soap to pretreat the stain will have made the residual stain permanent. The bigger issue is whether or not the shorts were tumble dried in a hot dryer following your first attempt to pretreat the stain. If the shorts air dried after you washed them, then you have a pretty good chance you will be able to get the stain all the way out. If, however, the shorts did go through a hot dryer, then the stain is probably heat-set and likely permanent. If the shorts haven’t been tumble dried, you can try the following:

For salsa stains on most colored fabrics, first rinse the stained area with a little cool water. Next, pretreat the stain—which product you use depends on the color and fabric content of the item. Your shorts sound like they have color, so you would want to pretreat with a little liquid Clorox2® Stain Fighter and Color Booster. Apply a little directly to the stain, gently rub it in, and wait 3-5 minutes before washing in the hottest water recommended on the garment care label using detergent and more Clorox2®. Air dry the shorts and then check for success—if any stain remains, repeat the treatment.

For salsa stains on bleachable white items (always avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex), after rinsing the stain with cool water, you can pretreat with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel. Apply a little of the gel directly to the stain and gently rub it in using the soft scrubber tip. Immediately wash the item in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and Clorox® Regular-Bleach. Let the item air dry and then check to see if the stain is all the way out—repeat if necessary.