How to Remove Ketchup Stains

Close-up of ketchup stain on white shorts.

Cookouts and barbeques are a staple of summer fun. Friends, family, games and good food make for a fun day out in the sunshine. But a drop of ketchup can quickly ruin a favorite shirt or shorts. With a little time, patience and help from Molly Maid, you will be on your way to salvaging your favorite items of clothing!

How to Remove Ketchup Stains

  1. Remove as much of the extra ketchup as possible to avoid any excess smearing or spreading of the stain. A spoon or the back of the knife will remove any extra ketchup without damaging the fabric.
  2. Rinse the back of the fabric with cold water as soon as possible. This will help push the stain out of the clothing. If you rinse the fabric from the side with the stain on it, it can cause the ketchup to be pushed further into the fabric.
  3. Blot with a clean rag and dish soap solution (mix 1 tbsp. dish soap + 10 oz water in a bottle to use in the laundry), working from the outside in to prevent the stain from spreading.
  4. Flush with vinegar to help remove more of the ketchup from the clothing. Make sure to use white vinegar over other kinds such as apple cider vinegar as it will not stain the clothing.
  5. Check to see if the stain is gone. If you see any hints of brown or pink, repeat the previous steps until it is completely gone.
  6. Pretreat the area with a stain remover. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to let it work on pulling the stain from the clothing.
  7. Launder the clothing in cold water. If any part of the stain is being stubborn, this will allow you to continue to try and get the stain out of the clothing. Once the clothing has been dried, the heat from the dryer will set the stain, making it nearly impossible to remove from the clothing.

While sorting laundry, if you come across a stain that was already dried on the clothing, don’t worry! Simply soak the stain in cold water to loosen the ketchup from the fibers. Next, follow the above steps to help remove the ketchup stain.

Need more tips for keeping your house clean? Check out our home cleaning blog for more helpful hints from your friends at Molly Maid.

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