How to Get Ketchup Out of Clothes

How to Get Ketchup Out of Clothes

Ketchup goes great with burgers and chips, but it doesn’t go as nicely with a blouse and jeans!

So, when disaster strikes and a blob of ketchup lands on your top, don’t fret, there’s a simple solution to your problem.

Just act as quick as you can to scoop up the sauce, and then treat the item of clothing with detergent.

Check out the step-by-step guide on how to remove ketchup from your clothes below. You’ll soon be rid of those ghastly red marks!

As tempting as it is to dive right in and scrub away the splatter of ketchup on your t-shirt, there are a few points you need to know before you clean up the mess.


Tips to Consider Before Removing Ketchup from Clothes

ketchup stain on polo shirt

  • Act as fast as you can to remove the stain from your clothes.
  • Do not scrub the ketchup off your clothes as this will embed the sauce into the fibres of the material.
  • Do a patch test before you clean your ketchuped garment, just to make sure there’s no bad chemical reaction between the cleaning item and the fabric in question.
  • When removing a ketchup stain, always work from the outside of the mark towards its centre, and not the other way around. This’ll stop you from spreading the stain around and making it bigger.
  • Only use cold water when treating a ketchup stain as hot water will set the stain into the fabric.
  • Only use bleach and hydrogen peroxide on white and colourfast garments, these chemicals will discolour coloured clothes or items that are not colourfast.
  • Do not dry the stained item of clothing until the stain has gone. A dried ketchup stain is a little harder to remove.
  • Be prepared to repeat the treatment steps below multiple times to get rid of the ketchup mark completely. Ketchup has a funny old way of sticking around long after it’s been treated! So, don’t let it fool you – treat your item of clothing a few times to make sure the red blemish goes away.


How to Get Ketchup Out of Clothes

how to get ketchup stain out of clothes

Follow the steps below to get ketchup out of your clothes.

What you’ll need:


Steps to follow:

  1. With a clean cloth/paper towel wipe as much ketchup off your garment as possible. Just be careful not to splodge the red mess around.
  2. Use a spoon to scoop up as much excess ketchup as you can.
  3. Once you’ve removed as much ketchup as possible, turn the garment inside out, so the back of the stain is facing you.
  4. Go over to the sink and run the cold water tap.
  5. Hold the garment under the tap, and allow the water to run through the back of the ketchup stain. This’ll help to push the ketchup up and out of the clothing’s fibres.
  6. Continue to do this for a few minutes.
  7. Next, turn your garment the right way around again.
  8. Grab some liquid laundry detergent and spread a few blobs of it over the ketchup stain (it’s also possible to use washing up liquid, but do a discreet patch test first).
  9. You’ll need to gently, and carefully, rub the detergent into the stain using a cloth/sponge.
  10. Continue to do this for a few minutes. The detergent will help to lift the red colour from your item and it’ll also take out the oiliness of the ketchup.
  11. Once you’ve worked the detergent into the garment, leave it alone for about 5-10 minutes.
  12. Rinse the garment under cold water.
  13. You’ll need to thoroughly examine the garment for a red stain before you launder it – there’s a very good chance that the stain will still be present, so continue with the steps below.
  14. Apply an off-the-shelf stain remover to the area to lift the stain away. OR dab some white vinegar onto the stain with a sponge to remove it further. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used but be careful as this chemical can discolour clothes, so do a patch test and ideally, only use it on white coloured clothes.
  15. Leave the treatment on the garment for a few minutes.
  16. Wash the garment as normal in the washing machine/by hand.
  17. Before drying the garment, check it over for stains. If you spot a stain repeat the steps above to remove the mark.
  18. When the ketchup stain has gone, you can air dry the garment.

Tip: If you’re out and about, you’re not going to be able to take your item of clothing off to run it under a cold water tap. So, instead, just soak the stained zone with cold water and blot the area clean to remove as much ketchup as you can. When you get home, you can treat the item properly.


How to Treat Old Ketchup Stains

running stain under cold water

Before you treat an old ketchup stain that has gone dry, you’ll need to pre-treat it.

The easiest way to pre-treat a ketchup-stained garment is to leave the item of clothing to soak in cold water for about 20 to 30 minutes, before you start the official treatment phase.

The cold water should help to loosen the stubborn ketchup on your item, so it’ll be easier to remove.

To remove the stain after the pre-treatment has taken place, just follow the steps above.


How to Remove a Stubborn Ketchup Stain

If you’ve got a stubborn ketchup stain that just won’t budge, and you’ve tried all the steps above, you’ll need to rub liquid laundry detergent directly onto the red patch and then leave your garment to soak in some warm water (not hot) for about 30 minutes.

You can then wash the item of clothing as usual.

If the ketchup is still leaving reddish traces on your garment, and no amount of pre-treating, official treating and post-treating help, it is worth asking a professional dry cleaner for advice.


Will Vinegar Remove Ketchup Stains?

Will Vinegar Remove Ketchup Stains

White vinegar has the ability to remove ketchup stains from clothes, however, it’s important that you remove excess ketchup from your garments and treat them with liquid laundry detergent beforehand.

It’s also imperative that you do a discreet patch test with your white vinegar before you use this product to clean your clothes.

You should not use any other type of vinegar aside from white vinegar, to treat ketchup stains on clothes.

Other types of ketchup might stain items further because they can be dark and yellow in colour. White vinegar, on the other hand, is a clear liquid.


Is Ketchup Hard to Get Out of Clothes?

Getting ketchup out of clothing isn’t the hardest task in the world, but it can sometimes be a tiring and monotonous process to carry out.

Ketchup has a tendency to leave reddish traces on clothes, and sometimes you don’t notice that there are still marks left behind on your garments until after you’ve washed them, particularly on white or light-coloured clothes.

So, going back and re-treating items is usually time-consuming and annoying. But the actual cleaning and treating aren’t very difficult to do.

One way of making your work easier is to treat the ketchup stain completely before you dry the item of clothing.

Heat has a tendency of making the ketchup harder to remove, so avoid drying the garment until you know the clothing is actually free from ketchup marks.


Does Ketchup Permanently Stain Clothes?

Will Vinegar Remove Ketchup Stains

If you act quickly, follow the steps above, and even repeat the steps noted a few times, you’re in with a very good chance of removing the stain completely.

That being said, if you’ve not acted as fast as you could’ve done, and you’ve allowed the stain to dry and set it, it’s going to be harder to remove. But not impossible.

In this case, you’ll likely spend more time treating the garment in question. And, if it’s possible and safe to do so (white item of clothing), you may have to bleach the garment to completely remove the ketchup stain.

If, on the other hand, you don’t bother treating the ketchup stain at all, it will dry into the fibres of your clothes and may cause irreparable damage to them.