Hot sauce, which contains tannins and oils, can be challenging to remove from clothing. In general, the longer the stain remains on your clothing, the more difficult it is to get out. By acting promptly and using the proper stain removing agents and detergent, you may be able to banish the stain completely. To prevent the formation of toxic fumes, Ohio State University Extension warns that you should never mix stain removal materials--such as bleach and ammonia--together.
Classic Stain Removal Remedy
Blot up the excess hot sauce as soon as possible with a highly absorbent clean white cloth or white paper towel. Do not use a dark-colored cloth; it may bleed dye onto the fabric. Don't scrub with bar soap, and make sure your laundry detergent is true detergent, not soap, which can set stains. Rub a heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent into the stain, but don't work it in too aggressively, this can spread the stain and damage the fiber or the color of the cloth. Then machine-wash the item, using an all-fabric bleach, if not contraindicated on the clothing's tag. Ohio State University Extension notes that you should check the washed item before putting it in the dryer to make sure the stain is truly gone; if not, the heat of the dryer may set it in permanently.
Lemon and Salt Remedy
Sprinkle salt on the hot sauce stain, and squeeze lemon juice on it, then spread the garment in the sun to dry. According to the University of Ohio University Extension, the citric acid in the lemon juice, along with the sodium chloride, or salt, gives this mixture stain-removing properties. However, the combination of lemon and sun may cause color fade.
White vinegar, which contains acetic acid, may remove the hot sauce stain. According to Good Housekeeping, you should sponge the vinegar onto the stain after first flushing it from the back with cold water, rubbing with laundry detergent, and rinsing. Repeat the rinsing, detergent, rinsing and vinegar until you have removed as much of the stain as possible. Rinse with cool water and launder with heavy-duty detergent. Ohio State University Extension warns that vinegar may weaken cotton, rayon, acetate, triacetate, and silk, and can also cause color change. Test it on a hidden area first.
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Since hot sauce contains oils, you can use cornstarch for its absorbent powers. Rub it into the stain, and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Then brush with a dry, clean white washcloth. This gentle remedy--which may need to be repeated several times for best results--works particularly well on silk and wool.
Citrus Oil Products
The oils in the hot sauce may also respond to citrus oil products, which are natural solvents. The Care2 website recommends dabbing on the citrus oil, then laying a paper towel over the stain and using a steam iron on top of it to make the stain vanish.
Carol Sarao is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose articles have appeared in Atlantic City Weekly, The Women's Newspaper of Princeton, and New Millennium Writings. She has interviewed and reviewed many national recording acts, among them Everclear, Live, and Alice Cooper, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Warren Wilson College.