The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti Dinner Stains


Spaghetti sauce splatter on your shirt, wax drips on the table cloth,and wine spots stain the rug, it can and will happen. And why does the bread always fall butter-side down? But, don’t let worrying about a few stains ruin your dinner.

ACI has these cleanup tips for after your feast:

Tomato Based Stains

  1. Remove as much of the excess tomato sauce as possible from the fabric.
  2. If the fabric is washable, run cold water through the back of the stain as quickly as possible. This will force the stain back out through the fabric. Don't run it through the front of the tomato stain, which will only force it more deeply into your clothing.
  3. Rub a liquid laundry detergent into the stained portion of the fabric. Work it into the fabric gently in a circular motion beginning on the outside of the stained area, and working in.
  4. If the garment is white, or you have tested it for colorfastness, apply a mild bleaching agent. Possible agents include hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar applied with a sponge. You can also use lemon juice on white fabrics. Rinse well.
  5. Repeat with detergent followed by mild bleaching agent until the stain no longer appears. Hold the stain up to the light to make sure it is fully gone.
  6. Apply a stain remover stick, gel, or spray. Allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes while you wait.
  7. Wash normally with detergent. Before drying, double-check the stain. Stains that are dried will often be permanent.
  8. If it remains, rub detergent into the tomato stain. Next, soak in warm water for 30 minutes. Rinse well.
  9. If the tomato stain is still stubborn, apply stain remover stick, gel, or spray and launder according to directions.

Wine Stains

If the fabric is washable, dab the stain with cool water or soak it in cool water for about 30 minutes. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder; if safe for the fabric, add chlorine bleach to the wash.

Butter Stains

Cleaning butter stains doesn't have to be hard. 

  1. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover.
  2. Launder in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.

Candle Wax

  1. Use a dull knife to scrape off surface wax.
  2. Place stain between paper towels and press with a warm iron, transferring the wax to the towels.
  3. Continue, using clean towels, until the wax no longer transfers.
  4. Place stain face down on another clean paper towel and sponge with a prewash stain remover; blot with paper towels.
  5. Let dry, then launder.