Fighting Summer Stains: Condiments

By: Laura Fenton
ketchup splatter

Winter is the season for one-pot meals and slow, simmered sauces. Summer’s the time for quick, high-heat grilling and flavor-packed condiments. From cookout fixings like ketchup and mustard to the mayonnaise that dresses lobster rolls, these tasty topping are stains waiting to happen. If you find yourself with condiments on your clothing, follow these simple steps to remove the offending marks:

Ketchup

Ketchup and other tomato-based sauces like barbecue sauce and salsa should first be scraped off of the cloth, to remove as much of the sauce as possible (a dull knife is a good scraping tool). Then spray the stain with a laundry pretreater, rub it into the stain and let the product work for at least 10 minutes before laundering. Opt for the warmest water the garment can take according to the care label and feel free to add color-safe bleach to the load.

Mustard

Tre Mitchell Wright, fabric care expert at Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science, recommends removing as much of the mustard as possible and then pretreating the spot with white vinegar. Launder according to the care label with detergent and a little color-safe bleach to finish the job.

Mayonnaise

Don’t get greasy stains wet! Your instinct may be to put water on the stain, but it’s not effective; instead apply a pretreater or liquid detergent directly to the grease stain. “Work it in, don’t just put it on there,” says Tre, who says products work better when worked into the fibers.

Oil or Melted Butter

As with mayo, avoid putting water on the stain. For a serious grease spot, cover the stain with either baby powder or cornstarch to absorb the oil. Let the powder soak up some of the oil, then brush it off and pretreat the stain before laundering.

Tip: If the offending mark persists after treatment for any of the stains mentioned above, launder the piece a second time before the garment has a chance to dry.

Fight more summer stains:

Laura Fenton is a Brooklyn-based writer whose work has appeared in many publications, including Country Living , Family Circle and Good Housekeeping . Read her blog, The Little House In The City, and follow her on Twitter @littlehousenyc.

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