How to remove tea stains
Tomato sauce is a staple food for kids. Whether it's part of a pasta sauce, or an essential topping on your sausage sandwich - a spill of tomato sauce or tomato juice on your clothes can cause a stain. There's a simple trick to ridding tomato stains - but first you have to figure out what type of tomato stain you are dealing with:
Tomato ketchup: This type of tomato sauce not only includes tomatoes but also vinegar and sugars. The sugar can caramelise on fabric if you toss it into a hot wash (or dryer) so be sure to make sure this stain has gone before you show it any heat.
Fresh tomato juice: Ever bitten into a fresh tomato slice, only to have the juice and pips splurt all over your clothing? Delicious but removing the resulting stain isn't fun because tomatoes love to stain.
Cooked tomato sauce: Because cooked tomato sauce is an integral part of so many Italian meat sauces, when you are dealing with this type of stain, you have to consider that this is an oily or grease-based tomato stain you are now dealing with.
Removing tomato stains from clothes or fabrics
Tomato has an uncanny ability to avoid the mouth, bib or napkin and settle cosily into clothing. But it's actually quite easily removed - with the sun. UV rays break down tomato stains so simply launder clothes as usual and hang out in the sun - stain side facing out. By the time it's dry, the stain should have faded away like magic -- unless of course whatever else was mixed with the tomato decided it didn't want to come out. If that happens, try soaking overnight and repeating the laundry process.
Removing tomato stains from unwashable fabrics
- Scrape off as much the tomato as possible, without spreading it further.
- Using a damp sponge, gently blot at the stain to remove any liquid.
- Use a dry, clean cloth to blot dry.
- Move the item into the sunshine to allow the UV rays to break down any remaining stain.
- If the stain is oily, use a little liquid dish detergent on the oily parts of the stain before following the steps above.
Removing tomato stains from carpet or furniture
Unless you live in a home completely wrapped in plastic, chances are you'll end up with tomato staining your carpet or furniture.
- Scrape off any excess using a plastic spatula or a flat-edged butter knife.
- Use a damp sponge to gently blot the stain.
- Use a dry cloth to alternately blot the stain dry.
- If possible, move the stained furniture into the sunshine to allow the UV rays to break down the stain. Alternatively, you can high a UV light to help.
- If the stain persists, try rubbing a cut lemon over the stain (test on an inconspicuous area first).
Stain remover notes
- The quicker you deal with a stain, the more likely you are to remove it.
- Unless it’s a fat stain, cold water is best for rinsing a stain, so as not to set it and make it harder to remove later.
- Before using a cleaning solution, test on an inconspicuous section, such as the inside of a sleeve, to check it won’t ruin the fabric.
- Always rinse out one cleaning solution before trying another to remove a stain as certain chemicals are not supposed to be mixed.
- Read the care instructions on the item of clothing before attempting vigorous stain removal. Some clothing may be too delicate to attempt stain removal and are better taken straight to the drycleaners.
- Don’t rub fabric harshly to remove stains as this can abrade fibres and cause fading.
- The white towel blotting method is often recommended for stain removal. Simply fold a clean white towel and, once you have treated the stain with water, gently dab it with the towel and check to see how much of the stain has transferred to the white towel.
- If using commercial stain removers and detergents, always follow the product label to understand the proper use and safety precautions you may need to take.
- It’s always easier to treat a stain on a washable fabric.