6 Steps to Getting Rid of Ketchup Stains

Ketchup is one of the most common condiments you’ll see at dinner tables. You use it for a variety of things. Take french fries, for example!

With how common it is, it is likely to get you into a messy situation at some point. When that happens, you might find yourself asking how to get ketchup out of clothes?

Well, allow us to help you with this laundry problem.

Getting Rid of Ketchup Stains

The Basics

Before we proceed, read through this list.

With any kind of stain, it would be a good idea to consider these things. Some of these points might not be vital for all kinds of laundry problems, but they are helpful with many laundry concerns.


Speed is the name of the game

With stains, speed is vital. It could be the difference between removing or letting the stain set in.

We understand that not all accidents happen at home, and you can’t immediately work on the problem. We also know that you can’t drop everything just to go home and treat the stain. You don’t have to, but you’d want to pre-treat it as soon as possible.

how to get out ketchup stains


These tools are for pre-treatment. It might be a good idea to have these things when going out.

  • Paper Towels – This will come in handy with removing as much stain off of the garment as possible. Anything similar will work as long as it can help you blot the stain.
  • Rubbing Alcohol – Depending on the stain, rubbing alcohol or water will help you with blotting. Finding a water source is usually easy. On the other hand, rubbing alcohol might not be. Clear sanitizers might also work if you don’t have alcohol with you. Hairsprays too, if they have high alcohol content.
  • Stain Remover Pen – It will not work for all stains, especially if we’re dealing with a tough one, but a stain remover pen could also come in handy!

We’ll show you specific tools you can use to get rid of ketchup stains in a bit.


Over and over again, you will hear that you should dab and not rub when it comes to stains.

Rubbing could make your problem bigger by spreading the stain to clean areas and setting it in place.

Whatever stain you’re dealing with, don’t forget to only dab and not scrub when blotting.

How to Get Rid of Ketchup Stains?

We’ve talked about the basics of pre-treatment. Now, let’s talk about the six steps to rid your favorite shirt of any trace of ketchup.

Step 1: Scraping

remove ketchup stain

Fresh or not, if there is a clump of ketchup on your garment, you’d want to scrape it instead of wiping it off.

Wiping the ketchup off risks spreading it on the unaffected areas making your ketchup stain problem bigger!

For this step, you can use a clean spoon or anything similar. Gently but firmly scrape the ketchup off.

Step 2: Blotting

how to remove ketchup stains from clothes

Next, blot the excess ketchup. Using a paper towel or an old rag, remove the extra ketchup by gently dabbing on it. Don’t forget to go over and under the affected area. This way, you would get as much ketchup as possible.

You don’t want the ketchup to get on the other areas. You might want to put some cardboard or old rags under the affected area then. Alternatively, you can also just use your palm.

Step 3: Flushing

how to get rid of ketchup stain

Turn the affected garment inside out if possible and place the affected area under running water. Some pressure could also be good, so turn the faucet up a bit.

Don’t forget to use cold water! Hot water could make removing this stain harder.

If you’re dealing with colored clothes, then it might look like the stain is gone after this step. It probably isn’t yet.

Find a light source and hold the garment up to it. It will help you see if there are still any traces of ketchup in your apparel.

Step 4: Treating

how to get ketchup out of shirt

In this step, you can pick your fighter. There are many options, but we’ll show you some of the crowd favorites.

  • Dish Soap  

Dish soap can help you clean more than your kitchenware. It can also help you with your clothes. It is used for treating various stains, and that includes ketchup stains.

Put a generous amount of dish soap on the affected area and work it into the fabric. You’d want to use something like Dawn.

how to get rid of ketchup stains


  • Liquid Detergent

On the other hand, you can use liquid detergent too.

As with the dish soap, you’d want to pour a generous amount of liquid detergent on the affected area and work it into the fabric.

To keep the problem contained, start from the outside, going inwards.

You can let the liquid detergent sit for a few minutes before you rinse.

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  • Mild Bleach

After you rinse, you can also use some mild bleach. You can skip this step if you think the garment in question doesn’t need some bleach, or the mild bleach could ruin your clothes.

what gets ketchup out of clothes


  • Vinegar

As you might already know, vinegar is a good cleaner, and it can help you in the laundry room too.

For this step, you’d want to get an old rag or a sponge. Soak it with some diluted vinegar and gently dab on the affected area.

how to get ketchup out of white shirt


  • Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another notable cleaner in the laundry room, and you can use lemon juice how you used vinegar.

ketchup stain removal


  • Hydrogen Peroxide

Now, if you don’t like the smell of vinegar and don’t want to work with lemon juice, you can opt for hydrogen peroxide instead. Not as known as vinegar and lemon juice, but hydrogen peroxide is also a good cleaner.

You can try all these mild bleaching agents on your clothes, but it would be best not to use them together. If you’ve used one of the three and want to switch to another, make sure you rinse the garment first.

how to remove ketchup from clothes


  • Stain Remover

Lastly, you can use a store-bought stain remover instead if you want. There are different selections available. Choose which one you think will work best for the fabric you’re dealing with.

On the other hand, if the store-bought stain removers do not work for you, then you can make your own. If you don’t have a homemade stain remover recipe, then you can do some online research. There are tons. However, we’ll show you one of the easiest and most effective ones among the many.

For this stain remover, you’d need some dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. You’d want one part of baking soda and dish soap and two parts of the hydrogen peroxide. Mix these three in a bowl or put them in an empty bottle and shake.

how to get ketchup stains out of clothes


With all the cleaning agents we’ve listed down here, it would be a good idea to try each one out to an inconspicuous area before you proceed with the treatment. Some of these things could ruin some fabrics, so it would be best to test them out first.

Whenever you’re working with any laundry problem, it would be best to try out the cleaning agents in hidden places first. Yes, even if we’re talking about store-bought laundry products. Bleach, for example, is not advisable for some clothes, even if it is known as a laundry product.

Step 5: Washing

how to get ketchup out of a shirt

After the treatments, you can wash your clothes as you usually do. However, you might want to separate washing it from the others. If there is still some ketchup stain on the clothes, it might get to the other clothes as well.

After washing, take a good look at the clothes in question. You might want to hold them up at a light source again to ensure no trace of ketchup remains.

If there is still some ketchup stain left, repeat steps 4 and 5 until you can’t see any trace of ketchup anymore.

Step 6: Drying

how to get ketchup out of clothes after washing

When it comes to drying, it would be best not to dry these clothes in the dryer after washing them.

It could be that the stain is still there. If you dry these clothes in the dryer, the heat could make them permanent. If not, getting it off might become a little more challenging than before.

Some stains are hard to see when the clothes are still wet. For this reason, we highly suggest air drying them after treating them. Actually, we recommend you air dry all your clothes as much as possible. There are tons of benefits to air drying, after all!

After the clothes dry and you’re sure there are no stains left, if you prefer using the dryer, then you can dry them as you normally would again.


Let’s have a little recap.

Today, we answered how to get ketchup out of clothes.

As you have seen, it is quite easy, and there are only six steps to it!

You always want to be careful not to stain your clothes, but you don’t have to dread ketchup stains anymore!

If ever this condiment finds its way to your clothes when you’re eating some french fries, well, you’ll be ready to take it on!

We’ve also talked about how to get rid of other kinds of stains before. If you want to see those, then you can check out our past discussion. We’ll see you there!

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