How to remove set-in tomato stains

Yesterday, I shared how I spilled tomato juice on a favorite white shirt while making kid-friendly jambalaya. Thankfully, I was home at the time and could immediately rub in some Dawn dishwashing liquid, my favorite stain-removal remedy for tomato juice. Unfortunately, sometimes clothes with tomato stains make it all the way through the washer and dryer before you notice (or remember!) the stain, resulting in set-in tomato stains.

Before I tell you how to remove set-in tomato stains, I should let you know that I have had lots of practice removing these stains. I am a bit of a salsa fanatic, and I often end up wearing some.

Just ask my kids about the time we were eating at our favorite Mexican restaurant, where I thoroughly enjoyed some white queso sauce. We left the restaurant, walked to the library (where I met a fellow homeschool mom, whom I hugged and talked with). When we got home, I discovered I had dribbled white queso sauce all the way down the front of my dark shirt, and NOBODY TOLD ME!

Okay, so that has nothing to do with how to remove set-in tomato stains, other than to establish the fact that I have a natural talent for spilling spicy food down my front. Normally, when I discover the stains before the clothes go in the wash, I just rub a little bit of Dawn dishwashing liquid into the stain and wash as usual, never to see the stain again. (I love Dawn dishwashing liquid! Such a simple stain-fighting solution.)

Set-in tomato stain

Unfortunately, the other day, I discovered the tomato stain after pulling the shirt from the dryer. Undaunted, I pulled out some hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, along with a little Dawn dishwashing liquid for good measure.

Dab with hydrogen peroxide

All I did was dab some hydrogen peroxide on the stain and let it soak in for a few minutes. (NOTE: Be careful not to expose the hydrogen peroxide to the sun, or it can bleach your clothes! I recommend you treat the stain in a room without a window.)

Rub in baking soda

Next, I poured on a little baking soda and scrubbed it in with a toothbrush. Again, I let this mixture soak into the stain, this time for about 30 minutes or so. As a final step, I rubbed in a little bit of Dawn dishwashing liquid and washed as usual.

Set-in tomato stain is gone

As you can see, the set-in tomato stain is gone! Ready to catch another batch of salsa another day. 🙂

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