In a pickle: What to do if you stain your clothing while cooking

Aug 28, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. ET

Cooking can be a complete hazard for our clothes. As careful as you are, all it takes is for something to spill or sauce to splatter for the damage to be done. If you're in the middle of making dinner you don't have a lot of time, but there are some great quick fixes for even the harshest of stains.

Woman with stain on blouse

Even aprons can't protect against every kitchen spill. No matter what the disaster, a few household items that you probably have on hand can make a world of difference and save the day.

Tomato sauce

Scrape away any remaining tomato sauce and carefully turn the garment inside out. Run cold water with a good amount of pressure through the stain (you want the water on the opposite side of the stain) until it is mostly out. Mix together distilled white vinegar or lemon juice with a bit of water and rub the stain with the mixture until removed.

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red wineRed wine

Whether you are cooking with wine or enjoying a glass while you make dinner, spills happen. Immediately soak a paper towel with seltzer and dab the stain. Pour salt generously over the stain (you may need to take off the garment for this one) and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes. Scrape off the salt and rinse under very hot water, then wash as usual. This works for beet and dark fruit stains too!

Chocolate or coffee

Carefully scrape away the chocolate (if applicable) and immediately rinse under very hot water. Rub with cornstarch or baking soda until the stain is gone. If that doesn't work, rub with stain remover or regular detergent and allow to soak for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing and washing as usual.


Grease stains can be tricky business, but never fear. Lay the garment flat and cover in baby powder, which should help to absorb the grease. Using a paper towel or cloth, vigorously rub the baby powder then wipe it away. Repeat a few times until the stain is gone. If it is still visible, try rubbing it with a paste made from baking soda and water.

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