How to get soy sauce out of clothes

Soy sauce is a popular condiment used in many Asian dishes, from stir-fries to marinades. However, the dark brown liquid can be notoriously difficult to remove from clothing once it has stained the fabric. Whether you’ve spilled soy sauce on your shirt at a restaurant or your child has gotten it on their favourite t-shirt, dealing with these stubborn stains can be frustrating.

But don’t worry, there are several effective methods you can try to get soy sauce out of clothes. In this article, we’ll walk you through step-by-step guides for removing soy sauce stains using common household products. We’ll also share some prevention tips to help you avoid soy sauce mishaps in the future. By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and tools to tackle those pesky soy sauce stains and keep your clothes looking fresh.

get soy sauce out of clothes

Why is Soy Sauce So Hard to Remove From Clothes?

Soy sauce’s propensity for leaving long-lasting stains on fabrics is due to its chemical composition. The main components of soy sauce are water, soybeans, wheat, and salt. These ingredients, when combined, create a dark liquid that can penetrate deep into fabric fibres and bond with the material.

Additionally, soy sauce contains an enzyme called tyrosinase, which causes the stain to darken over time as it oxidizes. This makes soy sauce stains incredibly difficult to remove, especially if they’ve been allowed to set in for a while.

The high salt content in soy sauce can also damage certain fabrics, like silk or wool if the stain is not treated promptly. The salt can break down the delicate fibres, causing permanent discolouration or even holes in the material.

So in summary, soy sauce stains are stubborn due to their ability to deeply penetrate fabrics, darken over time, and potentially damage certain textile types. Treating them quickly and using the right removal methods is key to successfully getting them out.

Steps to Remove Fresh Soy Sauce Stains

The best chance of removing a soy sauce stain is to act quickly before it has a chance to set. Here are the steps to follow for fresh soy sauce stains:

  1. Blot the Stain
    As soon as you notice a soy sauce spill, grab a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towel and gently blot the affected area. Don’t rub the stain, as this can push the soy sauce further into the fabric. Blot until you’ve absorbed as much of the excess liquid as possible.
  2. Rinse With Cold Water
    Next, run the stained area under cold, clean water. Avoid using hot water, as this can actually set the soy sauce stain. The cold water will help dilute the soy sauce and prevent it from penetrating deeper into the fabric.
  3. Apply a Stain Remover
    There are a few effective stain removers you can use for soy sauce:
  • Dish soap – Apply a small amount of gentle dish soap directly to the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
  • Laundry detergent – Treat the stain with a bit of your regular laundry detergent and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing.
  • Enzyme cleaner – Look for an enzyme-based stain remover, which can help break down the proteins in soy sauce. Apply it directly to the stain.
  1. Wash the Garment
    Once you’ve treated the stain, wash the garment as usual, following the care instructions on the clothing tag. Wash in the hottest water recommended for that fabric. The heat will help activate the stain remover and lift the soy sauce out of the fibres.
  2. Air Dry
    Avoid putting the item in the dryer, as the heat can set any remaining soy sauce stain. Instead, air dry the garment. The UV rays from the sun can also help further lift and fade the stain.

If the soy sauce stain is still visible after washing, repeat the process until it’s completely removed. The key is to act quickly and use a combination of blotting, rinsing, stain removal, and washing to tackle the stain effectively.

Removing Set-In Soy Sauce Stains

If the soy sauce stain has had time to set into the fabric, it will require a bit more elbow grease to remove. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Pretreat the Stain
    Start by pretreating the set-in soy sauce stain. Apply a generous amount of your chosen stain remover (dish soap, laundry detergent, or enzyme cleaner) directly to the affected area. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour, allowing the active ingredients to penetrate and break down the stain.
  2. Scrub Gently
    After the pretreatment has had time to work, use an old toothbrush or your fingers to gently scrub the stain. Avoid scrubbing too vigorously, as this can damage the fabric. The goal is to help lift the soy sauce from the fibres.
  3. Rinse and Repeat
    Rinse the garment under cold running water, then check to see if the stain has lightened. If it’s still visible, reapply the stain remover and let it sit for another 30 minutes before scrubbing again.
  4. Wash and air-dry
    Once you’re satisfied that the stain has been lifted as much as possible, wash the garment in the hottest water recommended for that fabric. Avoid putting it in the dryer, and instead, air dry the item to prevent any remaining stain from setting.

You may need to repeat this process a few times for particularly stubborn soy sauce stains. Be patient and persistent, and the stain should eventually lift. Avoid using hot water or putting the garment in the dryer, as that can set the stain further.

Using Household Products to Remove Soy Sauce Stains

In addition to commercial stain removers, there are several household items you can use to tackle soy sauce stains. Here are some effective options:

Baking Soda

Make a paste by mixing baking soda and water, then rub it into the stain. Let it sit for 30 minutes before washing. The baking soda will help lift and absorb the soy sauce.

White Vinegar

Soak the stained area in undiluted white vinegar for 30 minutes. The acidity in the vinegar helps break down the stain. Rinse and launder as usual.

Lemon Juice

Similar to vinegar, the citric acid in lemon juice can be effective against soy sauce stains. Rub fresh lemon juice directly onto the stain and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before washing.

Club Soda

The carbonation in club soda can help lift and dilute soy sauce stains. Blot the stain with a clean cloth, then pour club soda directly onto the affected area. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.


Make a paste with salt and water, then gently rub it into the soy sauce stain. The abrasiveness of the salt can help lift the stain. Let it sit for 30 minutes before washing.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water, then apply the solution to the stain. The peroxide will help break down the stain. Rinse and launder as usual.

When using any of these household products, be sure to test them on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first to ensure they don’t cause discolouration or damage to the fabric. And remember to always follow up with a normal wash cycle after treating the stain.

Preventing Soy Sauce Stains

The best way to deal with soy sauce stains is to prevent them in the first place. Here are some tips:

  1. Use Caution When Eating
    Be extra careful when enjoying soy sauce-based dishes, especially when eating out or around others. Use a napkin to blot your mouth and keep a close eye on your plate to avoid spills.
  2. Wear an Apron
    When cooking with soy sauce, wear an apron to protect your clothes from potential splashes or drips. This is especially important if you’re doing a lot of stirring or pouring.
  3. Clean Spills Immediately
    If you do accidentally spill soy sauce, act quickly to blot and rinse the stain before it has a chance to set. The faster you can treat the stain, the easier it will be to remove.
  4. Soak Stained Items Right Away
    If a soy sauce stain does occur, soak the garment in cold water as soon as possible. This will help prevent the stain from setting and make it easier to remove later.
  5. Avoid Using Hot Water
    As mentioned earlier, hot water can set soy sauce stains, so always use cold or lukewarm water when treating these types of stains.
  6. Check Clothing Care Labels
    Pay attention to the care instructions on your garments, as some fabrics like silk or wool may require special handling to avoid damage from soy sauce stains.

By being mindful of soy sauce usage and acting quickly to treat any spills, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of ending up with stubborn stains on your clothes. Prevention is key when it comes to dealing with this tricky condiment.

Commercial Stain Removal Products for Soy Sauce

In addition to the household products mentioned, there are also several commercial stain removal products specifically formulated to tackle soy sauce stains. Here are a few options worth considering:

OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover

OxiClean is a popular and effective stain remover that can be used on a variety of tough stains, including soy sauce. The active oxygen-based formula helps break down and lift stains.

Shout Advanced Stain Remover

Shout Advanced Stain Remover is designed to work on even the toughest stains, including soy sauce. The gel formula is easy to apply directly to the affected area.

Persil ProClean Liquid Laundry Detergent

While not a dedicated stain remover, Persil’s powerful laundry detergent can be effective for treating soy sauce stains. The formula contains enzymes to help break down and lift stubborn stains.

Biz Stain and Odor Eliminator

Biz’s stain and odour eliminator uses a combination of enzymes and oxygen-based ingredients to tackle tough stains like soy sauce. It can be used as a pretreatment or added directly to the wash.

When using any commercial stain remover, be sure to follow the product instructions carefully and test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discolouration.


Removing soy sauce stains from clothes can be a challenging task, but with the right techniques and products, it is certainly possible. Whether you’re dealing with a fresh spill or a set-in stain, following the steps outlined in this article can help you effectively lift and remove that pesky soy sauce.

Remember to act quickly, use the right stain removal methods, and avoid putting the garment in the dryer until the stain is fully removed. With a little elbow grease and some household or commercial stain-fighting ingredients, you can restore your clothes to their former glory, no matter how messy the soy sauce mishap may have been.

By mastering these soy sauce stain removal techniques, you’ll be better equipped to handle any food-related wardrobe emergencies that come your way. So the next time you’re enjoying a delicious Asian-inspired meal, don’t stress about the potential for spills – just keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be able to keep your clothes looking spotless.

Sharing Is Caring:

As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.