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The easiest way to remove a BBQ sauce stain from your clothes or carpet

Barbecue sauce adds tasty zing to chicken, ribs and burgers, but it can be a cleaning nightmare when it drips on your clothe or your carpet. Fortunately, there are some great DIY remedies for this stain. Read on as a couple of cleaning pros share their top tips.

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Jenna Bush Hager swears by this red wine stain remover

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Jenna Bush Hager swears by this red wine stain remover

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How to remove BBQ sauce from clothing

Dan Miller, owner of Mulberry’s Garment Care in Minneapolis, St. Paul and San Francisco, explains that barbecue sauce stains are plant-based and therefore broken down by acids. He offers a three-level approach to tackling this stain.

Level 1:

  • Pre-treat the stain with lemon juice or vinegar and allow it to sit on the stain for 5 minutes. It may be helpful to tamp the stain with a small brush or toothbrush.
  • After 5 minutes, rinse the stain with water to make sure the acid doesn’t damage the fabric.
  • In most cases, this pre-treatment will loosen the stain and it will come out by rubbing it with detergent or washing in the washer.
  • Do not machine dry the garment unless the stain is gone or else you’ll set the stain.

RELATED: How to remove ketchup stains from clothing, furniture and carpets

Level 2:

  • If the stain persists, spray it with an enzyme-based stain remover.
  • Allow it to work for 15 minutes.
  • Machine or hand wash as usual.
  • Again, do not machine dry the garment unless the stain is gone or

Level 3:

  • If the stain still remains, your final option would be to use an oxygenate bleach such as hydrogen peroxide or chlorine bleach. Since these products can easily cause color loss or fiber damage, be sure to test the product in an inconspicuous place before applying to the garment.
  • Do not allow the bleach to remain on the garment for more than a minute before flushing.
  • Another option is to machine-wash the garment using detergent and bleach.

How to remove BBQ sauce from upholstery and carpet

Chem-Dry Cleaning Director of Training Jotham Hatch offers the following advice. “If you spill or drop barbecue sauce on your carpet or upholstery, don’t wait to clean it. Tend to the spot immediately before it can cause permanent damage.”

  • Gently scoop as much up of the sauce as possible using a spoon.
  • Blot stain using a clean, white cloth dipped in warm water with a very small amount of dish washing detergent — a few drops to a half-cup of water should do. Move to a clean part of the cloth as the barbecue sauce transfers to it.
  • Blot repeatedly with a clean dry towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
  • If the stain persists, do not use ammonia or any bleaching agent, even mild ones like 3% hydrogen peroxide. “Often, that remedy can result in customers bleaching or yellowing their carpet or upholstery while the stain remains unaffected,” says Hatch. Instead, have a professional cleaning service remove the stain sooner rather than later.
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