Have you ever gotten a big, red kimchi stain on your favorite shirt? Those stains can be so hard to remove. But don’t worry – this guide will teach you everything you need to know to get rid of kimchi stains for good.
Why Are Kimchi Stains So Hard to Remove?
Kimchi is made by fermenting vegetables like cabbage or radish. This fermentation process creates some compounds that can really stick to fabrics and cause stubborn stains. Specifically:
- The red chili pepper powder in kimchi contains oil-soluble pigments that can bind to fabrics.
- The salt and spices make the stain more set-in and dried out.
- The organic acids from fermentation react with the fibers and make the stain harder to lift.
That’s why kimchi stains can be so tricky to remove compared to other food stains. But with the right techniques, you can absolutely get your clothes kimchi-free again.
Act Fast for the Best Results
When you get a new kimchi stain, act quickly! The faster you start treating the stain, the easier it will be to remove it.
Here’s what to do immediately:
- Blot the stain with a clean towel to absorb as much of the kimchi as possible. Don’t rub it, which can spread the stain.
- Rinse the fabric under cold running water. This stops the stain from setting in further.
- Check the fabric care label and treat the stain as recommended.
The quicker you can get to these steps, the better your chances of getting rid of that kimchi stain for good.
Pretreat the Stain Before Washing
Pretreating the kimchi stain is super important before washing it. This extra step helps start breaking down that stubborn stain so your regular detergent can wipe it out more easily.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Paste
This is one of the most powerful pretreating mixes for kimchi stains. The baking soda scrubs the stain, while the vinegar dissolves it.
To make it:
- Mix 1 part baking soda with 1 part white vinegar until it forms a thick paste.
- Apply the paste to the stain and let sit for at least 1 hour.
- Rinse thoroughly before washing.
Dish Soap, Vinegar, and Water Mix
Another good pretreatment for kimchi stains is a solution of dish soap, vinegar, and water.
Simply mix together:
- 1 tablespoon dish soap
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 cup cold water
Apply it to the stain, wait 30 minutes, then rinse and wash. The dish soap helps cut through oil and grease, while the vinegar dissolves the stain.
Hydrogen peroxide is a magical pretreatment for many tough stains, including kimchi stains.
To use it:
- Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 1 part water.
- Spray or pour it directly on the stain.
- Let it bubble and lift the stain for at least 10 minutes before rinsing and washing.
Commercial Stain Removers
Look for pretreatment stain removers specially made for food or grease stains. Check that they are safe for your fabric before using.
Apply the product to the stain as directed on the packaging. Let it sit 5-10 minutes before washing.
Wash with Hot Water and Detergent
After pretreating, it’s time to wash the kimchi-stained item to get it fully clean. Washing with hot water and detergent helps complete the stain removal process.
- Check the fabric care label to see the safe washing temperature.
- For white clothes, the hottest recommended temperature is best.
- Use a detergent suited to the fabric type. Liquid detergents are ideal for food grease stains.
- Make sure to fully rinse out all detergent residue.
If the stain remains after washing, don’t put the item in the dryer! The heat can set the stain. Repeat the pretreating and washing steps instead.
What If I Get a Kimchi Stain While Out?
Uh oh, you just got kimchi on your shirt while eating out at a restaurant! Or maybe a kimchi spill happened while you were out running errands. Don’t panic – you can still take action right away.
At a Restaurant
If you’re dining at a restaurant and get hit by an accidental kimchi stain, here are some quick steps to take:
- Blot the stain right away with your napkin or a wet paper towel.
- Ask your server for club soda or cold water and dab the stain.
- If there’s a restroom, head there and flush the stain with cold tap water.
- Use hand soap and cold water to pretreat the stain if no other options available.
- When you get home, follow the proper washing methods described above.
Out and About
If you get a kimchi stain on the go, you’ll need to improvise. Try these ideas:
- Find a bathroom and rinse the stain under cold water. Use hand soap if available.
- Stop by a convenience store and grab a bottle of club soda or cold water to flush the stain.
- Keep individually wrapped stain remover wipes or Tide pens in your bag or car for on-the-go stain attacks.
- Change clothes if possible. Seal the stained garment in a plastic bag until you can pretreat and wash it.
- If nothing else available, just blot the stain with spare napkins or tissues you have on you.
No matter where that kimchi stain strikes, stay calm and do what you can in the moment. Once home, you can take the proper steps to wash it out for good.
Other Helpful Laundry Tips
Here are some extra laundry tips and tricks for getting kimchi stains out:
- Soak the item for 30 minutes up to a few hours in cold water before washing. This helps loosen the stain.
- Use an oxygen-based bleach alternative on white fabrics once the stain has been pretreated. This helps lift staining.
- Wash the item quickly after pretreating so the stain doesn’t have time to set again.
- Turn the item inside out during washing so the agitation is directly on the stain.
- Inspect after washing and repeat steps if the stain remains. Don’t dry until the stain is fully gone.
How to Remove Set-In Kimchi Stains
If you forgot about a kimchi stain and it become set into the fabric, removing it takes some extra work. But don’t worry – you can still get that stain out!
First, re-wet the stain with water to “reactivate” it and make it easier to treat.
Next, apply a heavy-duty stain removal paste, such as:
- Baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap
- Hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar
- A mix of laundry detergent and oxygen bleach (for white clothes)
Let it sit for at least an hour, then rinse and wash as normal with hot water. This should help lift even dried, set-in kimchi stains.
You can also try soaking the item for several hours in an oxygen bleach solution before washing.
It may take multiple treatments, but you can remove that old kimchi stain with some patience!
Avoid Permanent Damage to Fabrics
While you’re working on removing a stubborn kimchi stain, be very careful not to cause permanent damage, like:
- Fading: Avoid using chlorine bleach, as it can fade fabrics very quickly.
- Holes/Tears: Don’t vigorously scrub delicate fabrics like silk; it can cause tears. Blot and gently dab instead.
- Shrinking: Never use hot temperatures when unsure if a fabric will shrink, like wool or spandex. Check the care label.
- Discoloration: Don’t let stain removers sit for too long. Rinse thoroughly after use.
With kimchi stains, it’s better to be safe than permanently damage your clothes!
When to Call in a Professional
If you’ve tried all the recommended techniques and a kimchi stain still remains, it may be time to take the garment to a professional.
Dry cleaner’s have specialty tools, chemicals, and methods beyond what you can do at home. They may be able to remove a stain you can’t.
Specifically seek help from professionals for:
- Delicate fabrics like silk or cashmere that require expert care.
- Severely set-in or dried stains that you cannot revive with water.
- Garments with special finishes like leather, suede, or vinyl.
- Heirlooms or expensive garments you cannot risk damaging.
While professional stain removal services can cost money, they may be worthwhile if you want to salvage a special kimchi-stained item.
You Can Keep Your Clothes Kimchi-Free!
Dealing with kimchi stains may take some work, but armed with these tips you can definitely keep your fabrics fresh and kimchi-free. Act quickly when stains strike, pretreat before washing, and repeat steps as needed to lift that stain for good.
With the right techniques and care for your clothes, you won’t need to worry about kimchi stains ruining your favorite outfits ever again. Enjoy your spicy kimchi without fear of staining!