How To Remove Balsamic Vinegar Stains From Clothes

Everyone know about the health benefits of balsamic vinegar. With its beautiful dark color, it is used in many meat and side dishes of Italian cuisine. It is also a very common salad dressing.

And sooner or later, you’ll find yourself cursing in the laundry room while trying to wash it off your favorite shirt.

If you think about it, the question: “How do you remove balsamic vinegar stains from clothes?” is not off topic for a blog like ours… Who hasn’t had their dress stained while eating? Or hasn’t spilled something on the tablecloth?

And if you are the one cooking, the chances double, especially if you like to experiment with sauces and condiments (I plead guilty).

Fortunately, if you act promptly, you can remove balsamic vinegar stains easily and without using a commercial stain remover. All you need are a few ingredients usually found around the house. 

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What's bad about balsamic vinegar stains?

While some types of vinegar are commonly used for removing stains (more on that later) balsamic vinegar is not among them.

Compared with other vinegars, it has a slightly higher percentage of acetic acid and retains many natural tannins and pigments from grape juice.

While acetic acid is water soluble, the other two can be difficult to remove if they are not washed right away. And sometimes, a simple spin in the washing machine may not be enough.

If you don’t take precautions, your clothes may still have halos after washing. But don’t worry, it’s all very easy.

Here’s what you need to do!

First of all, clean your clothes immediately

When dealing with balsamic vinegar stains, it is vital to act quickly. Otherwise, the vinegar will penetrate the fabric fibers and may be difficult to remove later.

But what do you do if you are out for dinner, or cannot act on it immediately?

As soon as you notice a stain on your clothes, try to remove all the bulk liquid from the fabric surface with a dry cloth. If you can, wash and rinse the stained part of the dress with cold water and whatever detergent you find around you (hand soap and dish soap are fine too).

If you are eating in a casual setting, you could ask for white vinegar and use it to wet a paper towel and dab the stain. But I understand that this may not be the wisest move on a date or in more formal situations. 😅

You might be tempted to use water instead of white vinegar. But if used without a detergent, water might actually help the stain expand, so it’s best to avoid it.

In general, try to do as much damage control as you can. And when you get home, use one of the following remedies immediately.

The best home remedies to remove balsamic vinegar stains from clothes

Here are some simple ways to clean clothes and fabrics from balsamic vinegar’s syrupy tannin stains.

You can use them on most types of fabric, carpets, your favorite cloth towel… and they also good to clean stains from red wine vinegar and balsamic vinaigrette.

Marseille soap

a piece of marseille soap aside with a brush

If you’re dealing with light, non-delicate clothes, Marseille soap is a great way to remove balsamic vinegar or red wine stains. But if you don’t have it, you can go with any laundry soap.

You just need to rub it over the stained area with your hands or a fabric brush. Then let the cloth soak in water for a couple of minutes, and then wash it in the washing machine.

If you act right away, you should be able to remove the stain easily. However, this method is not suitable for delicate fabrics such as silk, satin or chiffon (and the like), or for heavy clothes.

Let’s look at some others.

Baking soda and white vinegar

If you are trying to remove balsamic vinegar stains from delicate or colored fabrics, try this method.

Put some baking soda on the stained area, and let it sit there for 5 minutes. After that, soak your dress in a 50/50 hot water & white vinegar solution. The stain should be gone in a few minutes.

This is a very simple stain removal technique. Baking soda is versatile and inexpensive. If you mix it with the right things, it can degrease and disinfect many surfaces. And you can also use it to absorb odors! But if you don’t have it at home, you can replace it with liquid laundry detergents.

In this case, soak the cloth in a solution consisting of 4 cups of warm water, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and 1/2 tbsp of laundry detergent. This solution is convenient if you want to save on white vinegar. For best results, rub some salt on the stain and let it rest there for a few minutes before soaking your cloth.

Diluted oxygenated water and talcum powder

If you’ve got balsamic vinegar stains on your favorite white dress shirts, this is probably the best way to remove them.

Pour a small amount of diluted oxygenated water on the stain, and emulsify with your fingers or a toothbrush. After that, spread talcum powder over the stain and leave it on for about an hour. Finally, clean with a fabric brush.

Also known as hydrogen peroxide, oxygenated water is a great ally when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. However, it is harmful to the skin in its pure state, so use only the diluted version found in most stores.

It may cause color loss, so it is best to use it only on white clothes or do a test on a small portion of fabric first. If it doesn’t work, try using some color-safe bleach instead.


With these simple methods, you can clean your clothes from a great variety of stains, without using commercial stain busters or chlorine bleach.

If you find them useful, let me know in the comments. We could start a new category of posts on how to clean the types of stain that happen most during food preparation!

This way, after trying our lasagna recipes or pasta dishes, you would also know how to clean every incident. 

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