How to Remove Red Chile Stains


Lori asked: How do I remove red chile stains from clothing? I live in New Mexico. We cook and eat a lot of red chiles. It is very difficult and sometimes impossible to remove the red stain of red chiles from clothing. Any help would be appreciated.

Red chile peppers contain capsorubine and capsanthine which give them the bright red color that everyone admires. Unfortunately, when these come in contact with clothing and plastic containers, these seem to adhere to the fibers with an unbreakable bond. In order to remove these stains, it requires a cleaner that can break the bond so the staining molecules can be removed.

You Will Need:

Steps to Remove the Chile Stains:

*Always test a small hidden area first to ensure the cleaning product does not remove any color or texture from the surface.

  1. There are several different options to remove the stain, try one or try them all until you have successfully removed the stains.
  2. OxyClean is a commercial cleaner that is readily available where laundry detergents and stain removers are sold. Soak the stained area in a solution of OxyClean and water (follow manufacturer’s instructions for ratio).
  3. Wash as normal.
  4. Do not dry the garment in the dryer as this will only set the stain further.
  5. If the garment is white, bleach can be used to remove the stain. If the garment is colored, color-safe bleach can be used. However, it may not be as effective.
  6. If neither of the above cleaners work, try soaking the stained area in white vinegar for several hours.
  7. Remove the garment and lay it flat over a towel.
  8. Blot the stain with dry cleaning fluid until it is removed.
  9. Wash as normal.
  10. Again, avoid drying in a heated dryer until the stain is completely removed to avoid setting it further.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • If the stain cannot be removed, try setting it in direct sunlight for several hours. The stain will fade quickly with no cleaners at all!
  • Avoid scrubbing the stain as it can stretch the fibers and leave a damaged area. It is always best to blot stains.
  • Coloring from chiles is considered a “permanent dye.” In some cases, it may not be removable.


  1. Susan says:

    I used: 1. Resolve, washed. 2. Carbona Stain Devil for oil and grease, rinsed with warm water per directions on bottle, washed again; still not clean.

    Then, I read your website. Thanks so much! I soaked the stain over night in white vinegar, then used some left over Dryel stain solution (about five times). This greatly reduced the stain, but it was still faintly there. So, I put on more vinegar, then put it out in the sun for about two hours (I covered most of the shirt with a towel so it wouldn’t fade other parts). I am happy to say that it is finally gone!

    This was a new shirt, so I am so happy to have removed the chili. Thanks again!

  2. LT says:

    I also live in NM and my husband spilled red chili on his favorite blue shirt. My neighbor said to just put it in the sun after dampening the stain slightly with water. It’s gone! All that was left is a little of the flour that was used to thicken the chili, and that’s easy to wash out. No chemicals. That’s the best way!

  3. BR says:

    I live in California, and we are currently having a really rough drought. Due to this, we have a small ant infestation. I also have a wife that has decided she wants to start using natural remedies to keep ants out of our home and started sprinkling red chile/cayenne all over our white cabinets and white walls. While cleaning, I discovered that these cabinets and walls are now stained. What can I do to remove these stains?

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