Hot sauce is often red in color, so many people mistakenly assume it contains tomatoes. Very few hot sauce recipes list tomatoes as an ingredient. The red color almost always originates from the hot pepper in the sauce. The most frequently used hot pepper is the red cayenne. The challenging stain hot sauce leaves on your clothes is from the acidic oil produced from the pepper and pepper seeds.
When It Happens
The sooner you start working on a fresh hot sauce stain, the better chance you have of removing it. As soon as it happens, carefully remove any excess hot sauce from the stain and blot (don't rub) the stain with a clean paper towel or napkin. If you are home, remove the garment and cover the stain with corn starch, talc or baby powder to absorb much of the stain. Keep it on the stain for at least 15 minutes, then rinse with cold or cool water. Do not use warm or hot water, as it may set the stain permanently. Then, treat the stain with detergent (see Step 2). If you are away from home when the stain occurs, go to the a restroom and rinse the stain under cold water, then blot the stain with a paper towel; do not rub the stain and work it further into the fabric. Put a small amount of whatever soap is available on the stain and leave it there until you are able to launder the item.
Using a dish soap detergent that is a degreaser, such as Dawn, on the stain provides excellent results. Pre-soak the hot sauce stain with some degreasing dish soap and let it stand for at least 15 minutes, up to one hour. Then, launder as usual. A product called Tide with Dawn Stain Scubber combines Tide detergent and Dawn dish soap. This will work very well also, because the Tide contains enzymes that attack the protein in the stain while the Dawn works on the grease.