Italian Word of The Day Supported by: Fluente logo For Members

Italian word of the day: 'Smacchiatore'

Elaine Allaby
Elaine Allaby - [email protected]
Italian word of the day: 'Smacchiatore'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

You'll need this word if you know any messy eaters - or are one yourself.


If you've ever been to a mid-range Italian restaurant, you'll know they're generally family-friendly places, with young children roaming free and usually the odd dog stretched out under the tablecloths.

That relaxed attitude is also of benefit to adults who struggle to get through a meal without splashing themselves with olive oil or tomato sauce, as it means almost all Italian restaurants have magic instant stain remover to hand.

While you might feel some embarrassment the first time your Italian friend or partner urges you to call over a waiter for a little spray of smacchiatore, you quickly adjust to the idea if it means saving your clothing.

Give the stain a quick spritz, wait for it to dry, brush off the powdery residue, and your jacket should be as good as new.

Smacchiatore might sound like a bit of a mouthful, so it helps to break it down: a macchia is a mark or stain, while macchiare is 'to mark/stain'.

A caffè macchiato is literally a 'marked' coffee - marked, that is, with a splash of frothed milk.

Mannaggia, ho macchiato il vestito.
Damn, I got a stain on my dress.

Scusi - mi potrebbe portare lo smacchiatore per la camicia?
Excuse me - could you bring me some stain remover for my shirt?

Often in Italian, you can make a word its antonym simply by adding the letter 's' at the start: change the word fortunato (lucky) to sfortunato, for example, and it becomes 'unlucky'.

Smacchiare, then, is to remove or clean up a stain, and smacchiatore, a stain-remover.


Strictly speaking smacchiatore by itself just means stain remover - the instant spray-can ones you'll be offered in a restaurant are more specifically a smacchiatore a secco (dry stain remover) or smacchiatore spray.

The next time you're at an Italian restaurant and things get messy, you'll know what to do. 

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

Make sure you don’t miss any of our Italian words and expressions of the day: download our new app (available on Apple and Android) and then selecting the Italian Word of the Day in your Notification options via the User button.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Julie 2024/01/23 18:54
Smacchiatore--what a great word! I had no idea that restaurants keep smacchiatore available and now I'll know how to ask. Up to now, I've been employing my Italian-American mamma's trick: talcum powder that I carry in a tiny container in my purse. I have strong childhood memories of Sunday dinners at Nonna's, and someone inevitably getting some ragù on their shirt, then Mom flying up from the table to get the talcum powder and save the day.

See Also