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Spill Stain Sabotage

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"'Dirtiest Diape—?! WHOA! COUGH COUGH COFFEE EGGS BACON! Oh, too bad. I 'accidentally' made breakfast all over whatever that record was for."

When a person has something that they never want to see again, they can render the item unusable by spilling something on it and making a huge stain. Spaghetti sauce is very good for this, but one can get creative and use things like black coffee, soda, feces, and even Hollywood Acid. Or simply just spilling their inkwell on it.

Can be used to create a Conveniently Interrupted Document or an intentional Wardrobe Wound. The use of this trope can signal a Revealing Cover-Up. Not to be confused with Eat the Evidence, where instead of covering the offending object in food, the offending object is consumed as food. Compare with Mustache Vandalism, when one creatively uses ink to deface a portrait.

Definitely not to be seen as Discreet Drink Disposal.


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    Film — Live Action 
  • In Big Fat Liar, a movie executive steals the protagonist's school assignment and tries to make it the plot of his new film. The protagonist wants his assignment back to prove that he wrote it, only for the executive to stamp his cigar and pour vodka on it.
  • Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome has a variant. Dr. Learned attempts to hide that she has stolen the experimental formula and replaced it with by water faking a Dramatic Drop to shatter the container. However, Tracy takes a sample of the residue and has it analysed anyway.
  • Variant in The Dirty Dozen, when one of the infiltrators spills a bottle of ink over the guestbook rather than sign a name.
  • Green for Danger: Esther Sanson catches Sister Bates with Sanson's paint-stained surgical gown which will prove she murdered Higgins and murders Bates. Realising that someone else is approaching and that she does not have to hide or destroy the gown, Sanson cuts out the incriminating stain and then dresses Bates in the gown and knife carefully places the knife through the hole to disguise it.
  • In Hangmen Also Die!, Dr. Svoboda intentionally spills wine on some blood stains to cover them up in order to keep the Nazis from discovering that a wounded Resistance member is hiding in the room.
  • In The Mummy (1999): The head librarian "accidentally" sets fire to the map to Hamenaptra with a candle, charring the map so it can't be read. He is secretly working with the Medji, trying to keep outsiders from stumbling on the city.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, Velma (who was being possessed by a ghost) spilled coffee on a computer to prevent the gang from seeing her face as the hooded monster on the camera footage.
  • In What's the Worst That Could Happen?, Max inflicts a deliberate Wardrobe Wound on Kevin by dumping a glass of red wine over his white shirt at the banquet.
  • The Woman in Red has Teddy's one coworker spill ink on some documents of his, then swirls it around to cover his desk, too.

  • In Fall of Giants, Maud does this with a letter from her fiance to prevent her father reading it and learning of their plans to elope.
  • In Murder on the Orient Express, Countess Andrenyi purposefully spills grease on her passport to obscure her Christian name.
  • In Sorcery and Cecelia, Cecelia deliberately breaks a magical chocolate pot for plot-critical reasons, but while she's at it she takes the opportunity to smear her despised dress with as much spilled chocolate as she can.

  • The various CSI shows have a technique to get around this and similar "liquid obliterates text" situations. Namely, photographing the page under several frequencies of light, making the text appear when the images are composited.
  • A variant on the trope gets a mention on the first episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. Luke takes down a campaign poster for Rosco's re-election and explains it's for "lining the rabbit's cage... face up."
  • An episode of Hannah Montana shows that this is Miley's way of ensuring that she never has to wear dorky gift dresses she gets for her birthday without offending her father. She deliberately takes out a whole plate of spaghetti and smears it all over the dress, making stains so large that they become unwearable.
  • Sons of Anarchy had an episode where Chief Unser prevents the ATF investigators from investigating the car bomb evidence site by sneaking off, secretly peeing into a large cup of soda and then returning and "accidentally" spilling the pee/soda mixture right in the evidence area. Unser then explains to another character that the cancer treatments he's on contaminate his pee enough to set off a Geiger counter, and that when the ATF detects nuclear contaminants they'll have to leave the crime scene until a whole separate team can get there.

    Video Games 
  • JumpStart Adventures 3rd Grade: Mystery Mountain: One of the game's missions had Polly decide to alter the reason Leonardo da Vinci wasn't about to construct a helicopter after designing it on paper by invoking this trope. Once fixed, the real reason becomes apparent: there were no electric motors in da Vinci's day to power a helicopter.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Regular Show, after Benson's extensive use of cameras around the park to spy on Mordecai and Rigby gets out of hand, the duo resort to using a cappuccino "hacking device" by spilling it to shut down all the cameras.
  • The Simpsons: In "Bart on the Road", Homer hears from Lisa that Bart lied so he could go on a road trip with his other 10-year-old friends alone, and is working as a courier to get a chance to return home after losing all their money. Homer retrieves Bart by pouring a Buzz Cola on his work console, shorting it out so he has an excuse to buy a new one and have Bart escort it.


Video Example(s):


Dangeresque Roomisode 1: Behind the Dangerdesque

Dangeresque can try to make the case file unreadable by spilling coffee on it, which results in him going to jail.

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Main / SpillStainSabotage

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