Knowing how to get rid of butter stains is an important life hack, especially if you are a homemaker or work in the hospitality industry. For while, butter is an indispensable ingredient in the kitchen, it can be quite cumbersome to remove the stains from places it doesn’t belong- i.e. your clothes, the curtains or heaven forbid the carpet. The trick is to remove the stains ASAP before it has a chance to really set in the fabric. Here are some quick tips to help you out;
How Stubborn are Butter Stains?
The only downside to enjoying a tub of greasy butter popcorn on a movie night is the stains it leaves on the sofa and your shirt the next morning. Melted butter with its extra oils and milk proteins leave especially stubborn spots on the garment. And the fact that most standard detergents are not equipped to deal with these marks only makes matters worse for us. Yes, butter stains on Denim, polyester, cotton, or linen can be an absolute nightmare to deal with. What’s more, butter stains can be quite inconsistent and difficult to notice. Don’t worry though, we have some tried and tested stain removal methods that can help you save the day.
Are Butter Stains Permanent?
Butter stains settle on almost anything, from furniture to cotton shirts, linen, tablecloths, and even rugs and curtains. However, with some quick thinking and the right tools, you can easily save your clothes or home décor items from complete destruction. First and foremost, always remove the excessive blobs of butter from the area with a knife or parchment paper. This reduces the chances of the stain from completely settling in the fabric. Then you can decide upon the nature and process of stain removal depending on the surface in question.
A few drops of melted butter on your jeans can go undetected for long and leave a lasting impression on the cloth in question. And sometimes, the stains stay even after you have washed the fabric thoroughly, often causing discoloration and a very washed out appearance. Furthermore, drying the stained garment in a heat-induced dryer can cause the stain to settle in more thoroughly making the ordeal more difficult for you.
How to get Butter Stains Out of Clothes?
Getting butter stains off from clothes is so easy task. For starters, the stains are almost undetectable and settle in pretty quick.
- Scrape off the excess butter from the surface using a blunt knife. You can also dab a piece of cloth on the fabric to soak up the excess oil and grease if the stain is still fresh.
- If the stain has dried up, try soaking up the spot in a pre-treatment stain removal solution. You can use ammonia, baking soda, or WD-40 to soften the stain.
- Next, sprinkle a few drops of non-bleach soap or dishwashing liquid on the stain and rub it with your fingers
- You can also scrub a paste of baking soda and water on the affected area, even enzyme laundry detergents can do the trick for you
- Leave the cloth aside for a while, an hour at least, to allow the soap/detergent to work its magic
- Check for stains before washing and drying the cloth. Repeat the process if needed.
Removing Butter Stains from Carpets or the Upholstery
Unlike shirts or pants, removing stains from carpets, curtains and upholstery are more time-taking because you cannot wash the fabric in one go. Rugs and carpets also get very heavy and often have to be professionally treated and cleaned up. Don’t worry, you can still get rid of butter stain on the carpets and rugs using these simple methods
- Scrape off the excess butter, oil, and grease off the surface
- Apply some baking soda or ammonia on the stained area and let it rest for a while
- Vacuum the area and then sponge the surface with a white napkin soaked in dry-cleaning solvent
- If the stain remains, use a mixture of liquid soap, white vinegar and warm water on the area
- Sponge the area with cold water and then blot it dry. Repeat the process if necessary.
Butter Stain Removal Methods
1. Using Detergent
The detergent method is by far the easiest and most effective method that most people opt for. While most of the standard detergents in the market are not suitable for removing butter stains, a few tough stain removers do work really well if used the right way. You can go for either a chemical agent or an organic detergent, we recommend the bio-friendly option.
- Wet the cloth with warm water and then wash it with the detergent and then leave it to dry.
- Also always check the cloth for stains before drying, if the stain persists, try pre-treating the fabric with Persil Liquid before washing it.
2. Using Soap
Regular household soap is another effective home remedy for removing butter stains from shirts and other garments. Select soaps that are specially crafted for stain removal, you can also apply shampoos, dishwashing liquids and other options for the job.
- Apply a small quantity of the soap on the affected area, rub it gently before throwing it in the washing machine.
- Check the care label of the fabric to see whether it can withstand the harsh effects of soap. Delicate materials like linen or silk can get irreversibly damaged when treated with harsh dishwashing soap or bleaching agents.
3. Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is a smart remedy for removing butter stains from delicate fabrics that cannot withstand the damaging effects of liquid soaps and detergents. What’s more, baking soda is very absorbent and would immediately soften the stain.
- Blot the affected area with a towel or a tissue. Soaking up the extra butter from the surface makes stain removal easier.
- Then, sprinkle generous amounts of baking soda or any other absorbent powder on the surface and leave it overnight.
- You can dust off the powder in the morning and wash the cloth regularly the next day.
Some Immediate Butter Stain Removal Fixes
1. Spot Treatment
Spot Treatment is usually the first and foremost technique people apply when it comes to dealing with butter or grease stains. Most dishwashing soaps and liquids contain chemicals which are strong enough to soften the stains and hence make it easier to remove. For Spot Treatment you need to
- Dampen the affected area with lukewarm water
- Apply some soap and rub it gently in circles. Leave it to rest for a few minutes
- Rinse the cloth thoroughly with warm water
- Pre-treat the stain with homemade or chemical stain removers before washing it normally.
You can make your own stain remover at home using
- Mix 1 ½ cups of water with 1/4th of liquid castile soap, ¼ cup of vegetable oil and 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil
- Apply the mixture on the stain and rub it with your fingers gently
- Let it rest for an hour at least, before washing it.
2. Corn-starch or Talcum Powder
Talcum powder, corn-starch or any other absorbent works best when the stain is still fresh and not yet settled on the fabric. For this method, you need to
- Place the fabric on an even surface and then sprinkle some talcum powder, coarse salt or corn-starch on the affected area
- Pat the powder gently on the surface, don’t rub it on the stain
- Let the powder sit for at least 30 minutes, allow it to soak up the butter
- Scrub the stain slowly with an old toothbrush in circles and brush the excess powder away
- Repeat this process until the butter stain completely fades away
- You can then wash the cloth normally.
3. Parchment Paper
A piece of parchment paper or a white napkin/ tissue can also work wonders when it comes to reducing the long-lasting effects of butter stains on the fabric. Parchment paper, for instance, soaks up the excess oils and grease off the cloth and prevents the stain from settling in permanently on the cloth.
- Take a napkin or cloth and wet the corner with lukewarm water.
- Coat the corner of the napkin with coarse salt and place it on the stained area
- Take another piece of tissue or parchment paper and press it on the stain from the other side
- Refrain from rubbing the area, only put pressure on the stain with the napkins from both sides. The salt will eventually breakdown the butter stain and soften it
- Dust the salt off and wash the cloth normally.
4. WD-40 or Lighter Fluid
WD-40 is a very strong product, generally used to protect metals from rusting and lubricating wheels. We recommend you use WD-40 only as a last resort when all else fails to work for you. Other products like hairspray or any lighter fluid can also be quite dangerous and only be used as an emergency option.
- Test the product on the cloth before to check if it leaves any damaging effects
- Apply small amounts of WD-40 or lighter fluid on a napkin or towel and rub it on the stain
- Scrub the stain slowly with a toothbrush and let it rest for an hour
- Wash the garment as usual in the laundry and check it for stains before you dry it
Other Smart Options You Can Explore
In addition to these aforementioned butter stain removal techniques, there are other innovative and indigenous methods of stain removal as well that you can check out. For instance, adding a few drops of ammonia on the stain can prove to be quite effective. You can also use a few drops of clear or white shampoo to rub on the stain. Even hairspray works well in removing the stubborn spots from your favorite shirt. If you encounter a butter stain when outside, you can use a few drops of artificial sweeteners on the stain as well. Granulated sugar works well as an emergency solvent – pat it on the grease spot and wash it as soon as you get home.
Useful Laundering Tips and Tricks
Listed below are some useful laundering tips that will help you deal with butter stains better. These common tips and tricks help you remove the stains faster without causing any untoward damage to the fabric
- Opt for homemade stain removers and not the chemicals you get in the market as they contain bleach and can cause discoloration
- Always use hot water to wash the stained fabric.
- Also, allow the stain to air dry before you put it in the dryer. It gets difficult to identify the stain when the fabric is wet
- Avoid ironing the stained cloth. Also never directly place the wet cloth in the dryer.
- Use powders for fabrics that can only be dry-cleaned such as carpets and upholsteries.
Few Precautionary Measures to Adopt
Here are some precautionary measures you should keep in mind when applying these remedies for butter stain removal
- Always test the product on a small patch of the fabric to check if it’s suitable
- Read the label on the garment, refrain from using harsh methods like WD-40 and lighter fluid on delicate fabrics as it can cause irreversible damage, discoloration and leave a foul smell
- Use lighter fluid very carefully and in limited amounts only. Also, ensure that the area is well-ventilated and not near any heat source
- Check the fabric from stains before you dry it out
- Don’t rub the stained cloth very vigorously as it can cause damage to the fabric
The Bottom Line
Don’t panic if you find a grease spot or stain on your favourite shirt or the new pair of curtains you just put up. With quick action and some smart stain removal measures, you can salvage the situation and prevent any permanent damage to the fabric. These methods work well on cotton, linen and other fabrics (except maybe silk and polyester), although we suggest you check the care label before applying these solutions to avoid any risk.