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How to Get Butter Stains Out of Clothes

If you have ever served buttery toast for breakfast, you know how easily a few greasy crumbs can smear your jeans or your child’s clothing! Grease stains from food often set into fabric and leave dark, oily blobs that seem impossible to remove. Though these stains seem tough, you can learn how to get butter out of clothes using just a few basic household cleaning supplies!

The best way to get butter out of clothes is to apply a pre-wash treatment such as dish soap or baking soda and vinegar. Other popular methods include using an absorbent powder like cornstarch or talcum powder. Time-intensive methods include treating the stain with WD-40 or making a DIY stain remover.

In this article, you will find out what makes butter stains difficult to treat. You will learn seven popular methods for stain removal. Finally, you will find tips for how to get butter out of jeans and polyester!

How to Get Butter Stains Out of Clothes

Does Butter Stain Clothes?

Yes, butter can stain clothes badly because it contains both fat and protein. Butter comes from churning heavy cream, which turns the lipids and milk proteins in the cream into a semi-solid emulsion that can melt easily at high temperatures.

Like many grease stains, a smear of butter can disappear into your clothing after you blot it. You may think you got it all. But then, after you wash the garment, a dark splotch will show up on your garment!

The protein part of the butter stain, just like meat or blood stains, can respond pretty well to an enzyme-based stain remover or even laundry detergent. But the real problem with butter is the grease part of its composition.

The fat lipids in any kind of grease stain cannot dissolve in water. Most laundry processes depend on the interaction between water and soap to handle any dirt, so you can see the problem here!

Does Butter Come Out Of Clothes?

Butter does come out of clothes when treated correctly, though it is not an easy stain to remove under any circumstances. Like any grease stain, your best chance of removing the butter entirely is to treat the stain immediately. The longer a grease stain sits, the tougher it is to get it out!

If you’re at the movie theater and butter drips off your popcorn onto your jeans, don’t wait till the end credits play. Sneak out to the restroom and use paper towels to blot the stain as fast as possible!

If you’re at home, you probably have everything you need to promptly get rid of a butter stain in your kitchen cupboards.

Several of the stain-treatment methods in the next section also use a dry powder to soak up the grease. This works well because a substance like baking powder or talcum powder can absorb those fat lipids and suck them right out of your clothes!

But what about if you didn’t notice your child using his favorite Batman t-shirt as a napkin while eating buttery corn on the cob? Don’t panic because you can still remove old butter stains. It just takes a bit more work!

Once grease stains go through the washer and dryer, they get set in, it’s true. But you can find tips for removing old butter stains later in this article!

How to Get Butter Stains Out of Clothes: 7 Methods

How to get butter out of fabric

You can get butter stains out of clothes using seven simple methods, including treating with baking soda or common dish detergent. These methods will work most quickly and effectively if you apply them to a butter stain right away.

Things that do not work on butter stains include throwing a garment in your washing machine. The agitation of soap and water will get dirt and many types of stains out of clothing, but it does not work on grease stains. Plus, putting a grease-stained garment in the dryer essentially bakes the grease deep into the fibers of the fabric, making it much harder to get the stain out later!

Dry cleaning solvent also does not work well on butter stains. You can take your stained garment to a professional dry cleaner and ask them to treat the stain. If you don’t mind paying for it, the pros can find a way to get the stain out for sure!

On the other hand, you can get the same results yourself at your kitchen sink if you don’t mind spending a few minutes on the project.

1. Dawn or Dish Soap

Mrs. Meyer's Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Cruelty Free Formula, Radish Scent, 16 Oz BottleOne of the best, cheapest ways to treat a butter stain is to use dish soap. Dish soap like Dawn contains strong anti-grease properties. Lathering up a bit of dish soap over a grease stain will cause soap particles to pick up and lift out tiny grease particles.

For the best result, do not add water! You want to apply straight soap.

  1. If you have a fresh butter stain, use a paper towel or clean dish rag to blot away as much grease as possible. Make sure you dab with the cloth instead of rubbing, Friction on top of the grease stain will wedge those fat lipids deeper into the fabric, so don’t scrub at it!
  2. Next, squirt a generous dollop of dish soap onto the stain. For a tiny stain, you will want just a dab of soap. For larger stains, you may want a half teaspoon or so.
  3. If you’re still wearing the clothing, you can simply use your fingers to gently swish the soap over the stain until it lathers up. If you can take off the garment, you can use a soft brush or clean sponge even more effectively to lather the soap and work it into the stain.
  4. Hold the fabric around the stain taut as you run water straight through the stained area, rinsing away the soap. The running water will carry away the fat lipids that the soap broke free from the fabric!
  5. At this point, you can safely wash the garment in your washing machine, but don’t put it in the dryer. Let it air dry and then check to see if any staining remains. You can easily repeat the dish soap process if necessary.

2. Vinegar and Baking Soda

VinegarBaking soda and vinegar have almost magical cleaning properties for many different stains, including butter and grease stains! You can use these common household products in a couple of different ways to handle butter stains.

First, you can use baking soda as an absorbent powder to soak up a lot of a fresh butter stain.

  1. Place a folded paper towel beneath the butter stain.
  2. Sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda over the stain. You don’t need to go crazy here, but you should use enough soda that you don’t see any of the fabric through the white powder.
  3. Use your fingers or a soft brush to gently work the baking soda into the fabric.
  4. Next, let the baking soda sit for at least five minutes, up to about an hour or even overnight. You can check periodically, and the minute you see the soda tinging with brown, you know the process is working!
  5. Carefully shake away the brown baking soda and repeat the process with fresh baking soda.
  6. You may have to repeat this process several times until you can leave the baking soda to sit and it no longer turns brown. This will mean that you got all the butter grease out of the clothing!

If you do not have the time to wait for this effective but lengthy method, you can also try adding vinegar into the equation.

  1. Start by applying baking soda and working it into the fabric, just as you did in the method above.
  2. Next, mix one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water in a spray bottle.
  3. Heavily spray the baking soda, causing it to foam up.
  4. Rinse away this mixture and check the garment to see if the stain remains. If it does, try adding a drop of dish soap and scrubbing the stain as a secondary treatment.

3. Without Washing/Cornstarch

365 by Whole Foods Market, Corn Starch, 16 OunceCornstarch and talcum powder also have great absorbency that soak up a butter stain without water or washing. This method works a lot like the baking soda method above–the basic idea is that you apply a lot of an absorbent powder and let it sit and do its work.
  1. Arrange your stained garment on a flat surface with a piece of cardboard or a pad of paper towels behind the stain. This will prevent grease from leaking through to manage other parts of the clothing!
  2. Spread a thick, even layer of cornstarch or talcum powder over the stain. It does not matter which product you choose, as both will work effectively!
  3. This time, do not rub or scrub the powder at all. Leave that thick layer to sit for at least 30 minutes, or even as long as overnight!
  4. You should see some discoloration of the white powder at this point.
  5. Finally, use a soft brush or clean toothbrush to brush the powder out of the fabric. For good measure, shake it briskly over your sink or bathtub.
  6. Check the garment to see if any stain remains!

4. Washing Machine

It’s true that just throwing a garment with a butter stain in the washing machine does not usually work, but you can take a few extra steps to make your normal laundry routine more effective on these stains.

You may want to try this method if you don’t have much time to spare to work on the stains. You should combine this method with the pre-treatment method listed next in this article for the best results.

  1. Set your washing machine to the hottest water temperature possible.
  2. Use a strong degreasing detergent if you have one on hand.
  3. If you do not have time to use a pre-wash stain treatment, try this instead: dab a half teaspoon of laundry detergent right onto the stain. Work it in well with your fingers before putting the garment in the washing machine.
  4. Run the washing machine all the way through, but do not put the garment in the dryer! Instead, let it air dry, and then check to see if the stain hung on or not.

5. DIY Stain Remover

Not every stain removing product works on grease stains, so why not make one yourself using a few simple ingredients? This pre-wash treatment will give your clothes the best chance to shed those stains in the washing machine.

You can find quite a few recipes for stain removers. Perhaps the simplest recipe is to measure ¼ cup of blue Dawn dish soap and one cup of distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle and shake well before use.

For a more complicated but worthwhile stain remover, you can also try this recipe:

  1. Measure all the ingredients into a spray bottle, preferably a glass bottle if you have one on hand. You may want to use a funnel to make pouring liquids into the spray bottle easier.
  2. Start with half a cup of water.
  3. Add ¼ cup of liquid Castile soap. You can find this in the cleaning aisles of many grocery stores these days!
  4. Add ¼ cup of vegetable glycerin. You may have to order this one online, but it is easy to find as it has many cosmetic and cleaning properties.
  5. If you would like, you can also add several drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, to make the product smell nice.
  6. Put the top on the bottle and shake everything up to mix it well!

6. WD-40

WD 40In some cases, you can remove really difficult butter stains by using WD-40. This method has iffy results and you should save it as a last resort if using dish soap, baking soda, and your washing machine didn’t work! WD-40 does contain a special solvent that can break apart old oil stains, making it easier to remove them.

  1. Place a thick buffer of paper towels behind the stained section of your garment. You don’t want the WD-40 soaking through the fabric and spreading all over your clothing!
  2. Spray a small amount of WD-40 onto the stain.
  3. Let it sit for five minutes.
  4. Next, apply either dish soap or laundry detergent to the damp WD-40. Work this into the fabric until lather forms.
  5. Finally, wash the garment in hot water in your washing machine.

7. Commercial Stain Remover

OxiClean MaxForce Laundry Stain Remover Spray, 12 Fl. oz.If you don’t have household products like baking soda or vinegar on hand, you can also successfully use some commercial stain removal products on butter stains. The tricky thing here is that not all laundry products work well on grease stains.

Enzyme-based products designed to work on food types like chocolate and wine will not work well on grease stains.

But products like OxiClean MaxForce spray should work on grease, food, or even blood stains! Another popular commercial product for treating grease stains in clothes is SHOUT Gel stain remover, which comes in concentrated gel form and can handle almost any stain, including oil.

How To Get Melted Butter Out Of Clothes?

Melted butter, such as popcorn butter or cocoa butter, can make big greasy stains on your clothes, but you can check out these helpful tips to get rid of that grease!

Popcorn Butter

Popcorn butter, like the kind you get at the movies, does not contain actual dairy-based butter. Instead, it has other oils like partially hydrogenated soybean oil and beta carotene for color.

This stuff makes really difficult stains because of both the coloring products and the oils!

Good treatment methods include trying the baking soda method but allowing a thick coating of soda to sit on top of the oil overnight before shaking it off and washing the garment.

You may also consider buying a commercial product specially designed for grease stains.

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter and shea butter deserve a special mention because you can find them in many lotions, bath bombs, and cosmetic products despite how easily they can stain clothing!

Cleaning experts recommend trying a powder-based method to absorb as much of the cocoa butter grease as possible out of your clothing. Once you have shaken away the powder (such as cornstarch, talcum powder, or baking soda), examine the clothing to see if any oil remains.

You can also try putting a paper towel under the stain and a clean rag over the stain and using an iron on a low setting. This can re-melt the oil and allow the paper towel to absorb a lot of it.

For either of these methods, you will probably need to wash the garment in hot water in your washing machine to truly remove all of the oil.

How To Remove Butter Stains From Fabric

Different kinds of fabric react in unique ways to stain removers, so you may also want to tailor your butter stain removal method to the type of cloth in your garment. For instance, natural fibers like cotton can easily absorb water, but the synthetic fibers in polyester do not! This means that water-based stain treatments may work better on cotton clothing.

Jeans

Most of the time, you can use the dish soap method to get grease stains, such as butter stains, out of jeans. Jeans are made out of denim, which contains cotton fibers. This means that fibers will open up and allow the grease to rinse away under running water after you generously apply the dish soap.

You can also spray hairspray heavily over the stain, let it sit for half an hour, and then wash the jeans. This is one of those old wives’ tale methods that some cleaning experts still swear by.

Cotton

Any of the methods described in this article should work to get butter out of cotton, including using dish soap or making your own stain remover! You can even try applying a bit of laundry detergent right on top of the stain and simply washing the cotton garment in your washing machine in a hot water setting.

Usually, getting stains out of cotton is not too difficult. However, you should still take precautions, like treating the stain as quickly as possible. Avoid putting the garment in the dryer for a while until you are sure the stain is gone!

Polyester

Getting butter stains out of polyester can prove quite difficult, but you can often accomplish this using repeated applications of the dish soap method.

You can also use table salt on the stain. Simply apply table salt in a thick layer, just like the baking soda method. Scrub it gently and let it sit for half an hour before brushing it out and laundering the garment.

What Is The Best Solvent For Removing Butter Stain From Cloth?

Dish soap is the best solvent to remove butter stains from clothes. Plenty of different solvents can dissolve butter–one of the weirder options from this list is chloroform, which has the chemical ability to dissolve grease!

But in terms of easy stain removal, a little squirt of Dawn is often the best way to go.

Other special solvents specifically designed to treat grease stains in clothing include commercial products like OxiClean MaxForce. Just make sure you read the full product description of a commercial solvent to find out if it works on grease or not.

Conclusion

You can get butter out of your clothes by using strong soap applied directly to the stain or by applying an absorbent powder to soak up the oil out of the stain. Popular products for these methods include Dawn dish soap, laundry detergent, baking soda, and cornstarch. You can also use commercial stain removers designed specifically for grease stains.

The best way to handle a butter stain is to remove it quickly. Also, make sure you do not put your clothes in the dryer after treating the butter stain. The heat could set any remaining grease into the fabric.

Have you ever spilled melted butter onto your clothes? How did you treat the stain? Leave a comment below to let us know!