How to Get Butter Stains Out of Clothing

Updated February 22, 2022
Female Baker Mixing Butter with a Whisk in a Domestic Kitchen

Knowing how to get butter stains out of clothing comes in handy, especially if you have children or if you cook frequently. Use these laundry tips to make that butter vanish with a few simple steps.

Anatomy of a Butter Stain

Butter stains can be a challenge to remove from laundry due in large part to their greasy, oily texture. Most standard detergents are not made to battle greasy food stains, which is why butter can be tricky to remove from materials such as cotton, denim, linen, and polyester.

What's more, butter stains can be inconsistent. Sometimes if you catch the stain quickly it may lift off easily, but other times it takes multiple tries to remove. It doesn't help that butter stains are difficult to notice. Biting into a cob of corn slathered in melted butter can lead to a soiled shirt in no time. However, a few drops of butter on a shirt or pants can easily go unnoticed for hours if you are distracted with good conversation and even better food. In some cases, you may not even realize you have a butter stain until you glance down at dried grease marks on your pants.

Stain of butter on white cloth

How to Get Butter Stains Out of Clothing

Fortunately, learning how to get butter stains out of clothing is not too hard. As long as you have the right cleaning materials on hand and are not afraid to experiment with a variety of techniques, you won't have a problem figuring out how to get butter stains out of clothing. To get started removing butter with ease, you need:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Spoon or butter knife
  • Stain remover
  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • Dawn dish soap
  • WD-40
  • Ammonia
  • Clear or white shampoo
  • Hairspray
  • Lighter fluid
  • Baking soda

Liquid Laundry Detergent

This standard method of removing butter stains works well if you catch the grease spots early.

  1. Blot off excess melted butter or scrape off excess dried butter with a dull knife or spoon.
  2. Pretreat clothing with a stain remover, such as Shout Liquid Laundry Stain Remover.
  3. Blot the stained area and launder as usual. Don't crowd the washer with other clothes or you may wind up having to remove detergent stains as well.
  4. If the stain remains after the initial wash, place the soiled clothing stain side down on an absorbent pad.
  5. Add liquid laundry detergent through the back of the stain and blot with a clean absorbent pad. Let sit for a few minutes.
  6. Launder again.

Powdered Laundry Detergent

If you have a little powdered laundry detergent on hand, you can try this method.

  1. Create a paste from the dry laundry soap by applying some water.
  2. Apply it directly to the butter stain.
  3. Let it sit for half an hour.
  4. Place it in the washing machine and launder as usual.

Dishwashing Soap

A good grease solvent, such as Dawn liquid dish soap is effective on butter stains. The components in the liquid dishwashing soap act as an emulsifier to break down the water and grease bonds, so that the water can wash away the grease.

  1. Simply apply a few drops of the soap directly to the stain.
  2. Work it in with your fingertips.
  3. Let it sit for about two hours.
  4. Launder as usual.

Baking Soda Method

When it comes to getting rid of stains, baking soda is a go-to. Grab your baking soda and try out this method.

How to remove butter stains with baking soda infographic
  1. Apply baking soda to the stain.
  2. Allow it to soak up all the oil for 15 minutes.
  3. Scrape off the baking soda with a spoon.
  4. Apply more baking soda and let it sit for 20 or so minutes.
  5. Repeat until all the stain looks gone.
  6. Add a bit of Dawn to the stain and work it around with your fingers.
  7. Allow it to sit for 30 or so minutes.
  8. Launder as normal.

WD-40 Fluid

Believe it or not, WD-40, the product that protects metal from rust and corrosion, penetrates stuck parts, displaces moisture, and lubricates squeaky wheels, can also help rid butter stains from clothing. The cleanser is an emulsifier, which helps lift oil from the fabric. It works best on dried butter stains that have gone unnoticed for a while. WD-40 helps to loosen the stain, so you can treat it and remove it from your clothing.

  1. Simply spray some WD-40 on the stained clothing.
  2. Let sit for a few minutes until it can start emulsifying the residual butter.
  3. Then, launder the clothing as usual.

Ammonia

In addition to the aforementioned cleaning methods, there are other ways to get butter stains out of clothing. One of which is using ammonia.

  1. Add a few drops of ammonia to the stain.
  2. Place it in the washing machine.

Shampoo Method

Others swear by the shampoo method.

Hand in glove cleaning carpet by carpet and upholstery shampoo with a sponge
  1. Simply apply a few drops of clear or white shampoo to the butter stain.
  2. Rub it in thoroughly before placing it in the washing machine.

Hairspray Technique

Another technique you could try is to spray some inexpensive hairspray onto the butter stain.

  1. Spray the stain with a bit of hairspray
  2. Put the article of clothing into the wash.

Lighter Fluid

A more controversial method requires pouring a bit of lighter fluid onto the butter stain. The lighter fluid has properties that help absorb oil. However, this technique can be extremely dangerous if you are not working in a well-ventilated area or you are applying the lighter fluid near a heat source.

  1. Do a color test on the fabric first.
  2. If okay, put a bit of lighter fluid on the butter stain.
  3. Rub or brush the fabric in order for the lighter fluid to be absorbed by the butter.
  4. Put the clothing in the washing machine.

Laundering Tips for Getting Butter Out of Clothing

When trying to remove butter stains from clothing you should always use the hottest water the item can stand. Also, it's important to examine the stained item as soon as you remove it from the washing machine. Some butter stains are hard to see when the clothing item is wet, which is why you should allow the item to air dry. Never place a wet-stained item into the dryer, as the stain will be almost impossible to remove once it is baked onto the clothing. Therefore, you want to make sure the stain is gone by letting the item air dry to be sure it's gone before using the dryer.

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How to Get Butter Stains Out of Clothing