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How to Get Butter Stains Out
of Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

December 1, 2020

Let’s face it: creamy butter is the ultimate topping for many of us. From freshly popped popcorn to toast hot out of the toaster, butter just adds that something special. But where there’s butter, there’s a grease stain just waiting to happen. It seems that no matter how careful we are, some of that delicious butter is inevitably going to get on our clothes, furniture, or floors. When this happens, your first response may be to panic, but we promise everything will be okay. Just turn to our handy guide to learn how to get butter stains out.

The good news is, you can remove a butter stain from carpet, clothes, upholstery, and other fabrics without too much hassle if you act fast. If you don’t discover the butter stain until it’s dried, it will take a little more work—but not too much! Once you learn how to remove a butter stain, you can smear on as much butter as you like without worrying about the aftermath. Whether it’s a holiday meal, a cookout, or Tuesday night dinner, arm yourself with these butter-stain fighting tips and chow down.

How to Get Butter Out of Clothes

The key to removing a butter stain from clothing is to act quickly. Yes, that means you should stop eating and start reading! Like other greasy stains, butter and margarine contain a lot of oil that can quickly soak into fabrics. Since butter isn’t soluble with water, there’s no use in reaching for soap and water—or dry-cleaning solvents that can contain harmful ingredients. Instead, follow these proven ways to remove a butter stain.

Like other clothing stains, the quicker you act, the easier it will be to remove the stain.

  • First, put down whatever you were eating.
  • If it’s a big blob of butter, wipe off the excess onto a paper towel with a butter knife.
  • Grab a clean white cloth or paper towel and blot away as much of the butter stain as possible.
  • Don’t rub. Rubbing can imbed the stain deeper into the fibers of the fabric.

Once you’ve blotted away as much butter as you can, get some baking soda, talcum powder, or cornstarch and pour a generous amount onto the stain. The goal here is to soak up as much of the butter grease as possible before working on the stain removal. For clothes that require dry cleaning, your next step is to head to the dry cleaner’s. For clothes you can machine or hand wash, read on.

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  • Lightly scrub the baking soda into the butter and fabric.
  • Let it sit until the baking soda turns brown.
  • Scrape the baking soda away and repeat the process until it no longer changes color.

If the stain looks like it still needs work, you can cover the entire spot with liquid dish detergent—but no water!

  • Rub the detergent into the stain and the surrounding fibers with your fingers or a soft brush.
  • Don’t scrub too hard on delicate fabrics.
  • You should see some quick results as the dish soap lifts out more of the greasy stain.

Finish up by washing the garment as you normally would. To complete your butter stain removal successfully, skip the dryer. It’s hard to tell if a butter stain is completely gone when the fabric is wet. If there is any residue from the butter, the dryer heat could set the stain permanently. Instead, air-dry the clothing so you can safely repeat your stain treatment if you need to.

When removing butter stains that have dried and set, it’s best to work on the stain while the fabric is dry. Remember, grease and oil don’t mix! Pour distilled white vinegar onto the stain and give it a minute. The vinegar will dampen the stain without spreading it as the acids break down the oils. Let the fabric dry and then treat the stain with an enzyme-based stain treatment. For a “green” DIY solution, it’s easy to make your own natural stain treatment at home.

How to Remove Butter From Carpet

Just like removing a stain from clothes, removing a butter stain from carpet is easiest when you clean it right away. The best way to remove butter from carpet doesn’t have to mean using harsh chemicals or solvents. You can lift and remove a butter stain from carpet using things you probably already have around the house. Here’s all you need to get that butter out of your carpet.

  • Soft brush
  • Baking soda
  • Butter knife
  • Clean white cloth or paper towel
  • Dish liquid
  • Warm water

Start your carpet stain removal by removing as much excess butter as you can with a butter knife. Blot up the rest of the butter with a clean white cloth or paper towel. Sprinkle baking soda onto the stain, scrub it into the stain and fibers, and let it sit for about five minutes to absorb the oils. Scrape away the baking soda and repeat the process till there is no more oil being absorbed. Pour dish soap onto the stain and work it into the carpet fibers with your soft brush. Rinse the stain with a wet cloth, pat the stain dry with a clean cloth, and vacuum.

If you still see a stain once the carpet dries, you may have to use a different carpet stain approach. You can use rubbing alcohol as a stain solvent to break down the oils, but we recommend that you spot test your carpet first. Pour the rubbing alcohol onto the stain and press the liquid down into the stain and carpet fibers with a clean white cloth. Let the alcohol break down the butter stain for five minutes and then rinse the area with a dampened cloth. To speed up drying, place a small fan near the stain.

How to Get Butter Stains Out of Upholstery

When getting butter stains out of upholstery, take care not to oversaturate while you’re cleaning. Moisture can easily get down into foam or other fill in your upholstered furniture and cause odors, mold, and mildew. Silk and other delicate upholstery fabrics may require the services of a professional cleaning service. But for most furniture upholstery, removing a butter stain is a simple and easy DIY process.

  • Scrape away as much of the butter as you can from the upholstery with a butter knife. Be careful not to spread the stain further.
  • Pour baking soda onto the stain and gently rub it into the stain and upholstery fabric. Let the baking soda sit for 15 minutes to absorb the oils from the butter.
  • Scrape away the baking soda and repeat the step above until no more oil is being absorbed.
  • Pat the stained area dry with a clean white cloth and then vacuum up the remaining baking soda.

Once your upholstery fabric dries, you can easily see if your stain removal efforts worked. If the stain needs more work, pour a small amount of dish soap onto the stain. Gently work it into the stain and fabric with your fingers, using just enough pressure to get the cleaner into the fabric, but not into the fill below. Rinse with a clean damp cloth and let the stain air dry.

If the stain is still visible, spot test your fabric with rubbing alcohol. If it’s safe, pour the rubbing alcohol onto the stain just enough to get it damp. Wait five minutes and then blot the stain to get up the rest of the oils. Do not dry the stained area with a hairdryer or other heat source because it could make the stain permanent. Let the upholstery dry and then check that the stain is gone.

Check out our blog for other stain removal tips and tricks. Whether it’s your favorite blouse or your living room carpet, The Maids offers professional advice for removing wine, grass, blood, and plenty of other stains. Need help getting out tough stains and other cleaning chores? Get your free estimate and find out just how affordable a weekly cleaning service can be.

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