How to get butter stains out of clothes

Butter is one of those ubiquitous ingredients that can be found in kitchens around the world. Whether you’re using it for baking, frying, or simply spreading it on toast, butter is a staple for many. However, as common as butter is in the kitchen, it can also be a common source of frustration when it comes to dealing with stubborn stains on clothing.

Butter stains can be particularly challenging to remove due to their greasy, oily nature. The fat content in butter can quickly soak into the fabric, making the stain set in quickly. If not treated properly, butter stains can linger and even worsen over time.

get butter stains out of clothes

But don’t despair! There are a number of effective techniques you can use to tackle those pesky butter stains and restore your clothes to their former glory. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the best methods for removing butter stains, from pre-treating the stain to using the right washing techniques. We’ll also share some prevention tips to help you avoid butter stains in the first place.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge and tools you need to conquer even the toughest butter stains. So let’s dive in and learn how to get your clothes looking fresh and clean, no matter what gets spilled on them.

Butter Stains

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of stain removal, it’s important to understand what makes butter stains so challenging to deal with. Butter is composed primarily of fat, water, and milk solids. When butter ends up on clothing, the fat and oil components are what create the stain.

Unlike water-based stains that can be flushed out with plain water, butter stains require a bit more elbow grease. The fat and oil in butter can quickly soak into fabric, creating a stubborn stain that won’t come out easily. And if the stain is left to set and dry, it can become even harder to remove.

Another complicating factor is that butter can contain additional ingredients like salt, flavorings, or preservatives. These extra components can interact with the fabric and make the stain even more difficult to treat.

So in summary, the key characteristics of butter stains that make them tricky to deal with are:

  • High fat and oil content that soaks into fabric
  • Tendency to set and dry, causing the stain to worsen over time
  • Potential for additional ingredients that can further complicate removal

Keeping these factors in mind will help guide the stain removal process and ensure you’re using the most effective techniques.

Pre-Treating Butter Stains

The first step in removing a butter stain is to act quickly. The sooner you can start the stain removal process, the better. As soon as you notice a butter stain, try to blot it with a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towel to soak up as much of the excess fat and oil as possible.

Next, you’ll want to pre-treat the stain. Pre-treating helps to loosen and break down the butter molecules so they can be more easily removed during the washing process. Here are some effective pre-treatment methods:

  1. Dish Soap: Apply a small amount of dish soap directly to the stain and gently rub it in. The surfactants in the dish soap help to cut through the grease and lift the butter out of the fabric.
  2. Laundry Detergent: For a more heavy-duty pre-treatment, use a small amount of your regular laundry detergent. Rub it into the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before washing.
  3. Baking Soda: Make a paste by mixing baking soda and a bit of water, then apply it to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing. The baking soda will help to absorb and lift the butter.
  4. Vinegar: White vinegar is a natural degreaser that can be effective against butter stains. Sponge a small amount of vinegar directly onto the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before washing.
  5. Pre-Treat Spray: For convenience, you can also use a specialized pre-treatment spray designed for grease and oil stains. Apply it to the affected area and let it sit as directed before washing.

One product we recommend is the Puracy Natural Stain Remover Spray. This plant-based formula uses a blend of enzymes and surfactants to effectively break down and lift grease and oil stains like butter.

No matter which pre-treatment method you choose, be sure to thoroughly rub it into the stain, getting it all the way through the fabric layers. This will help ensure the stain-lifting agents can penetrate deep into the fibers.

Once you’ve pre-treated, you can let the item sit for 30 minutes to an hour before moving on to the washing step. This gives the pre-treatment time to work and start breaking down the butter molecules.

Washing Butter Stains

After pre-treating, it’s time to wash the garment. When washing butter stains, it’s important to use the hottest water temperature that’s safe for the fabric. Heat helps to further dissolve and lift the fat and oil.

You’ll also want to use a heavy-duty laundry detergent that’s formulated to tackle grease and oil. Look for detergents that contain enzymes or solvents that are effective against stubborn stains.

Some additional tips for washing butter stains:

  • Avoid using fabric softeners or dryer sheets, as these can actually set the stain.
  • Consider adding a pre-treatment booster like baking soda or vinegar to your wash cycle.
  • For extra-stubborn stains, you may need to wash the item multiple times.
  • Check the stain before drying – if it’s still present, repeat the pre-treatment and washing steps.

One laundry detergent we recommend for tackling butter stains is Persil ProClean. It contains a powerful grease-fighting formula that can help break down and remove even the toughest oil and fat-based stains.

If the stain persists even after multiple washes, you may need to try some more intensive stain removal techniques. Here are a few options:

  • Spot cleaning with a stain remover stick or spray
  • Soaking the item in an enzyme-based stain remover, like Biz Laundry Stain Remover
  • Using an old toothbrush to scrub the stain
  • Applying a bit of rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to the stain

Be cautious with these more aggressive methods, as they can potentially damage delicate fabrics. Always test on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Preventing Butter Stains

Of course, the best way to deal with butter stains is to avoid them in the first place. Here are some tips to help prevent butter stains from happening:

  1. Wear an apron or smock when cooking with butter. This creates a barrier to protect your clothes.
  2. Be extra careful when handling buttery foods. Slow down and keep your movements controlled to minimize splashing or dripping.
  3. Use a plate or placemat when eating buttery foods like toast, pastries, or popcorn. This gives you a clean surface to catch any drips.
  4. Blot up spills immediately with a clean cloth or paper towel. The quicker you can absorb the butter, the less time it has to soak into the fabric.
  5. Pretreat any suspected butter stains as soon as possible, even if they’re not yet visible. This can help stop the stain from setting.
  6. Wash clothes that have been exposed to butter in hot water as soon as possible. Don’t let stains sit and dry.
  7. Keep a stain removal pen or spray on hand in the kitchen for quick spot cleaning. We recommend the Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover Pen.

By being proactive and taking steps to prevent butter stains before they happen, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort in the long run.


Butter stains may be stubborn, but with the right techniques, you can conquer even the toughest grease and oil marks. Remember to act quickly, pre-treat effectively, and wash thoroughly using hot water and heavy-duty detergent. And with a little prevention, you can avoid those pesky butter stains altogether.

With this comprehensive guide in your arsenal, you’ll be able to keep your clothes looking fresh and clean, no matter what culinary adventures come your way. So the next time you find a butter stain, don’t panic – just pull out these proven tips and get to work. Your wardrobe will thank you.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.