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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Gravy Stains

By Dr. Laundry March 21, 2012

Q:  How do you get rid of a gravy stain?

A:  Gravy is tricky because it is combination stain—you have both a greasy and colored component that needs to be dealt with, and it’s best to work on the greasy part first.  Start by scraping away excess gravy with a dull knife to minimize the amount of stain you need to treat.  Next, apply liquid dishwashing detergent directly to the stain and let it soak in.  Wait 10 minutes, and then rinse with a little warm water.  Now you’ll want to pretreat it again, and what product to use depends on whether the item with the stain is white or has color.

For white bleachable items (note that you should avoid bleaching items made with wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex regardless of their color) pretreat with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel.  Use the soft scrubber tip to apply a little of the gel to the remaining stain, and then wash immediately in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  After washing, air dry the item and check for success.  Residual oil can be hidden on a damp or wet item, so it’s important to keep it out of a hot dryer—this avoids heat setting any remaining stain that could otherwise be completely removed with a second treatment.

For colored items, after the liquid dishwashing detergent pretreatment step described above, pretreat again with Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster.  Apply a little to the stain, rub in, and wait 5- 10 minutes (but don’t let it dry on the fabric).  Next, wash the item in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and more Clorox2®.  Be sure to air dry the item and check for success—repeat the treatment if a little oil still remains.

Does anyone else have stubborn stains?