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Removing Butter Stains

By Dr. Laundry December 27, 2013

How do you get a butter stain out of a men’s tie when traveling?


Butter comes out pretty easily when pretreated with a little liquid dishwashing detergent. But that probably isn’t included in one of the little bottles in the hotel room! Those are probably shampoo or body wash, and they likely contain cleaning agents that are way too mild/gentle to be effective on butter. A good liquid dishwashing soap is formulated to lift food oil and grease from dishes, and that’s why just a few drops work so well on butter stains on fabric. The technique is pretty straight forward–apply a few drops to the stain and let it soak in, and then wash the tie following the care instructions.

If your tie is not silk and can be safely hand washed, then you can just wash the tie (after pretreating as described above) with a gentle detergent in a little warm water, rinse thoroughly, squeeze excess moisture out by rolling in a towel, and air dry flat on another dry towel.

 If the tie is silk and is labeled “dry clean only”, then your best bet to maintain the integrity of the fabric is to have it dry cleaned, making sure to show the dry cleaner exactly where the butter stain is so it can be pretreated (they should label the spot with a sticker). The problem for a hotel guest is that someone on the hotel staff will be picking up the tie to take it to whatever dry cleaner the hotel uses, so it’s hard to know for sure if the dry cleaner will be shown the butter stain. For that reason, waiting to send the tie to a dry cleaner once you return home would be your best bet. Depending on what the hotel charges for dry cleaning, it may also be less expensive to just purchase a new tie to use for the remainder of the trip.