Skip to content
Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Butter Stains

By Dr. Laundry April 7, 2009

Q. I just purchased an expensive (overpriced) cotton gauze top in lime green. The very first time I wore it, I dripped a dot (about the size of a dime) of melted butter from oysters right in the front. I have tried white vinegar and every stain remover there is (except Clorox® Oxi Magic Powder). Nothing works! Please help if you know of any miracle solution, other than dying the top black.

A. Let’s see if any of the following suggestions are helpful:

  • At this point, my biggest fear is that you have done a variety of unsuccessful treatments and have probably dried the item in the dryer, which may have set any unremoved grease stain. For best greasy/oily stain removal, NEVER dry the item in a drier as it “remelts” the unremoved oil and forces it further into the fibers, making subsequent removal even more difficult/impossible. I would try pretreating the stain with either a good liquid dishwasher detergent (e.g., Dawn) or laundry detergent. Apply, rub gently into the stained area, wait 3–5 minutes, then wash in the warmest water recommended on the care label.
  • Check for success BEFORE drying. It may take a couple of these treatments. Air dry if you think it worked.
  • If these tips don’t work, then it probably isn’t going to be removed. As for the black dye option, it probably won’t cover the residual spot.