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Treating movie theater popcorn butter stains

By Dr. Laundry August 6, 2013

How do I treat a stain from movie theater popcorn butter?


Whether what you spilled is butter or butter-flavoring, you have a concentrated oil stain you need to deal with. These stains benefit from pretreating with a good liquid dishwashing detergent before following up with other products. That’s because liquid dishwashing detergents break up concentrated oil really well, making it easier for detergents and laundry additives to finish the job. Also, because it’s an oily stain it’s important to work on the stain without rinsing it first.

Start by applying a little dishwashing detergent directly to the stain and gently rub it in. Wait 5 minutes, and then rinse the stain with a little warm water. Next, pretreat the stain again, this time with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel if the item you are working on is white and bleachable (always avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex). Use the soft scrubber tip to rub a little bleach gel into the stain, and then wash immediately in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and 1/2 cup Concentrated Clorox® Regular-Bleach (or 3/4 Clorox® Regular-Bleach). Air dry the item and check for success—it’s always a good idea to keep an item with a stain on it out of a hot dryer until you know it’s all the way out. That way if you ever do need to repeat a treatment to get a tough stain all the way out, your chances of success go way up if the stain isn’t heat-set.

If the item you are working on is colored (or is made with one of the fibers on the avoid bleaching list), then pretreat with Clorox2® Stain Fighter and Color Booster. Apply a little directly to the stain and wait 3-5 minutes, then wash the item in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and more Clorox2®. Again, air dry the item and check for success.