How to Remove Butter Stains From Cotton

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Butter is oily, so it's important to remove it properly so you don't push the stain further into the fabric.
Butter is oily, so it's important to remove it properly so you don't push the stain further into the fabric. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Finding a butter stain on cotton fabric is intimidating. The greasy nature of butter makes it seem impossible to remove. Whether you dripped butter on your favorite cotton shirt while cooking, or a guest got it on the cotton slipcovers or a dining room chair, it’s important to treat the stain promptly. With the right method, the butter stain will be out of the cotton fabric in no time and the fabric itself will still be intact.

Things You'll Need

  • Butter knife or spoon
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Laundry pretreatment spray
  • Laundry detergent

Scrape away any large chunks of excess butter from the fabric, using a butter knife or spoon. Do this carefully so you don’t spread the butter further.

Drizzle a few drops of liquid dish soap onto the spot. Use your fingers to work the soap into the fabric to loosen the butter stain.

Rinse the spot under cool water to flush the dish soap and butter from the fabric. Work from the backside of the fabric when rinsing.

Spray the stain with a laundry pretreatment spray. Let it sit for a few minutes, then launder the fabric as usual. Use the hottest water setting allowed for the item and add the recommended amount of laundry detergent.

Check the fabric after washing and before putting it into the dryer. If the butter stain is still there, repeat the process. Don’t put the cotton fabric in the dryer until you have removed all of the butter. The heat from the dryer will set in the butter stain, making it more difficult--if not impossible--to remove.

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