Getting Oil-Based Stains Out of Clothes With Satin-Like Material

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Treat oil stains on satin-like fabric with petroleum-based pre-treatment sprays.
Image Credit: Maryna Terletska/Moment/GettyImages

Satin clothes, curtains, upholstery or bed sheets can add a touch of class to your space or outfit. However, getting an unsightly oil or grease stain on your beautiful satin can ruin the look of this lovely fabric and can be difficult to remove without the right stain remover. Oil stains are some of the most common, whether from salad dressing, makeup or even fingerprints, but they can also be some of the toughest to remove. Understanding what satin is and how to work with and clean the material can help you make your satin look like new again.

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Types of Satin Stain Remover

There are a number of satin stain removers on the market. However, there are also a number of common household items that can be used instead, especially if you get to the stain as soon as possible before it has had a chance to set.

The main quality for which to look in an oil-based stain remover for satin fabrics is a dry and highly absorbent powder. In addition to commercial options, such as Spot Stuff, you may also use baking soda, salt, cornstarch, flour or polenta. All of these powders absorb liquids, especially oils. However, make sure of one other important quality: that your satin stain remover of choice is undyed and has no coloring agents in it.

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Removing Oil Stains From Satin

The most important thing to remember when removing oil stains from satin is that you must act fast. Try to begin removing the stain as soon as possible and especially before it has set or the process will take a lot longer, and there will be a smaller chance of success.

First, lay the satin item on a hard surface with the stain facing up. If the item has layers, such as in a shirt, put a hard, flat item (such as a book with a laminated cover or a freshly cleaned plastic cutting board) inside the item under the stain to prevent other layers of the item from absorbing the stain as you work. Then, use a clean, dry white rag to gently blot up as much of the oil stain as possible. Do not rub the satin, as this will work the stain in deeper. You may also use plain white paper towels.

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Next, spread a thick layer of your satin stain remover of choice over the stain. Use your fingers to gently massage the powder into the stain and ensure that it covers the entire stain. Leave the powder for at least an hour or for the duration recommended in the instructions if you are using a commercial stain remover. Gently brush away the powder with a soft-bristled brush. You will likely see a white or off-white area where the powder was placed. This will come out in the washing step.

Next Steps in Stain Removal

Once the powder is gone, treat the area with a washing pretreatment. You may use a commercial pretreatment or dissolve powdered laundry detergent with a little water in order to create a paste and work it in. Leave the pretreatment on the satin item for three to four minutes.

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Next, check the label on the satin item for care instructions. Wash the item at the hottest temperature recommended on the care label – preferably outright hot water if the fabric will tolerate it. Satin can be made from a variety of textiles, and some can tolerate hotter temperatures than others. Hand wash if necessary or use the delicate cycle on your washer depending on the care instructions. Using the hottest water possible breaks up the chemical bonds in the oil and helps it lift out of the fabric.

Air dry the satin item, preferably using a hair dryer on its coolest setting to dry the item quicker and prevent water stains. Inspect the stained area. If you got to it quickly enough, this process will likely have removed the stain, but if necessary, repeat the steps starting from the pretreatment stage until the stain is gone.

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