In 1935, Wyeth acquired a company that produced a sunburn ointment. The product was developed into Preparation H, an ointment intended for the treatment of hemorrhoids. Topical ointments can create stains when contact is made with fabrics. Preparation H contains mineral oil and shark liver oil which create a greasy residue. Pretreatment is important to prevent the stain from setting in the drying cycle.
Blot stained area with a paper towel to remove residual ointment. Do not rub to attempt removal, as friction sets the stain. Treat the area with an oxygen or hydrogen peroxide based cleaner such as Oxyclean. Add equal parts cleaner and water in a plastic container and rub to form a paste, then apply it to the stain. Powder based cleaners more readily dissolve in warm to hot water. Rinse the garment to inspect the stain. If the stain is still greasy, reapply the paste or treat with a small squirt of dish washing liquid to lift additional grease. Rinse the garment.
Launder the garment in the washing machine. Read the fabric care label for guidance on temperature and detergents. Add additional garments to the wash load. However, do not overcrowd the machine so you can allow the garment to properly agitate in the washer.
Inspect and Dry
Inspect the garment before drying. On dark clothing, grease stains can be camouflaged when the fabric is wet. If in doubt, hang the garment to dry. If the stain has disappeared satisfactorily when the garment is substantially dry, tumble the garment in the dryer. Add a dryer sheet to soften the garment. If the stain persists, repeat pretreatment process.