Stain Removal From Washable Fabrics

Greasy food stains

  • Cake frosting
  • Catsup
  • Cheese, cheese sauce
  • Chili sauce
  • Chocolate, cocoa
  • Coffee with cream
  • Dairy products (cream, cream soups, ice cream, milk, sour cream, yogurt)
  • Egg yolk
  • Frosting
  • Gravy
  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pudding
  • Salad dressing
  • Soups containing vegetables
  • Steak sauce
  • Tomato-based products
  • Vegetable oil

To remove greasy food stains

  • Saturate area with pretreatment laundry stain remover (aerosol-types work better on greasy stains). Wait one minute for product to penetrate the stain. For stubborn stains, rub with heavy-duty liquid detergent. Launder immediately.
  • If color stain remains, soak/wash in chlorine bleach if safe for fabric, or in oxygen bleach.
  • For extra heavy stains, apply dry cleaning fluid to back of stain over absorbent paper towels. Let dry, rinse. Proceed as above.


  • Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service. Quick 'n Easy Stain Removal. Ames, Iowa, 1986.
  • Johnson Wax. Form ED2-11. Laundry Products. Shout. 1989.
  • Maytag. Stain Removal Guide Form number 19 YG1087
  • North Central Regional Cooperative Extension. Stain Removal for Washable Fabrics. Publication 64. Extension Services of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, 1979.
  • Proctor and Gamble Educational Services. The How to Clean Handbook, 1986.
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension. FACTS: A General Guide to Stain Removal. West Lafayette, Indiana, 1979.
  • Soap and Detergent Association. Laundering Problems — Causes, Solutions, Preventive Measures, n.d.
  • Soap and Detergent Association. Removing Stains from Washable Items, n.d.
  • United States Department of Agriculture. Removing Stains from Fabrics. Home and Garden Bulletin number 62. Washington, D.C., 1976.
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Recommended Procedure for Removing Liquid Paper Correction Fluid From Clothing, n.d.