How to Remove and Treat Greasy Food Stains from Clothes

How to Remove and Treat Greasy Food Stains from Clothes

When it comes to stains, food is the greatest offender. Eating is an activity that’s often served with distractions: chatting with family members, driving, while watching TV. It’s easy for an errant chip to land on your lap, for an elbow to spill a full glass or a morsel to drop from a fork. Unless you’re noshing on leafy greens or non-fat dairy, practically all prepared foods contain some sort of oil. That means a good deal of the food stains that end up on our clothes will be greasy ones. Oil-based food stains can be tricky (though not impossible) to treat, but if you act with urgency and blot while still fresh, most garments should survive their grease stain.

Which types of foods create greasy stains?

When we refer to greasy food stains, typically what we’re seeing is the oily residue that cooking oils (like olive, vegetable and nut) leave behind. These ingredients show up in things like sauces, marinades, salad dressings, vinaigrettes, dips, meat and vegetables that have been roasted or pan-fried with oil, deep-fried entrées and snacks, like chips, crackers and pastries.

What you'll need to treat stains caused by greasy food

  • A blunt scraping tool (a dull knife, spatula, credit card, etc.)
  • Running water / a sink
  • Paper towel or a clean, absorbent cloth
  • An absorbent powder like baking soda or cornstarch
  • Tru Earth laundry detergent eco-strips

How to remove stains caused by greasy foods in 7 easy steps

Step 1: Identify the fabric type

Inspect the fabric care label to note the delicacy of the textile and how it should be laundered.

Note: The following stain guide is for items that can be machine laundered or hand washed. For vintage or dry clean-only clothing, complete steps two and three, then immediately bring to a professional dry cleaner.

Step 2: Remove any excess food debris

Using a blunt tool (like a butter knife or credit card), lift any excess bits of food from the fabric, taking special care not to spread or transfer them to other parts of the item – which could create further stains.

Step 3: Sprinkle the greasy stain with an absorbent powder

Shake a generous amount of baking soda, cornstarch or talcum atop the stain. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes. The powder will absorb any lingering grease and cause the granules to glob into small clumps. Discard the clumps and shake the item out. If traces of grease still linger, repeat this step once again.

If desired, blot the stain site with an absorbent paper towel or clean cloth.

Step 4: Apply a concentrated pre-wash stain treatment using Tru Earth.

Tear a strip of Tru Earth into small pieces and place in a shallow bowl. Add one tablespoon (15ml) of tap-hot water to begin dissolving it. Stir with a spoon to form a paste, adding small volumes of water as needed. Smear the concentrate atop the stain, gently pressing the mixture into it to allow the surfactant to get to work, releasing the residues from the fabric.

Allow the concentrate to sit for 10-15 minutes. If needed, use a soft-bristled brush to agitate the stain, working from the outside edge, toward the centre. Rinse.

Step 5: Time to wash

If the garment is machine-washable, toss it in the washer alongside a Tru Earth laundry detergent eco-strip on its typical wash setting.

For hand wash-only items, tear up the strip, place the pieces in a sink or basin and cover with cool or warm water, but not hot. Allow it to soak and then agitate the article and rinse.

Step 6: Hang dry

Only place the garment in the dryer once you are finished stain treating; the heat of the machine will “set” any remaining stains, making them permanent.

Step 7: Inspect the stain

Has it resolved? If not, repeat the stain treatment in step four and launder again.

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