It figures—you're indulging in a crispy, delicious piece of fried chicken, and you drop it. It hits the arm of your favorite upholstered chair and your pants before landing on the carpet. Greasy stains mark every fabric the drumstick hit.
Is the situation hopeless? Not at all! Fried chicken and other oily foods are notorious stain-makers, but all traces can usually be removed with these simple steps that apply to clothing, furniture, and carpet.
|Stain Type||Fried food|
|Detergent Type||Heavy duty|
|Water Temperature||Cold, warm, and/or hot|
Before You Begin
When any type of fried food lands on clothes or other fabrics, never rub or wipe the stain because that will only push it deeper into the fibers. Instead, grab a dull knife or a spoon and head to the laundry room to start the stain removal process.
When to Call a Professional
If your stained upholstery is silk or vintage, sprinkle with cornstarch and call a professional before attempting to remove the stain.
Equipment / Tools
- Butter knife or spoon
- Soft bristle brush or old toothbrush
- Paper towels, a clean cloth, or a slice of bread
- Cornstarch or baking soda
- Solvent-based spray, gel stain remover, or heavy-duty liquid detergent
- Dry cleaning solvent
- Household ammonia
How to Remove Fried Food Stains from Machine-Washable Clothes
Scoop, Sprinkle, and Wait
Scoop away any solid matter gently with the edge of a dull knife or spoon. Next, sprinkle the stain liberally with some cornstarch or baking soda to absorb as much of the oil as possible. Leave it on the stain for about fifteen minutes so the powder can absorb the oil before you brush it away.
Pre-treat the Stain
Pre-treat the stain with a solvent-based spray or gel stain remover like Zout or Shout. If you don't have a solvent-based stain remover, apply a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent directly onto the stain and work it in by gently rubbing the fabric together with your fingers or using an old soft toothbrush. If you only have powdered detergent, make a paste with a bit of warm water and apply it to the stain.
Wait While it Works
Be patient and allow the stain remover to work on the stain for at least 15 minutes, 30 minutes if possible. This will allow the chemicals to break apart the oil molecules making them easier to flush out of the fabric fibers.
Rinse Synthetics in a Sink
If the fabric is made of a synthetic fiber like polyester that wouldn't normally be washed in hot water, stretch the pretreated stained area of the fabric over a bowl and pour a steady stream of hot water directly onto the stain.
Wash as Usual
Wash the garment as usual in the hottest water recommended for the fabric along with the recommended amount of detergent for a regular load of laundry.
Inspect and Repeat if Needed
Inspect the stained area of the garment before drying and repeat the treatment if necessary. Never place an oil-stained garment in a dryer, the high heat will make the oil even more difficult to remove. Repeat the cleaning steps if necessary.
How to Remove Fried Food Stains from Dry Clean Only Clothes
Lift, Blot, and Sprinkle
Use a dull knife or spoon edge to lift away any greasy solids. Blot away as much of the oil as possible with a dry paper towel, a cloth, or even a slice of white bread. Sprinkle the stain with cornstarch or baking soda, wait 15 minutes, then dust away.
Take it to the Cleaner
As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.
How to Remove Fried Food Stains From Carpet and Upholstery
Lift, Sprinkle, and Vacuum
Lift away any fried food from the carpet fibers using a dull knife. Do not rub because it will only push the oil deeper into the carpet and make the stain larger. Sprinkle the stain with cornstarch or baking soda and use a soft bristle brush to work the powder into the carpet. Allow the absorbing powder to sit on the stain for at least 15 minutes and then vacuum.
Following the product instructions, blot the stain with a dry cleaning solvent using a clean cloth or paper towel. Keep blotting until no more oil is transferred from the carpet to the cloth.
Rub (Gently) and Dry
If you do not have a dry cleaning solvent or carpet cleaning product, mix one tablespoon of hand dishwashing detergent in two cups of hot water and one tablespoon of household ammonia. Rub the stain with a sponge or soft-bristled brush dipped in the cleaning solution and then with a dry paper towel until the stain is removed.
Rinse and Repeat if Needed
Be sure to "rinse" the area with a cloth dipped in plain water to remove any soapy residue that will attract more soil. Repeat the cleaning steps until no more stain remains.
Additional Tips for Handling Fried Food Stains
If you're unsatisfied with your initial stain removal results, try running through the steps again. While some deeply pigmented foods can leave permanent stains, grease and oil can generally be eliminated in time.