How to Remove Gravy Stains from Clothes Linens Carpet

gravy stains
Paul Poplis/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Gravy is good and can cover up lots of cooking mistakes. Well, it's good except when it drops on your shirt or best tablecloth and causes a stain! 

How to Remove Gravy Stains from Washable Fabrics

Most gravies cause an oily stain that can usually be removed easily. First, use a dull knife or spoon or the edge of a credit card to lift off any solid bits from the surface of the fabric. Do not rub the stain with a cloth because that will push the stain deeper into the fabric making it much harder to remove.

Treat the stained area with a solvent-based stain remover spray or gel like Zout or Shout or Spray 'n Wash. If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent (Tide or Persil are leading brands) to treat the stain. Scrub the stain lightly with a soft bristled brush and rinse in hot water. Next, wash in the hottest water suitable for the fabric using detergent and an all-fabric bleach to remove any discoloration.These detergents contain enough enzymes to remove the oily component . Less expensive brands may not work as well.

Allow the stain remover or detergent to sit on the fabric at least fifteen minutes to begin dissolving the oily stain. Next, wash the garment or table linen in the hottest water recommended for the fabric on the care label. Check the stained area before drying. If the stain is not gone, repeat the process. If it is still stained, drying the item on high heat will make the oil even more difficult to remove.

How to Remove Gravy Stains from Dry Clean Only Fabrics

If the fabric is labeled as dry clean only, the first step is to lift away as much of the gravy as possible with a dull knife or spoon. Do not rub! You can spot clean a tie or jacket with a dry cleaning solvent. Always test the solvent on an inside seam to be sure it will not fade the fabric and follow product label directions.

 

The best choice for most gravy stained dry clean only garments is to point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner as soon as possible. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

How to Remove Gravy Stains from Carpet and Upholstery

To remove gravy stains from carpet, lift as much of the solids away from the fibers as possible using a dull knife. Do not rub because it will only push the oil component deeper into the fibers and make the stain larger.

Sprinkle the stain with cornstarch, baking soda or talcum powder to absorb the oil. Use a soft bristle brush to work it slightly into the carpet. Allow the powder to sit on the stain for at least fifteen minutes. Use a vacuum to remove the powder. 

Blot the stain with a dry cleaning solvent following the product instructions. Use a clean white cloth or paper towel. Keep blotting until no more oil is transferred from the carpet to the cloth.

If you do not have a dry cleaning solvent or carpet cleaning product, mix one tablespoon of hand dishwashing detergent in two cups hot water. Add one tablespoon household ammonia. Blot the stain with a sponge dipped in the cleaning solution then with a dry paper towel until the stain is removed.

 

Be sure to "rinse" the area with a cloth dipped in plain water to remove any soapy residue that will actually attract more soil. Allow the area to air dry and then vacuum well to lift the carpet fibers.

The same cleaning techniques and products recommended for carpet can be used to remove gravy stains from upholstery. If you use the wet cleaning steps, be careful not to overwet the fabric because excess moisture in the cushions can cause a problem. 

If the upholstery is silk or vintage, sprinkle with cornstarch and call a professional before attempting to remove the stain.

For more stain removal tips: Stain Removal A to Z