How to remove salad dressing stains from clothing and other fabrics

If you are a salad lover, you know that salad dressings can leave behind unsightly and annoying stains on your clothes, carpets, and upholstery. Depending on the salad dressing’s ingredients, the stains they produce can be dye-based, tannin-based, or protein-based. Of course, all those different stains require a variety of approaches. However, one thing is for sure, they all contain oil. That makes creamy dressings slightly easier to remove than heavy oily vinaigrettes. Whatever the stain is, you will most likely be able to get rid of it by simply using common household items that are usually found in every pantry or kitchen cupboard. Make sure to never put your clothes in the dryer since the high heat may cause the stains to set, become harder to remove, or even permanent.

You probably know that all stains are best treated as soon as possible. By doing that, you will get better chances of stain removal success. Do not rub the stain immediately. That will cause it to set in deeper into the fabric fibres. Always check the care label of the garment you are washing and test the product or method you chose in an inconspicuous area. That way you will be able to avoid damage or discolouration. Knowing the specific needs of a particular fabric will help you pick the best solution that will help you properly remove the stain. If you are working with older or dryer stains, you may need to repeat the steps of the cleaning method several times in order to succeed.

Cleaning salad dressing stains from clothing

1. Remove excess – Remove any solid matter that resides on the fabric. You can use a spoon, butter knife, or the edge of a credit card. That is especially important when treating creamy dressings. Then, grab a paper towel and blot at the stained area to absorb excess oil.
2. Powder power – Sprinkle cornstarch, baby powder, baking soda, or salt all over the stained area. All of those will further absorb any embedded oils from the fibres of the fabric. Allow your powder of choice to remain on the stain for about 15-20 minutes before brushing it away.
3. Apply cleaning solution – You can apply any solvent-based stain remover. You can also use heavy-duty laundry detergent. Apply the product on the stain, and gently rub it in with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. If you only have powdered detergents, make a paste by mixing them with a bit of water. Using detergent with enough enzymes is of crucial importance when it comes to stain removal.
4. Let it sit – Allow the product to sit on the stained area for 15-30 minutes. That is enough time for the enzymes to break down the oils in the stain. When done, wash the garment using the hottest setting suitable for the particular fabric. You can also stretch the stained area over a bowl and place it under running hot water. The stream will push the stain out of the fabric fibres.
5. Inspect, then dry – Always check if the stain is completely gone before throwing the garment in the dryer. If the stain remains, repeat the steps above. The high heat of the dryer will cause the stain to set in and make it difficult to remove.

Cleaning salad dressing stains from carpets and upholstery

When cleaning such stains from carpets or upholstery, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Firstly, you can use the same method for both, however, you should be careful not to oversaturate the fabric of the upholstery. Excess moisture will end up trapped in the furniture’s cushions and cause mould and mildew growth.
1. Remove excess – Use a dull knife or a plastic scraper to remove any solids that remain on the surface of the carpet/upholstery.
2. Sprinkle powder – Sprinkle cornstarch, baking soda, salt, or baby powder all over the stain. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes. The powder will absorb oils. When done, brush it away or vacuum it to remove it from your carpet/upholstery.
3. Apply the cleaning solution – Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent, 2 cups of hot water, and 1 tablespoon of household ammonia. Blot the stain with a sponge or a soft cloth, dipped in the solution. Keep doing that until the stain is gone, then use paper towels or a clean dry cloth to absorb the excess moisture.
4. Rinse – Rinse with a cloth or a clean sponge dipped in plain water in order to get rid of any soapy residue left on the fabric. Make sure you get rid of all of it since any soap left in the fibres will attract soil in the future.

If you are trying to clean any vintage, silk, or fragile fabrics, as well as pieces labelled as dry cleaning only, it is best to call a professional. Make sure you do not attempt anything on your own since damage is likely to occur.