Grease stains from food and snacks are simple to remove if you understand the basics of stain removal. The first law of stain removal is to treat the grease spot immediately, if possible. As it dries, it will become a little more difficult to remove but not impossible. The second law is to never wash and dry the article before the stain is removed or it may become permanent as the heat will bake it into the fibres.

Prevention is the best course of action. Limiting greasy foods in the living room, such as buttered popcorn and olive oil salads, will mean fewer clean-ups. On movie night, a sheet cover on the sofa will help catch accidental wipes of the hand or splashes. Clothing can be protected by eating carefully and using a bib when things get really messy.

If the stain is fresh, wipe and blot the excess with a paper towel. Try not to rub the towel on the fabric as that may drive the oil deeper. The next step is to soak up the fat with baking soda or corn starch. The moisture will travel from the fabric to the dry powder taking much of the staining oils with it. For upholstery, thoroughly vacuum the powder from the fabric. If the piece is a garment or delicate, you may want to stop at this point and take it to an experienced Collingwood dry cleaner to finish.

If the fabric is more durable then you can go to the next step, which is to use detergent or oxygen bleach. Don’t use either of these methods on upholstery you cannot remove. However, if your sofa has removable upholstery, you may want to try these next steps. If not, and if the first-aid treatment has not worked, do not apply anything else and call in the professionals.

If the stain is still visible on upholstery, you may want to try denatured alcohol. Using a cotton ball or other similar applicator, dab enough alcohol on the surface to wet it. Blot it gently with a clean white cloth or paper towel. Repeat if necessary.

Oxygen bleach is a powerful degreaser made from sodium percarbonate which, when mixed with water, becomes hydrogen peroxide and soda ash. Apply dish detergent (no water) to the grease stain and let it soak for 10 minutes. Rinse the spot in very hot water. Next add a suitable amount of Oxyclean (or generic brand) oxygen bleach to very hot or boiled water. Soak the spot in a shallow container of the oxy and water solution for about 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly under hot running water.

The third law of stain removal is to air dry the piece until you are satisfied the stain is completely gone. Allow it to air dry completely. Repeat the process if the stain is still visible. Do not allow the fabric to dry without rinsing because the oxygen bleach will fade the fabric. As with all cleaning solutions and home remedies, be sure to test for colour-fastness on an inconspicuous area.

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