Getting Rid of Gravy Stains

The top stain problem during the holiday season at our house aside from red wine is gravy. With all of the extra precautions, such as a drip tray under the gravy boat, there are always errant drops of gravy left behind on the tablecloth or your clothing.

If your tablecloth (or shirt) can be washed in warm water, then you will probably have no trouble removing the stain, as long as you do not wait to put it in the wash.

Because gravy contains fat and grease, you will need the help of a dishwashing liquid that breaks down these types of products. Dawn dishwashing detergent is a popular example.

You will need to work from the wrong side of the fabric, or underside, so that you continue to push the grease away from the fabric, instead of rubbing it into the fibers any further. Take a few drops of the dishwashing detergent and apply it to the back-side of the stain and rub it in gently. If you have a soft toothbrush, brush gently to work it in – otherwise your fingers will do fine.

While you are treating all of the gravy spots with the dishwashing detergent, start filling your washer with the warmest water allowable for the fabric (check care label). When it is about half way full, add the stained item along with a little bit of grease fighting detergent (like Simple Green or Tide) – and do not use fabric softener.

The stains should be completely gone when the wash is complete. Line-dry the item if you are not sure and if any stains remain, re-treat the areas with a grease fighting stain remover. Never put the tablecloth or clothing in the dryer unless you are sure that the stain is completely gone. Remember, as with any stain – time is of the essence - if you are quick to treat them, then you should have no problems getting rid of gravy stains completely.