How To Get Popcorn Butter Out Of Clothes

  • By: Tiffany Peris
  • Time to read: 12 min.

When watching a movie, buttered popcorn is just one of the best snacks to have with you. However, the butter can spill on your clothes, and if you are not careful, the stain could set in your garments. However, the good news is that you can get rid of popcorn butter from your clothes.

To remove fresh popcorn butter stains, hand wash the stain with dish soap and rinse the garment before washing the clothes in a washer. For old popcorn butter stains that have already dried and set in your clothes, you can treat the stain with baby powder, coarse salt, or baking soda before washing the clothes in the washer.

So what is popcorn butter, why does it stain clothes, and how can the stains be removed from the clothes? This article answers different questions about popcorn butter and explains clearly what you can do to remove the stains from your clothes.

What Is Popcorn Butter?

Despite the name butter, popcorn butter is not butter in reality. Instead, it is a mixture of chemicals that make the popcorn butter have a taste similar to butter.

According to My Recipes, the main ingredients of popcorn butter is hydrogenated soybean oil, a food color agent known as beta carotene and is orange in color, an artificial preservative that ensures that the color and texture does not change, known as tertiary Butylhydroquinone, a silicone-based chemical that prevents it from foaming known as polydimethylsiloxane, and a butter flavoring.

Even though manufacturers of the popcorn butter have failed to explicitly specify what makes popcorn butter have a similar flavor to butter, the manufacturers have admitted that there is no butter in the popcorn butter.

Thus, there is a high chance that the butter taste in the popcorn butter is from a chemical that has a similar taste to butter.

Some people have argued that the butter flavor in popcorn butter is derived from diacetyl. This substance has been reported to add a buttery taste to different food products when no real butter is used.

Does Popcorn Butter Stain Clothes?

Despite not having butter, popcorn butter has soybean oil which, even if not as greasy as other oils, is still greasy. It is this oil content, together with the food coloring, that causes stains when popcorn butter comes into contact with your clothes.

Since popcorn butter can stain clothes, the butter can stain any fabric, whether natural or synthetic. Indeed, over the years, popcorn butter has stained polyester, nylon, wool, cashmere, silk, and other materials. Likewise, upholstery, beddings, and even carpets are also been stained by popcorn butter.

Fats cause stains that resemble clear blotchy spots in the clothing, and these stains can require a lot of time to remove. Whether in movie theatres or your house, there is a high chance that your clothes might get stained with popcorn butter oil as you eat buttered popcorn.

Since you will inevitably have popcorn butter stains on your clothes, one of the best ways to easily remove the stains before they become a bother is to wash your clothes immediately after you have noticed the stains.

The lesser the period the stain has been on your garment, the easier it is to remove the stains. Immediately clothes are stained, the stain molecules are still on top of the fibers and thus easy to remove. However, as the stains set in on the fabric, it becomes tough to remove.

Thus, whenever you have a stain on your clothes, always do your best to remove the stain before it sets in the fabric.

Does Popcorn Butter Come Out Of Clothes?

When popcorn butter stains are effectively treated, they can be removed from the clothes. Like many butter stains, popcorn butter can leave behind a buttery stain on your clothes.

For an old stain, the stain will be challenging to remove since washing the stained clothes in the washer cannot remove the stains. However, you can use a commercial stain remover to treat the stain and successfully remove it.

An old popcorn butter stain that has already dried on your clothes will not be removed by only washing the stained clothes with water. Popcorn butter has oil that cannot dissolve in water, and for that reason, it will be impossible to remove butter stains with only water.

To effectively remove the stain, you will require to use a solvent that can dissolve oil, for instance, rubbing alcohol.

Substances that have high absorbencies, such as baking soda, talcum powder, and cornstarch, can also be used to remove the stain as they will absorb the moisture on the stain and absorb the stain-causing molecules.

Dish soap that is used to wash dirty utensils can be used to remove the stains because it is rich in various chemicals that can cut down the stain oil and fat molecules and thus make it easy for the stain to be washed away.

Stain Pre-Treatment

Before embarking on using any of the methods discussed in this article, you must do your best to ensure that you have removed any extra butter that could be on your fabric.

By removing the extra butter from your fabric, you will ensure that you have prevented the butter staining your garment from spreading to other parts of your garment.

Using a blunt object such as an old credit card, spoon, or spatula, gently scrub off the excess butter on your clothing. However, when scrubbing, be cautious that you don’t push in any of the butter since if you do that, the stain might become hard to remove.

If the stain is old and has set in, you should never wash the stain in the washer before treating it. If you wash the clothes with an old butter stain in the washer, the heat and agitation inside the washing machine will make the stain permanent, making it a challenge for you to remove the stain.

Here are the ten methods you can use to remove popcorn oil stains from your clothes. All the methods explained here can be used to remove popcorn butter from jeans, pants, shirts, sweatshirts, and all clothes, carpet, and upholstery.

How To Get Popcorn Butter Out Of Clothes – 10 Methods

1. Baby Powder or Talcum Powder

Baby powder is very good in absorbing moisture; hence, it ensures that babies remain dry even when they wet themselves. Unknown to some people, some baby powder brands have cornstarch in them.

Using baby powder to remove popcorn butter stains on clothes is a simple process as explained below.

1. Dispense a good amount of baby powder into the stain. Ensure that the stain is completely covered with the baby powder.

2. Allow the baby powder to sit in for a minimum of 12 hours – this is when the magic of absorbing the stain molecule will happen.

3. After 12 hours, remove baby powder from the stain by brushing it off, vacuuming it, or shaking it off.

4. Check the stain to see if it has been completely removed.

5. Repeat the process if needed.

2. Dish Soap

Every household uses dish soap to clean dishes and other utensils. Dish soap employs an emulsification procedure to interact with the butter and then lift the butter from the garment’s surface.

Dish soap is best to remove popcorn butter on clothes when the stains are still fresh. However, you can also use dish soap to remove an old stain since the dish soap can effectively cut through the butter and remove the stains.

This is how you can use dish soap to remove popcorn butter from clothes.

1. Apply a small amount of liquid dish soap to the stain.

2. Using your fingers or a soft bristle brush, gently scrub dish soap on top of the stain. If you don’t have a soft brush, you can use your toothbrush.

3. Continue to rub the soap into the stain until the butter is lifted off.

4. Rinse the stain with warm water.

5. Carefully inspect the spot that had the stain and confirm that the stain has been removed.

6. If the stain is not completely removed, repeat the stain removal process.

3. Cornstarch

Since cornstarch is good for absorbing, it can absorb popcorn butter out of clothes. Cornstarch can absorb butter effectively while requiring minimal scouring. Thus, cornstarch can be ideal for butter stains that are dried and have set it.

1. Apply a good layer of cornstarch on top of the popcorn butter stain.

2. Let the cornstarch sit in the stain for at least 10 hours – the more hours you allow the cornstarch to sit in the stain, the better. During this time, cornstarch will absorb the butter from your fabric.

3. Remove cornstarch from the fabric by vacuuming with a fabric vacuum cleaner, shaking it off, or brushing it.

4.  Check your garment to confirm that the stain has indeed been removed.

5.  Repeat the process if the stain is not entirely removed.

When using cornstarch to remove butter, you need to be patient. If you give cornstarch adequate time to work on the stain, the stain will be effectively removed.

This method is ideal when you have a stain in a delicate fabric since cornstarch will not damage your fabric.

4. Shampoo

If you don’t have dish soap or don’t want to use dish soap to remove the stains, you can use shampoo since it removes the stain similar to dish soap.

Even if shampoo will be milder than dish soap, it has the same effect on the popcorn butter as dish soap. Shampoo removes oils and fats that accumulate in your hair. Thus, shampoo can loosen and remove popcorn butter stains from your clothes.

To avoid color issues and having a shampoo scent on your clothes after the stain has been removed, use a shampoo that does not have any fragrances and has minimal added colors.

1. Apply a small amount (about a teaspoon) of shampoo on the stain.

2. Use a soft bristle brush to scrub dish soap on top of the stain lightly – you can use your fingers or an old toothbrush.

3. Rub the shampoo into the stain until you see that butter is lifted from the garment’s fabric.

4. Rinse shampoo with warm water.

5. Carefully inspect the spot that had the stain and confirm that the stain has been removed.

6. If the stain is not completely removed, repeat the stain removal process.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda will absorb popcorn butter stain and get it out of your clothes similar to cornstarch or talcum powder. However, this method should mainly be used when the stain is still fresh.

As an alkaline substance, a chemical reaction ensues when baking soda comes into contact with the butter stain. In this reaction, the stains are loosened, and baking soda absorbs the oil.

Since baking soda is good for absorbing odor, it will also help absorb any popcorn butter stain on your clothes.

1. Apply a good amount of baking soda to cover the stain by baking soda fully.

2. Leave the baking soda to sit in the stain for a maximum of 3 hours.

3. After 3 hours, brush off the powder or vacuum it with a fabric vacuum cleaner.

4. Wash your garment in a normal washing machine setting.

5. Check the garment to confirm that the stain is entirely removed.

6. Repeat the process if necessary.

To ensure that baking soda effectively removes a dry popcorn butter stain, sprinkle white vinegar on the stain to refresh it. After that, apply powder on the stain and let it work on the stain.

6. Chemical Stain Removers

Chemical stain removers widely available in different retail shops can also remove popcorn stains from clothes. However, there is a high chance that you might not be having a chemical stain remover in your house.

One of the best chemical stan removers entails stain remover pens. The pen has different chemicals that will cut through the butter stain and remove even the most stubborn stains from your clothes.

When using chemical stain removers, you need to be cautious since the stain removers might damage delicate fabrics. However, chemical stain removers would work fine for polyester, denim, corduroy, silk, cashmere, and other fabrics.

Different chemical stain removers have different procedures. It is thus essential that you read the instructions on the chemical stain remover and follow them as specified by the manufacturer of the remover.

7. Vinegar

When using vinegar to remove popcorn butter from clothes, the acetic acid in vinegar eats through the butter, and as such, you don’t need to spend a lot of time scrubbing or waiting for vinegar to remove the stains.

Even though different types of vinegar are available, white vinegar is always the best to remove stains. Indeed, since white vinegar is colorless, you don’t have to worry about any dyes being left on your fabric after the stain has been removed.

When using vinegar, you have to wash your clothing after treating the stain so that vinegar odor will be removed in the wash.

1. Mix water and white vinegar in equal parts.

2. Use your hands to stir the mixture so that water and vinegar are well mixed.

3. Plunge the stained clothing in the solution of water and vinegar. Ensure that the cloth’s stained part is fully immersed in the water.

4. Allow the stain to soak in the water and vinegar solution for 30 minutes.

5. After 30 minutes, remove the garment from the solution and use a soft bristle brush to scrub the stain.

6. Rinse the garment with warm running water.

7. Wash the clothing in a washer using a regular washing cycle.

8. Check the garment to confirm that stain is removed.  

9. If needed, repeat the process.

8. White Chalk

Since chalk is absorbent, it can remove butter from clothes by absorbing moisture. However, chalk works best in fresh stains. If your stain is old or dry, you can spray the stain with vinegar to refresh it and also make it possible to remove stains from the chalk. 

1. Place your stained garment on a flat surface. Floor, craft table, or iron board are ideal flat surfaces.

2. Use chalk to rub across the stain lightly.

3. Allow the chalk to set in the stain for 10 minutes.

4. Brush or shake off the chalk on the garment.

5. Confirm that the stain has been removed.

6. Repeat the process if some stains are still there.  

5. Wash the clothing and air dry.

9. Ordinary Bar Soap

Before using bar soap to remove popcorn butter stains, read the care label to ensure that your clothing is not made from fragile fabrics that can be damaged by bar soap.

Since there are different types of bar soap, the best soap to remove butter stain is a soap that has no fragrance or color. When the soap comes into contact with the stain, it bursts the bubble of the fabric’s fibers tension making it easy for water to go through the fibers and remove the stains.

1. Place your garment on a flat surface.

2. Take your bar soap and gently rub it on the stain till the soap fully covers the stain.

3. Soak a towel or soft sponge in warm water.

4. Use the towel or sponge to scrub the soap on the stain until you have foam.

5. Use warm water to rinse.

6. Check to see that the stain is entirely removed. If not, repeat the process.

7. Wash the clothes.

10. Rubbing Alcohol And Bar Soap

Rubbing alcohol is very good in getting rid of popcorn butter stains from clothes. However, caution has to be exercised since rubbing alcohol can discolor the fabric.

To avoid damaging your fabric with rubbing alcohol, spot test it in a tiny section of your clothing.

When butter stains come into contact with rubbing alcohol, the butter will be broken down, making it easy to wash away the stains.

1. Soak a towel or soft sponge in rubbing alcohol.

2. Using the towel or sponge soaked with rubbing alcohol, apply alcohol onto the stain.

3. Let the alcohol sit in the stain for 10 minutes to break down the butter.

4. Rub bar soap lightly on the stain using a sponge, toothbrush, or your fingers.

5. Wash the clothing in the washer. If you prefer to handwash the clothing, you can hand wash the clothes.

6. Air dry and check to confirm that stain is removed.

7.  Repeat if necessary.

Never dry clothes with stains in the dryer

After removing the stain and washing the clothes, you should never dry the clothes in the dryer unless you are confident that the stains have been removed.

If you use a dryer to dry clothes when the stains are still there, the stains will become permanent and almost impossible to remove.


Popcorn butter stains might initially appear hard to remove. However, you can use any of the ten methods discussed in the article to remove the stains.

If you don’t want to struggle to remove popcorn butter stains, wash the stain with dish soap or laundry detergent immediately they get stained.

Once the stain has set in on your fabric, the only way to remove the stains will be by using any of the ten methods discussed in the article.