Substances used as absorbents "soak up" stains, especially grease stains. Materials used as absorbents include baking soda, cornstarch, cornmeal (usually considered the best for lighter colors), white talcum powder, or fuller's earth (best for use on darker colors, available at pharmacies and garden supply stores).
Absorbents are used on light or new stains; they will damage neither fabrics nor other surfaces and they are easy to use. The absorbent material is spread on the stained area and allowed to work. As the grease is soaked up, the absorbent material will cake or become gummy. It should then be shaken or brushed off. The process should be repeated until most of the stain has been removed. Some light stains may be completely removed if the absorbent is left on for 8 hours or more.
Learn about types of bleaches you can use as stain removers in the next section.