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How To Get Grease Out Of Clothes – The Best Way to Remove Grease from Fabric

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Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or a mishap from your latest backyard party, you’ve got a grease stain on your favorite outfit.

Does there always seem to be a stain problem somewhere in your house? No worries! I’ve got the answer to how to get grease out of clothes.

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Follow These Steps for How to Get Grease Out of Clothes

What you do first about the oil stains or grease on your clothing will often determine the results you get.

The most important step is to treat the greasy stains right away. However, be sure to check the garment label first in case it’s a dry cleaning or hand wash only item. Items for the dry cleaner should be brought to them as soon as possible and pointed out to the clerk.

Avoid the instinct to use water. Oily stains and water don’t mix. Besides, by adding water it will be more difficult to focus on just the spot once the water creates a larger wet spot.

First, you want to remove as much grease, like butter or bacon grease carefully without spreading it further. Don’t forget, once you remove the article of clothing, the grease can spread to other parts of the fabric, like shirt sleeves or backs of pants, so don’t lay it down.

Use a cloth towel, folded paper towel, or even a piece of cardboard behind the spot to prevent it from spreading to the opposite side of the clothing.

Next, apply baking soda to the stained area. If you don’t have baking soda, you can use corn starch. The baking soda will soak up the oils. Don’t rub, just pat against the baking soda absorbing as much as you can. Leave for 10 minutes. If the spot is sizeable and the baking soda becomes discolored, scrape off the baking soda and add a bit more, repeating as necessary.

After 10 minutes, scrape off the remaining baking soda.

For the next step, use dishwashing liquid with a super grease-fighting formula. The best options are using liquid dish soap, like Original Blue Dawn, or shampoo, since it’s designed to remove grease from hair.

Apply, a small amount of dish detergent or shampoo to the grease spot. Rub it in a circular motion.

Leave the soap on the stain for 5 minutes, then launder as usual with laundry detergent. If you aren’t doing another load of laundry, you can choose to hand soak the item in cold water, until you are ready.

Once the washing machine cycle has been completed, I recommend air drying the item. Tough stains may persist. You can’t always tell if the spot is gone when the clothing is still wet. Placing clothes into the dryer before removing the stain will only set the stain and cause it to become more difficult to remove.

If the grease stain is still present, complete the steps again. For stubborn stains, you may need to purchase a commercial stain remover. Be sure your garment will not be harmed by testing an inconspicuous area first. I have found some stain sprays to cause stains of their own, especially on white garments.

To recap, these simple steps are the best way how to get grease out of clothes:

  1. Treat as soon as possible
  2. Remove excess oil or grease
  3. Use baking soda, cornstarch or baby powder to soak up oils
  4. Use a de-greasing soap like Dawn or shampoo
  5. Launder or hand wash the item with liquid detergent
  6. Air dry to avoid setting the stain
  7. Repeat if necessary

How To Get Grease Out Of Clothes That Have Been Dried

how to get grease out of clothes

Oh, no! I hate when you didn’t realize you got something on your clothes until much later. Or worse after it’s already gone through the dryer. Getting old grease stains out takes a little more work if they’ve dried and set in.

Use the stain removal methods above using a degreasing dish detergent. It must be petroleum-based, like Dawn. You can also use the wonder stain removing soap, Fels Naptha. My grandmother swore by it. She scrubbed all cuffs and collars before EVERY wash. Her clothes were always immaculate and lasted for years.

Since the stain has already been through the dryer it may not work, however, the good news is you have nothing to lose. I usually am careful when using a scrub brush or toothbrush on fabrics because they can pull and cause a change to the fabric fibers. Sometimes a sprinkle of salt can give you just enough grit to the affected area to be helpful in the stain removal process.

However, for grease spots on jeans or as a last resort on an item that would be ruined otherwise, scrubbing a bit harder may get the job done.

How to Get Grease Out of Clothes When Not Home?

Let’s face it, mishaps don’t always happen at home. If this happens, use a clean white cloth or dry paper towel to gently dab the spot and soak up as much of it as you can until you get home. Then follow the steps above for the best results.

It’s a good idea to carry a stain stick for emergencies. Stains that to-go sticks work best on include ketchup, BBQ sauce, grape juice, tomato sauce, coffee, soda, chocolate stains, tea, and red wine. They don’t perform as well on non-food and drink stains, including ink, grease, blood, and grass stains.

I have also had exceptionally good results using baby wipes for food stains, though not always for grease.

How to Avoid Getting Grease on Your Clothes

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Of course no one wants to have spots on their clothes. The best way to avoid having to figure out how to get grease out of clothes is to keep it from happening. Often that’s easier said than done. Chances are you won’t be wearing a bib at dinner any time soon. But here are a few ways to help.

  • When cooking, wear an apron. It may seem old fashioned, but it works so well. Both my grandma and great grandma had an extensive apron collection. When I’m going to cook something super messy, I take out one of theirs and I’m usually glad I did.
  • Another alternative is to change into “house clothes” before cooking. Again, seems silly but it works too.
  • When eating, keep plenty of napkins handy, and like the manners most of us were taught, cover your lap with one.
  • Having a dish towel on your lap can also work wonders. If you’re home alone, or just don’t care, placing one tucked into your collar isn’t a terrible idea if eating something really messy or you just have a knack for dropping food onto yourself.
  • When working with grease around the house such as bike grease or greasing a vehicle, a towel, or even baby wipes are really helpful. My husband, a truck driver, keeps them in his truck for just such occasions.
  • Clean up right after working with grease to be sure you don’t transfer any from your hands to your clothes, carpeting or furniture. This soap is great for getting grease off your hands. Made with orange oil, a natural degreaser.

So there you have it, I hope my ideas for how to get grease out of clothes works for you. Sometimes even with your best efforts it just isn’t going to happen. Hopefully, you can catch the next one in time.

What’s your favorite go to stain removing trick for how to get grease out of clothes? Let me know in the comments.


How do you get dried grease out of clothes?

Remove any excess grease using a paper towel or clean cloth. Cover stain with baking soda or cornstarch to absorb the oils. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Scrape away baking soda. Rub a grease fighting soap like Dawn or shampoo gently into the stain. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, or even overnight. Wash item as usual. Air dry. Inspect for stain. Repeat if necessary.

What is the fastest way to get grease out of clothes?

Address the spot as soon as possible. Try spraying the spot with hairspray. Let sit for 30 minutes, then wash according to the fabric instructions. Air dry and inspect the spot. Using a dryer can set the stain.

Can you remove a grease stain after drying?

Removing a stain after drying is difficult but not always impossible. Treat the spot with a grease-fighting dishwashing liquid. Wash according to fabric instructions or hand wash. Air dry. Tough spots may require an organic enzyme cleaner

Will vinegar remove grease from clothes?

If the fabric is safe for vinegar, soak the stain with a mix of one part water and one part white vinegar. Add some baking soda and rub the solution into the fabric. 

Does WD 40 remove oil clothes?

While the solvent will remove the grease, it may leave a stain of it’s own. Be sure to test on fabric first. However, this solution can be tried when all else fails.

More household hassles:

how to get grease out of clothes

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