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How to Remove Grease Stains from Clothing & Fabric

May 29, 2023

Making yourself a sandwich but accidentally got mayonnaise on your shirt? Or maybe you splattered some cooking oil on yourself?

Don’t worry, the stains will come off- it is possible to remove grease stains from clothing. It’ll take a bit of effort on your part but it’s definitely possible—so don’t throw away that shirt just yet!

Generally speaking, fresh stains are much easier to deal with than those that have dried and set into the fabric.

That’s why it’s so important to address them as soon as possible; you don’t want to wait around for the stain to soak in.

Whatever you do, though, you don’t want to scrub at the stain. That’ll fray the fibers, which will allow the spot to penetrate even deeper. Not only that but it can also spread the stain, which is the last thing that you want.

What products should you use? A commercial stain remover? Liquid dish soap? Dish detergent? What about Dawn dish soap? For the answers, be sure to keep reading. We’ll be going over how to remove grease stains in detail below!

How to Remove Old Grease Stains From Clothing – Things to Consider

How to remove grease stains from clothing

Before you do anything, check the clothing label. It’ll have a bunch of symbols that’ll tell you exactly what you can and can’t do with the garment.

For example, some delicate items may be dry-cleaned only. In other words, you’ll have to be extra careful when dealing with the stain.

Certain fabrics, such as cashmere, leather, and suede, are also trickier to deal with. For clothes made of those materials, it’s best to send them to the dry cleaners; it’s just not worth trying to do it yourself.

For most other materials, however, you can safely treat the grease stain at home. In fact, there are several ways that you can go about it, which we’ll be going over in detail below.

How to Remove Grease From Clothes Using Baking Soda or Cornstarch

Baking soda and cornstarch can be used to remove grease stains. Here’s how.

Step 1: Remove the excess oil

Using a butter knife, gently scrape off the excess grease. Lay the item flat and place an old towel or piece of cardboard underneath the stain- that will prevent it from transferring onto other parts of the fabric.

Step 2: Add Baking Soda or Cornstarch to the Stain

Assuming that the stain is fresh, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda or cornstarch on top of the grease. For the best results, gently rub the powder into the stain using a soft-bristled brush. Be careful not to damage the fabric.

Depending on the size of the stain, you may notice the powder changing color- that’s due to it absorbing the grease.

If that’s the case, you’ll want to scrape off the first layer of powder and apply more. Repeat until the powder is no longer turning brown.

Step 3: Let the Powder Sit on the Garment and Rinse

Gently rub the powder into the stain again and let it sit on the fabric for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse the stained area with clean water afterward. If the stain is gone, you can wash the item as you normally would.

Tip: Baby powder is a great alternative if you don’t have baking soda or cornstarch.

How to Remove a Grease Stain From Fabric – Vinegar and Baking Soda Method

how to get grease stains our of fabricVinegar is a natural degreaser and can be used to get stains out of your clothes. If anything, you just have to make sure it won’t react to the fabric. To find out, simply dab a small amount onto an inconspicuous area.

Step 1: Soak the Stain in Vinegar

Assuming that it’s compatible with the fabric, you want to soak the stain in a vinegar-water mixture. To do that, fill a sink or tub with water and mix one part white vinegar with one part water (warm or hot water will do)

Step 2: Add Baking Soda to the Stain and Rinse Afterward

Sprinkle baking soda to the grease stains and gently rub it into the fabric with your finger or an old toothbrush. The vinegar will help break down the grease while the baking soda will lift it away.

Ideally, you want to leave the paste on the stain for at least 15 to 20 minutes. From there, you can rinse it off with cool water. Assuming that the stain is gone, you can launder the item as normal.

If the stain remains after cleaning, repeat the steps again.

Best Option: Remove Set-In Grease Stains From Clothes With ACTIVE Laundry Detergent

best detergent for grease stainsDIY methods with baking soda and vinegar may not cut it for some grease stains. In cases like that, you’ll want to use an enzyme-based detergent to pre-treat the stain and ACTIVE Detergent is perfect for the job.

Step 1: Create a Detergent Mixture

Start by filling a small bowl with cool water. Pour in a small amount of ACTIVE Detergent and stir it a couple of times to help dissolve the powder. You should end up with a soapy mixture.

Step 2: Scrape Away the Excess Grease

Gently scrape away as much of the grease as possible with a butter knife. Next, blot the area with a clean paper towel.

Step 3: Apply the Detergent Mixture to the Garment

Apply a few drops of the detergent solution to the stain. Using an old toothbrush, gently rub it into the fabric and let it soak for 10 minutes. The enzymes will help break down and remove the grease stain.

Step 4: Rinse the Item with Clean Water

After soaking, rinse the stained area under the faucet with clean water. You can launder the item like you normally would if the stain is gone. Air dry the item after washing.

Removing Grease Stains

And there you have it – a guide on how to remove oil stains! As you can see, there are several options when it comes to dealing with greasy food splatters – from dishwashing liquid (e.g. Dawn dish soap) to baking soda.

The best option for oily stains, however, is ACTIVE Detergent. It works on set-in stains and will get rid of any excess oil that’s on the fabric, as well as dirt and grime.

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Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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