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Removing Grease (Oil) Stains from Clothing

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Woman removing a Grease stain.

Grease or oil stains can be difficult to remove from clothing. This is a guide about removing grease (oil) stains from clothing.


Solutions: Removing Grease (Oil) Stains from Clothing

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Lestoil For Stains

I went on this website to get ideas for removing dry-erase marker stains from clothing as my son comes home from Pre-K frequently with these stains. After trying a few of the suggested solutions and still having a visible stain, I remembered that my mom used to use Lestoil heavy-duty cleaner to remove tough stains from clothes when I was a kid. The product is still around today, and works to remove various tough stains from clothes, including grease and tar. I tried it on the dry-erase marker stain and it worked! I was so relieved as the shirt that was stained was a designer shirt. I just had to share this great tip with any other stressed-out parents dealing with dry-erase marker stains I wish they still used chalkboards in school!

By Kate from Cape May, NJ

Tip: Removing Tar and Grease from Clothing

For removing tar and grease from clothing, I first use some WD-40 and work it into the spot until it starts to break down. Then I use some cream-type hand cleaner (available at an auto-parts store) and rub that into the remaining spot. Then, if needed, I use a small bit of baby shampoo and warm water to remove anything that is left before tossing in the clothes washer. This has always worked with even the hardest roofing tars and auto grease stains. Good Luck!

    By Terence R. [1]

    Tip: How to Get Grease Out of Fabrics

    Grease stains can be caused by a number of things including motor oil, cooking oils, animal fat, salad dressings, and fried foods. For light stains on washable fabrics, a simple laundry pre-treat is usually all that is needed to remove many stains. On dry-cleanable fabrics (or for heavy stains on washable fabrics), it's often necessary to use a solvent (dry spotter) to break down and remove the oil.

    Three Basic Rules for Grease Stains

    1. Act fast for best results. Fresh grease stains can be fairly easy to remove if you act quickly. However, once heated or left to oxidize (which can happen within a matter of hours), the stains will darken in color and become difficult, or even impossible, to remove.

    2. Don't treat grease with water. Oils are hydrophobic, they don't break down with water. Grabbing a wet cloth to wipe up a greasy, oily stain will only make the stain bigger and more difficult to remove.

    3. Before committing to any cleaning agent or technique, pretest it on an inconspicuous area of the fabric.

    Treating Fresh Stains

    Step 1: If any solid material remains on the surface of the fabric (e.g. a glob of butter or salad dressing) gently scrape off as much as possible using your fingernail or the edge of a spoon. Work outward from the center using light strokes. Take care not to press too hard or you'll drive the grease deeper into the fabric.

    Step 2: Apply an absorbent like cornstarch, baking powder, or talcum powder to the stain and leave it on long enough to absorb as much of the grease as possible. This may take from 30 minutes to a few hours. To remove the absorbent, invert the fabric while holding it over a sink or garbage can and gently shake off the excess. Brush the stain gently with a stiff bristled brush.

    Step 3: For washable fabrics, treat with a laundry pre-treat and launder in hot water; air dry. For dry-clean only fabrics, sponge the dry fabric with a dry spotter (dry cleaning solvent) until the stain is gone (see below).

    Treating Older Stains (post-oxidation or heat)

    Washable fabrics: Treat older grease stains from gravy, soup, mayonnaise, and other oily foods by applying a petroleum-based dish soap to the stain, allowing it to soak in for 30 minutes to 1 hour. After soaking, machine-wash the item in warm water. If the stain remains after washing, don't hot-air dry or iron the fabric. Let it air dry completely and try sponging it with a dry spotter. Tip: Use petroleum-based dish soap only. Plant-based soaps will not work. Also, to avoid discoloring the fabric use clear dish liquid only, nothing colored.

    Dry-clean only fabrics: Using a cotton swab or a cloth pad, apply a dry spotter and a few drops of mineral spirits to the fabric, letting it soak in for a few minutes until saturated. Blot with a clean cloth and repeat until the stain is removed. When finished, dab the fabric with cool water and dry flat.

    Stain-cleaner Definitions

    Dry-cleaning fluid (dry spotter): Dry spotters are effective in removing oily and greasy stains, especially from water-sensitive fabrics. They can be used on virtually any fabric without damage, and will not set stains. (Always perform a pretest just in case.) They are commonly available where laundry detergents are sold or can be purchased from local dry cleaners (K2r and Afta are common examples). Use them sparingly on upholstery and carpet, as these types of solvents tend to deteriorate the foam and stuffing used in upholstery cushions and the latex adhesives used to glue carpeting together. Dry spotters should only be used on dry fabric in a well-ventilated area (preferably outdoors). Never use them on clothing that you haven't taken off yet and keep them out of reach of children!

    Laundry Pre-treats (combination solvents): These cleaning agents can help remove a lot of greasy stains just in the course of routine laundering. Pre-treats are applied and allowed to soak into the stain for a few minutes before washing (follow label directions). Common examples of pre-treats include Shout and Spray n Wash. Pre-treats need to be rinsed out or laundered after use, and should not be allowed to dry on the fabric.

    Remember, there is no single technique or product that takes care of every stain on every type of fabric. If a fabric isn't washable or is very expensive, the absolute safest thing you can do is take it to a professional cleaner. Show them the stain and tell them (if possible) what caused it and what you have done to try to remove it. Then keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best!

      By EllenB [21]

      Tip: Treat Oil Stains Right Away With Flour/Baby Powder

      To remove a stain from an oil drop on your clothes, cover the stain with flour or baby powder for few hours or even over night. Then brush flour or the powder and the stain is removed. You have to do it immediately while the stain is fresh.

      By Dana from Palo Alto, CA

      Tip: Automotive Hand Cleaner for Laundry

      All oil based stains can be cleaned by using the waterless hand cleaner you find in the automotive department.

      I use it on salad dressing a lot. It is very safe. Any thing that is oil based this works great on. Just rub on the spot and put in the wash as usual.

      By Rosemary from Ludlow Falls, OH

      Tip: Body Oil Stains On Clothing

      To remove body oil stains from collars and cuffs of colored shirts and blouses, rub hair shampoo directly on the stains. Rinse out the shampoo, then wash the clothes as usual.

      By Chell

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      Here are questions related to Removing Grease (Oil) Stains from Clothing.

      Question: Removing Diesel Oil and Grease from Clothing

      How can I remove diesel oil and grease from clothing after it has set in?

      By Joseph


      Most Recent Answer

      By Luana M. [82]09/21/2012

      I have tried many things,used many things finally I can recommend one thing I know for sure works. On there is a product called S2O. They have laundry sheets and a liquid stain remover. Made from organic products, made especially for removing oil, grease, stains that nothing else I have heard of does.

      The laundry sheets are affordable, less than any store brands for sure.I only need 1 sheet per load,comes out to about 40 cents a load. You do not need boosters, pre-wash products not even bleach. The liquid is what is in sheets just in stronger form. The scientist that made it shows a demo where he dumps axle grease right on fabric and it dissolves away from clothes. Old stains as well as new.

      They have 30 day money back guarantee, give it a try. I was amazed just how it removes under arm stains,ring around the collar (all is oil based) then can get out blood. I hope you find it as helpful as I have. Once again it is called S2O. There is a 800 number or you can look it up on Luck your way saving money on clothes!

      Question: Grease Stain on Cotton Shorts

      Just recently as I was eating a quesadilla, grease spilled out of the end of the piece I was eating and spilled on my shorts. The shorts are 100% cotton. I washed them once and hang dried them and the stains are still there. Any ideas on the best method to remove the stain?

      Thanks in advance,



      Most Recent Answer

      By b09/09/2009

      I have had good luck removing grease stains from cotten tee shirts, etc using Shout and Neutragena shampoo. I spray the stain with the Shout then add a generous coating of the neutragena shampoo. Then soak in cold water for a couple of hours before washing as normal. I have had to treat a stain twice on occasion. Good luck!

      Question: Removing Carmex Stains from Clothing

      My son left his tube of Carmex in his jeans pocket and ruined a load of his clothes. Most hit were the t-shirts, some of which he didn't want to trash yet. Any ideas to get this kind of grease stain out? Already tried good old pre-spot, and they've already been dried. Is it hopeless?

      Most Recent Answer

      By Dee07/27/2009

      Okay, I joined this website to thank everyone above for all your help. I went out on a limb and tried something alittle diffrent. I soaked the clothes in Dish Detergent (Not even Dawn it was Joy) and bought Oxi Clean Max Force. I couldn't even see the stains because the shirts were all wet, so I jusr randomly sprayed. Put the clothes back in the washer and dryer, and no more stains. The clothes had the stains for over a month and I assumed it was just too late. But that Oxi Clean wasn't playing, it was only about 4 bucks but was worth it. Didn't even use half the bottle.

      Question: Grease Stain Removal from Clothing

      i bought a pair of lovely royal blue cotton trousers, but something leaked in my bag, it was grease. I washed them straight away, but alas the stain was still there. So this time I massaged Fairy liquid into the area and washed again; now there's a small amount of stain left, but it is noticeable. What can I do now?

      By Mandy

      Most Recent Answer

      By freebyrdz [4]04/20/2012

      Rub Dawn dish washing liquid onto the stain and throw into the washer.

      Question: Grease Stains on Beige Pants

      I have grease or oil from a pickup truck on my beige 100% cotton pants. How can I get this stain out on the first try without ruining my pants?


      Most Recent Answer

      By ciara5 (Guest Post)01/11/2005

      i poured juice on my pants and i cant get it out. pleaz help me.

      Question: Removing Grease Stain - Tried Lots of Things

      My son has a red Ohio State hoodie and got grease on it from his job. He washed and dried it in hopes that the grease would come out. It didn't come out.

      He had asked me to see if I could get it out, I used carbon tec (the chemical the dry cleaners use), after I sprayed it with that, I used a toothbrush on it, then sprayed it with Simple Green scrubbed it again with the toothbrush. I washed and dried it in hopes to getting the stain out.

      Is the stain in there forever or is there something else I can use to get the grease out?

      By Chris T. from Sagamore Hills, OH

      Most Recent Answer

      By tara73 [3]10/06/2010

      GOOP! I live with a house full of mechanics. It works wonderful. Put a little on the stain. Rub with fingers make sure its in, then toss in laundry. Can also use it safely in washer.

      Question: Removing Tough Grease Stains

      I have some really difficult set in stains in some shirts. The stains I believe are grease and dirt. I have tried OxiClean, and other stain removers, but have not been able to get out these stains. I have even washed these shirts in hot water. Can you possibly offer a solution?

      By Anthony from Greenville, SC

      Most Recent Answer

      By easy1004/05/2011

      You may want to watch this video that takes grease out of silk or other fabrics ,it would work for carpet grease stains

      Question: Removing Car Grease Stains From Clothing

      When cleaning mechanic's uniforms where they wipe their greasy hands; what kind of detergent is supposed to be used?

      By Zack from Chicago, IL

      Most Recent Answer

      By fry411807/09/2013

      Use gain pebbles two cups of cheap pine cleaner and regular detergent now the gain pebbles are only for fresh scented clothing

      Question: Removing Set-in Grease Stains

      How do I remove set in grease stains?

      By sblevins71 from Creston, NC

      Most Recent Answer

      By Becky08/24/2009

      Spray wd-40 on the stain, let it sit for 10 min, then rinse it out with water. Follow with a laundry pre-treat stain remover (Spray n Wash, etc), then launder.

      Question: Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing

      When my wife washes my t-shirts they come out with stains on them. The stain looks like a light kind of round oil stain. We can't figure out where these stains are coming from. They are on my white and colored t-shirts. All of them go in clean and come out stained. We even got a new washing machine.

      By Luke from Anaheim, CA

      Most Recent Answer

      By Rpottsl11/27/2014

      It's your drier sheets :( Boohoo! Idk if you know, drier sheets are full of nasty toxins. Use white vinegar in your final rinse. The smell will be gone when the clothes are dry and will still smell good, like your soap. Way cheaper! I rarely use products from the store, the Internet is full of much safer diy 'recipes' that you'll be pleasantly suprised work As well or better, and cost substantially less :)

      Question: Removing Oily Stain on Cotton Shirt

      I recently applied flea/tick drops to my dog's back. Not long after, I forgot and snuggled up next to her back. Now I have this oily stain on my tee shirt and can't get it out. Any suggestions?

      By Cricket P.

      Most Recent Answer

      By Louise B. [5]07/23/2013

      I have had good luck with an orange peel cleaner. I've forgotten the name, but I got it in the laundry section of the local grocery store. It is an orange liquid made from orange peels.

      Question: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      How do I removed grease stains from clothes, all types of material?

      By pussycat from Birmingham, England

      Most Recent Answer


      I always recommend My Clean Shirt for stain removal. The stuff really works. They won me over with a ink stain, then I grew to love My Clean Shirt for my husbands "caveman" style ring around the collar. The website is:

      Question: Removing Set In Oil and Grease Stains

      I need a stain remover to take out set in oil and grease stains. Any suggestions?

      By Judy S.

      Most Recent Answer

      By sissy [1]07/02/2011

      Depends on type of material, but dawn really is a miracle worker! Just dap a little on, massage it in and let it set for a little while and wash as usual.

      Question: Grease Stains on Clothes

      How do you remove old grease stains from clothing?

      By Sandra from Cyprus

      Most Recent Answer

      By Josh02/17/2011

      Shampoo was a massive help! Thank you so much @rforbes! I used Tresseme too! I got garlic bread greese on some chinos, and from what I can tell it's almost totally gone! If I do it again, I reckon it'll be completely gone! :D

      Question: Oil and Grease Stain Remover

      Is there a good homemade formula for removing chocolate or grease stains from cotton clothing?

      By Tracy from Kansas City, MO

      Most Recent Answer

      By Lee [4]08/18/2010

      I use dish soap on my husbands t-shirts even if the grease is dry it will still remove it. Get a good name brand dish soap put it on full strength, let it sit for an hour or two, wash in warm water. It cuts the grease.

      Question: Removing Food Grease from Wool Clothing

      My husband got grease from a garlic roll on his wool slacks; please help me to remove this.

      By Kathleen from Miami, FL

      Most Recent Answer

      By Michele [17]12/30/2009

      Hmm... Wool slacks in Miami? Anyway, anytime I get grease from food on my clothing I pretreat with dish detergent. It works like a charm. Just a dab, then I rub lightly with my finger.

      Question: Cleaning Motor Oil Off Winter Jacket

      I got oil or grease on a winter jacket. Any ideas?

      By Deb Q. from Ottawa, Ontario

      Most Recent Answer

      By Pete Hazlet [2]11/19/2014

      You might try dampening it a little and them put some baking soda on. Let that dry and then brush it out.

      Question: Removing Grease from Polyester Jersey

      There are, I don't know how many, grease spots on the back and front of my Detroit Tiger jersey which is made of polyester and is white what the Old English D in blue and blue trimming. How can I get the grease spots out?

      By Warren

      Most Recent Answer

      By barnsma [1]09/15/2013

      I have had great success using Shout Advanced is the squeeze spray bottle. Spray it, let it sit overnight and then wash it in cold water and see if it takes care of the problem. Do not dry it in a dryer or use hot water until you have removed the stain. Hot anything will set the stain permanently.

      Question: Removing an Oil Stain from Clothing

      How do you remove an oil based stain from a white t shirt?

      By Krystal S

      Most Recent Answer

      By Sheilah Link [5]06/04/2012

      Apply a liquid dish soap as Dawn to the spot and allow it to soak in. A little water may speed the process. Then launder the shirt. Do not add additional soap as you will have a mountain of suds. It may take a couple of treatments to remove all the oil, but I have always had success.

      Question: Turkey Grease on Clothes

      How do I remove turkey grease from 95% cotton and 5% polyester clothing?

      By Val

      Most Recent Answer

      By Louise B. [5]11/09/2011

      I use Shout for this type of stain. A cirtus cleaner made from orange peel also works well on Grease stains. Best to treat before laundering if you can.

      Question: Grease Stain on Polyester

      I need to know how to get grease out of my mother's 76% polyester and 24% Viscose dress. I need help, and as soon as I can get it. Thanks.

      By Emily from Grindrod, BC

      Most Recent Answer

      By bkvander [2]04/16/2010

      Pre-treat it with a heavy dose of Dawn dish soap (NOT with bleach) and let it sit overnight. Wash clothing using Dawn dish soap in place of laundry soap.

      Question: Grease Stains on Velour Pants

      How do you remove grease stains from Juicy velour sweat pants?

      Most Recent Answer

      By Christine Schuyler [2]10/21/2006

      I have great success in removing grease stains (even after they have been thru the dryer) by using dish soap such as Dawn, Palmolive etc. Just rub some on the stain and launder as usual. My kids constantly get greasy food stains on their clothes and this is an easy and inexpensive method of getting the stains out. Good luck to you!

      Question: Removing Grease Stains from Work Coveralls

      My husband was given a really nice heavy pair of coveralls, but they are covered everywhere with stains. I'm not sure what kind, but it looks like grease and oil. Is there a product that I can soak them in to get rid of some of the stains? Thanks.

      By Ardis F.

      Question: Grease Stains on Gore- Tex Jacket

      How do I get car grease out of a Gorte-Tex jacket?

      By Cristina

      Question: Removing a Stubborn Grease Stain on Dress

      I got a grease spot on a fave dress, treated it with my stain remover and washed it. And washed it. The spot is lighter, but still there. How do I remove it? Please help.

      By Melinda D.

      Question: Removing Grease Stains on Clothing

      I work on cranes so I get a lot of grease on my shirts. My girlfriend gets the grease out, but I still have brown stains were the grease was. What can I use to remove the brown stains?

      By Sheila

      Question: Removing Grease Stain on My Jacket

      I got heavy equipment grease on my cream colour jacket (polyester shell). I washed it, but the grease is still there. How do I clean it? Thank you.

      By Carter B.


      Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

      Archive: Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing and Stinky Towels

      At first I thought that it was our washing machine that caused the little "grease" spots on my shirts.


      Archive: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      How do you remove black grease from clothing after it has gone through the washer and dryer several times (tried several ways to remove)?

      Tracee from Sandy, Utah

      RE: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing


      By Nena

      RE: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      Make paper towel folded "pads", to use on top and underneath. Spray WD 40 on several q-tips, then dot the spot and immediately rub with clean q-tips and blot off and on with a "pad". If it begins to show on the q-tip or towels, it's working, and you should do this with new "pads" or new absorbing locations on the underneath pad, using new q-tips as well, over and over, until gone. Then, with still more "pads", use alcohol to remove the WD 40 main residue, and then Dawn dripped directly to the spot and area, when finished with all of the above, and wash as normal AGAIN in washer. It should work for you.

      Don't use too much WD 40 because it has an odor, but not too bad if used in drops. Do NOT spray directly to your garment. It's strong enough to do the job on q-tips, if you carefully "wet" the spot ONLY and do not rub too widely, checking and changing the pads frequently. Good luck and God bless your hands as you follow this suggestion. : ) (09/28/2006)

      By Lynda

      RE: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      I can't believe it!! I used Pepsi that had been open in the refrig all night (I don't know if that had anything to do with it) and a Q-tip. For various stubborness, I rubbed some with Q-tips right away, some I let it sit for a minute or two, and some I added a dab of Dawn and used the Q-tip. All gone! I'm so excited!!! (11/08/2006)

      By Carol.

      RE: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      If you would like to remove any stain whether it be motor oil or bacon grease if you soak the piece of clothing with brake parts cleaner it takes the stain out like nothing. the stuff is amazing i use it for everything! you should try it i guarantee good results (12/17/2006)

      By Greg

      RE: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      Spray some oven cleaner on it, let sit for about a half hour then wash as usual. (12/17/2006)

      By SheilaNJ

      RE: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      2 Words... Spray Nine! ... It's a Tire Cleaner and it gets everything out... Especially those brown sweat stains on the arm collars of Nice White Coats. It's Slogan is "Kills HIV in 30 seconds" ... Great for getting those Muscle car white walls Shining new too! (b)Editor's Note:(/b) This is a disinfectant and grease remover. It's available at lots of hardware stores and auto stores. (01/15/2007)

      By Kyle

      RE: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      i got some kitchen grease on my hoodie and its been there quite a while and im wondering how to get it out. (b)Editor's Note:(/b) Try rubbing some Dawn into the spot, then wash again. It's best not to dry it (at least in a heated dryer) until you are sure the stain is out. (03/07/2007)

      By Jeff

      RE: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      Two words: Simple Green. Just spray it on and wipe it off. -its like magic, really. Oh, and enjoy your new stain-free clothes. (08/22/2007)

      By ZM

      Archive: Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing

      I was wondering what causes grease like stains on our clothes.


      Archive: Removing Car Grease Stains From Clothing

      To remove grease stains from clothing (black grease from vehicles) use bathing soap - the milder the better! Works like a charm. By Rukhmin

      Removing Car Grease Stains From Clothing

      I have cleaned Grease from jeans with pure vegetable shortening, and it worked ok, but I found that Mechanics Hand Cleaner works everytime. I taught my son at age 10 to do his own laundry and he used the hand cleaner at Auto Mechanics class. His teacher complimented me on the idea because if it'll take grease off your hands why not off your clothes. I use a good stiff brush like a fingernail brush after letting the cleaner soak in a little while, then wash as usual. (04/09/2004)

      By tigerlil234

      Removing Auto Grease and Oil from Clothes

      This one is mainly for you shade tree mechanics. To remove oil, grease or diesel or any other auto type oils from clothing just add a can of coke that's right you heard me "coke" with your normal wash detergent and wash as usual. I learned this in the army after replacing numerous uniforms at expensive costs now all I do is wash with coke. By Bryan Marchant (01/29/2005)

      By ThriftyFun


      My husband got black grease from the trailer hitch on a brand new pair of shorts. I sprayed it with WD40 let it sit for a few minutes and then scrubbed with a bit of dishwashing detergent. It came right out. (08/07/2006)

      By Joanne

      Archive: Removing Grease Stains from Clothing

      To remove grease and/or oil stains from clothing I prerub the areas with TIDE liquid detergent.


      Archive: Lestoil For Stains

      I have used the product Lestoil on my most stubborn stains for years. It has gotten out motor oil, grease, iron, formula from baby clothes and all different kinds of stains. Try it, I bet will work for you too.

      By Debra in Colorado

      RE: Lestoil For Stains

      Lestoil works for Pre-treatment for stubborn stains. You can buy it in your grocery store in the 'floor soap' section or department stores in the 'floor cleaner' section. (10/20/2004)

      By Kelog.

      Locations to buy Lestoil

      In PA, I buy it at The Giant grocery store and also Martin's and Ace hardware (09/15/2005)

      By Koleen

      RE: Lestoil For Stains

      There is a company that manufactures a series of 10 different containers, each for use in removing various types of stains. The brand name is Carbona, "Stain Devils." Each of the ten containers list the stains it is used to work on. I have only used the one for coffee and tea, but it worked great! Prior to using that product, I used several other cleaners. In Arizona, this product is carried in Fry's (Kroger) stores.

      By scarecrow

      RE: Lestoil For Stains

      I'm from Pensacola and there is nowhere close where you can get Lestoil. The rumour we heard was that Lestoil contains a substance that is bad for the environment and Florida won't sell it. I think that's a lie but I've also read on some forums that lestoil was bought out by Clorox; therefore maybe Clorox stopped producing it to promote their brand items. I'm in Phoenix now and I can't get it here either. I'm going to buy it online.

      By mike