Grease or oil stains can be difficult to remove from clothing. This is a guide about removing grease (oil) stains from clothing.
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.
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!
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
By Marylin P. 1
I achieved success on a lace skirt by using a combination of Resolve Gold Laundry Stain Remover, which can be purchased at any grocery store, and Totally Awesome All Purpose Concentrate Cleaner, Degreaser Spot Remover, which is available at Walmart, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Big Lots, or online.
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,
September 9, 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!
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?
July 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.
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?
April 20, 2012
Rub Dawn dish washing liquid onto the stain and throw into the washer.
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?
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
January 11, 2005
i poured juice on my pants and i cant get it out. pleaz help me.
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
October 6, 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.
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
April 5, 2011
You may want to watch this video that takes grease out of silk or other fabrics ,it would work for carpet grease stains http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkL4CFciS34
By Zack 1
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
July 9, 2013
Use gain pebbles two cups of cheap pine cleaner and regular detergent now the gain pebbles are only for fresh scented clothing
How do I remove set in grease stains?
By sblevins71 from Creston, NC
August 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.
By luke 1
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
November 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 :)
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.
July 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.
How can I remove diesel oil and grease from clothing after it has set in?
September 21, 2012
I have tried many things,used many things finally I can recommend one thing I know for sure works. On HSN.com 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 HSN.com. Luck your way saving money on clothes!
I need a stain remover to take out set in oil and grease stains. Any suggestions?
By Judy S.
July 2, 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.
By pussycat 1
How do I removed grease stains from clothes, all types of material?
By pussycat from Birmingham, England
April 2, 2011
Shampoo works. Any cheap shampoo will do.
By sandra 1
How do you remove old grease stains from clothing?
By Sandra from Cyprus
February 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
Is there a good homemade formula for removing chocolate or grease stains from cotton clothing?
By Tracy from Kansas City, MO
August 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.
By Kathleen 1
My husband got grease from a garlic roll on his wool slacks; please help me to remove this.
By Kathleen from Miami, FL
December 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.
I got oil or grease on a winter jacket. Any ideas?
By Deb Q. from Ottawa, Ontario
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?
September 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.
How do you remove an oil based stain from a white t shirt?
By Krystal S
June 4, 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.
How do I remove turkey grease from 95% cotton and 5% polyester clothing?
By Emily 2
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
How do you remove grease stains from Juicy velour sweat pants?
October 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!
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.
How do I get car grease out of a Gorte-Tex jacket?
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.
By Terence R. 1
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!
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?
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.
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
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
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.
At first I thought that it was our washing machine that caused the little "grease" spots on my shirts. We got a new washer and the problems seemed to go away for maybe a month and then were back.
ALSO, our bath towels, first time you use them after they are washed, they stink like old stinky towels. IMMEDIATELY, as soon as you get them wet, you can smell the "yucky towel" smell.
What can I do to solve these two laundry problems?
I don't know about the stink, unless it's a defective washer, but I quit using dryer sheets years ago because they were leaving little greasy spots on everything. (08/25/2004)
NOT a defective washer. I mentioned, we thought that was the problem and bought a new washer and are still having the problem. Just like Barb, I get my grease spots with hang up, no dryer clothes. (08/27/2004)
By Ann Washburn
As I said in my original post....we DID buy a new washer thinking that we had a defective one, Susan, so that isn't the problem.
Barb, I also get the problem of grease stains even on line dry clothing. so I know that dryer sheets aren't the problem, Vicki, but thanks for the suggestion. (08/27/2004)
Do you ever use liquid softener? They say that your dispenser can get goopy and leave grease spots. It is mysterious that it would start happening again a month after you got a new washer. It seems as though it must be either something that comes in on the clothes, in the water or in something you add to the washer to clean the clothes.
As far as the stinky towels are concerned, try adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to each load of wash. It's best if it's added in the final rinse for the towels but adding it to the wash water might help with the grease spot problems.
Regarding your grease spots, you may want to check the hoses going to the washer. I had the same problem and once I replaced the hoses, I haven't had the problem since. (08/30/2004)
By Donna in Kansas
I used to own an appliance store, and would get this question occasionally - always from people who picked up and installed the washer themselves. Washing machines should always remain upright - NEVER laid over during delivery or installation. This causes the oil in the motor to leak out, and into your laundry, sometimes for the life of the washer. If it was delivered and installed by the store, and you observed it being laid over, contact the store and ask for a replacement.
As far as stinky towels goes, I've given up on ever owning pretty decorator colors. I only buy white or beige towels, always wash them separately in hot water with a small amount of bleach, and put them into the dryer immediately afterward. Letting them sit (even overnight) makes them stinky, and I have to re-wash. (10/01/2004)
It could be oil leaking from washer, call a repairman! (04/06/2005)
I have been researching this for days, here is what I have found. Either there is too many clothes in the washer and to little water or the detergent is not dissolved enough. If you overload your washer the soil in the clothes can not dissolve properly because there is not enough water. So then the soil just rests on clothes. Or, there is not enough detergent for the amount of clothes to break up the soil. I read that if you use a dry detergent, let that dissolve in water first before adding your clothes. Use the warmest water possible for the type of clothing you are using. Do not over load washer and use the highest amount of water. I have tried this and finally, something works. Also, I read pouring a can of Coke in your washer with detergent gets out any oil stain. And, it works! (06/16/2005)
I've been having similar problems. When I wash whites, I end up getting little grease balls on the material. When I try to remove them, the stain just spreads and I have to wash all over again. I use fabric softener COMFORT. I've heard that you need to put the washer on a hot long cycle and add 2 cups of vinegar or lemon juice. Also check the powder and fabric softener containers. Smelly towels - It only happens with the really heavy ones. Good luck (01/12/2006)
By Colette (Argentina).
Just last week I called Sears to arrange a repair because my front-loading washing machine left dark brown spots on white sheets. I had been using a mild detergent (from the health food store) up until a month ago when I switched to Sunlight for Sensitive Skin. The person at Sears figured out that my mild detergent hadn't always been dissolving the dirt and grime from our clothes which was then deposited on the plastic drum that encases the stainless steel basket. When I started using a stronger detergent the grease was being washed off the plastic outer basket and ending up on the sheets. I have always used hot water for towels and sheets, but the new detergent was more effective at cutting the grime. An appliance repairman in my town also recommended that I should wash a load of rags with "Iron Out". After that I washed the same sheets again and so far the spots haven't come back. Apparently using cold water for most of your washing loads allows for this kind of buildup, as well. The person on the phone at Sears saved me an expensive repair bill. (07/18/2006)
I too had the mysterious spots on my white sheets and had a film build up on the glass and steel face of my sears front load washer. I had been using mild detergent and started using a stronger one. Apparently this was the problem. To fix it, I tried washing with a can of coke but it didn't work for me. I then tried using "Iron Spot" with detergent on a load of rags. And tried a second time. It worked somewhat. I finally had success with my own formula: I filling the washer with hot water and the Iron Spot, added the rags, detergent and 1/2 cup of rock salt. Finally it cleared things up! (08/07/2006)
I don't have the spots but I noticed with my HE front load washer, it smells if the door is not left open between loads (maybe overnight) to dry out. I also use about a half cup of Super Washing Soda with my towels. I put it IN the washer and just use soap in the dispenser. Works like a dream. It has a very high PH and gets off all build up. I also use the SWS in my bathroom sink drain every few weeks to remove built up shave cream from DH. Hope this helps. PS-I use a few drops of Tea Tree Oil in the rinse cycle when I wash the pet bed covers. Removes all other odors. (08/07/2006)
By Connie Jo
The cheapest most efficient way I've found is to add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the water, along with the detergent before adding the clothes.
Someone sent me a forward that had this info: You can add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing, pour directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.
I've also used ammonia on underarm sweat stains, just soak for a while and then wash as usual and it takes the stains out.
Let me know if any of this helps, (08/08/2006)
it is caused by fabric softener and dryer sheets! It took my husband and I years to figure it out, and lots of ruined clothes. No more of either item, they are full of petroleum. (08/14/2006)
I work at a dry cleaners and we also have the same problem but not every washing, apparently it is in the water and it is grease. Since working there, I have noticed it on my own clothes after washing as well. It is especially noticeable on reds! Re-washing sometimes will remove it but the ultimate sure fire way... have them dry cleaned, the solvent removes the grease. I know not cheap but on something that is worth it it works! (01/11/2007)
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
IVE JUST TRYED PINE SOL AND IT WORKS EVERY ONE SHOULD TRY IT~THANKS TAWNDA! (05/26/2005)
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)
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)
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)
Spray some oven cleaner on it, let sit for about a half hour then wash as usual. (12/17/2006)
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)
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)
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)
I was wondering what causes grease like stains on our clothes. They are not greasy when they go into the washer, but when I dry them I can have small dots and or very large patches of what looks like grease stains.
New sheet sets, kids (not baby goats) clothes, my clothes, dark, light, you name it. I use both powdered and liquid soap. My machine has a bleach dispenser and a dispenser for liquid fabric softener (which I don';t use). I put the soap in the bottom of the machine, let the water run to about half way, mix it up really well then start adding my clothes.
This is very frustrating!
Someone told me it could be from the soap and the clothes sitting too close to it before is starts to agitate. So I have tried to put the soap in after but I got the same results. I do not see it as much on my white loads, but that could just be because they are lighter.
I am finding this very annoying and I figure some of you very bright people may have some sort experience with this type of thing or have had experienced this before and have a fabulous solution!
So, I am sitting anxiously by the computer awaiting any and all answers. Oh, yes, I should mention that my machine is a top loader, capacity super loads and I always use the large amount of water with room for the clothes to swim around in. So they rinse really well.
Anna from Alberta Canada
20 Mule Team Borax and Washing Soda (12/05/2006)
By Azure N.
Thanks for the advice, I will try to change the hoses as they say they should be replaced every 5 years. Ours are close to being due.
Looking forward to more possibilities!
You probably have a washer with a vertical agitator your grease seals on the agitator shaft are shot, causing grease to get into the tub I had the problem with a Maytag washer....see a repair man to verify.
probably cheaper to buy new washer than fix if 8-10 years old.
By Lin M.r
I had this happen to me when visiting my son, who uses liquid soap. Instead of putting the soap in first and letting it agitate, then adding clothes, I put them both in at the same time. Voila - looking like oil stains. (01/30/2007)
I had that happen to me before. The transmission in my washing machine was broken. (01/31/2007)
We frequently have this problem with the problem mainly appearing on grey sweatshirts!
For "stinky" things like dishtowels -- 1/2 cup of Borax will take out almost _ANY_ smell. We began used it on baby clothes (cloth diapers) and have continued to use it in every load of laundry. It even has worked on puppy-training cloths and bedding.
You can usually find it in the bleach section of the store. (01/31/2007)
We have been having the greasy spot problem on our dark clothes too. We bought a new front load washer, we still have the problem. We have had two repair men out to see the spots and they don't have a clue. I have tried all of the suggestions and nothing is working. This is making us crazy and it is ruining our clothes. We get greasy dark spots on our dark clothes with almost every load. We use Tide, and use the correct amount with the correct water temp. We quit using softener. AArgghh Help! We are still getting spots! (02/04/2007)
I have 1 question for Anna when you rewash them do the stains come out.I am having the same problem but when i rewash mine they don't come out.The spots look like dried water spots.When you say grease what do you mean does it have a color or does it look like a dried water spot. (02/19/2007)
I have the same grease problem. I don't know what causes it but to get the satin out I put Dawn dish detergent on the stain rub a little, wash it and the stain comes out. (03/04/2007)
Any information would be great. I have a sears top loader that is putting reddish slit shaped marks on my thinner cloths. These look like grease stains and respond to dawn and feltz naptha pre treatment. Sears came in January and replaced the transmission. In March the problem is back again. Sears tells me that they never believed it was a transmission problem, because the transmission sits below the wash basket and the oil has no way to get up the shaft. It looks like a pinch point where thin material has gotten into somewhere it should not. (03/27/2007)
By Doug A.
OH MY GOSH! I have been going through this for a year! It is maddening! During this time I have gone through 3 brand new washing machines so I know it's not the machine. Also, I've done laundry at other homes. It only happens at my house. Have you gotten any answers. i am about ready to lose my sanity!
I've been frustrated for years now trying to figure out what causes grease/oil type spots to appear on my laundered (mostly) dark clothes. I've tried: A new machine, different detergents both liquid and granular, hanging clothes to dry, changing the water temperature, more and less detergent, smaller loads, completely filling the machine and agitating the detergent before adding the clothes. Nothing seems to help. What I am sure of is that I never had this problem prior to the introduction of concentrated detergents. I'm convinced there's a connection. What's even more frustrating is when I ask someone if they experience this problem, and they say no. I remove the spots by dabbing them with dishwasher detergent and rewashing, but who wants to keep rewashing clothes. I hope someone can figure this out soon! 4/2/07 (04/02/2007)
HELP!! We are having the wet looking spots on our clothing too. I do not use dryer sheets or fabric softener!! We have had 2 repair men out to check the washer and dryer and have concluded that NOTHING is wrong. UGGHH!! We even replaced the washing machine and are STILL getting spots. Someone help!! (04/03/2007)
I am getting spots on our clothes mainly towels, looks like grease but doesn't smear, I squirt it with spot remove re-wash and there gone, but I don't have them every time I wash, its just weird. I use he detergent.
Sorry I just saw this and thought I would answer to the best of my ability.
Yes it looks like water, no smell, can't see it when it is wet only when it is dry and then when I rewash it, it stays there, I have used waterless grease cleaner for hands on the items and sometimes it comes out, but I have no idea why only sometimes.
I still appreciate the answers and it is nice to know I am not alone in this problem. At first I thought it was because I was a mom of young children who were touching me with possibly sticky/greasy fingers. LOL.
Anna in Alberta
"I have a ? for Anna when you rewash them do the stains come out? I am having the same problem but when i rewash mine they don't come out.The spots look like dried water spots. When you say grease what do you mean does it have a color or does it look like a dried water spot?"
I have same problem since I moved in the house 3 years ago. I thought old washing machine needed to replaced. Well, it is still happening after I got brand new front load machine. Very frustrating. Please someone help. (04/14/2007)
This is funny...my mom and I just talked about this yesterday. I thought maybe the dryer sheet was doing it, but she mentioned she hangs all my dads shirts up. It would be great if we could figure this problem out. (04/21/2007)
<img src="/images/feedback_image.lasso?id=91689757" width="254" height="404" alt="RE: Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing">
I was wondering if anyone thinks products like Aquafor/vaseline causes the stains. We use these products a lot and maybe the leftover residue on our hands is getting on our clothes causing stains. We have replaced our washer and dryer and are still getting the wet-looking spots. This problem is making me crazy!! (04/22/2007)
I ALSO have this problem and it is very frustrating. I have at least 2 shirts ruined each load. I use the Oxy Clean ball, and some of the stains are the size of your hand. They DO NOT come out when re-washed. (05/08/2007)
By Erica B.
Usually its the water, If it is too hard then you will get the spots on your clothes :-/ You can add borax to the water to help soften it, but short of that unless you have a water softener put in its not likely that the spots will stop appearing. (06/06/2007)
I just have to say that I once figured it out, and now just googled the problem. I remember discovering the specific cause to the problem, but I cannot remember what I discovered anymore! Please e-mail me at neonfantastic AT yahoo.com if you figure it out.
I wish I could remember.
p.s. it is not in the water, it is not your washing machines either!!
-frustrated with grease stains on laundry (06/13/2007)
Consider your mystery solved. Here is our experience with those grease stains. We've had some loads of clothes with small to large grease spots appear after washing. We could NOT figure it out and was baffled for weeks. But after this last load ruined our clothes we decided to take the washing machine apart! We disassembled our machine taking off the panels and pulling out the agitator. And there it was, the problem. We discovered that the transmission fluid was leaking into the tub of the machine. So instead of replacing the transmission; due to the grease stains in the tub, we our now researching to buy a new one. So as we are doing some research on the web we decided to google "oil leaking in washing machine basket" and came up with some interesting information. Here is just one site we discovered:
Also, check out GE's response to the "grease" stains:
I can positively say this is NOT from cooking grease because most of the clothes ruined were not worn while cooking!
Well, we hope that this has been beneficial and helpful. (07/02/2007)
So at least this is not a problem only to me. This has been going on for years. Three different machines, three different makes. Liquid and powder soap, with or without fabric softener. Only gets on the fronts of my dark shirts and at first I thought I was spilling while eating or drinking but I am not a messy eater and it also occurs on shirts that I only wear at the gym. I have to spray about and rub a little and then rewash to get rid of spots but it is extremely frustrating. Have been considering a front loader washer to fix problem?
Liquid Biz works wonders on the grease spots. I check shirts before I dry to catch the spots before they set. I've tried everything - short of a new washer and checking the washer for fluid leaks. You can bet that is next on hubby's honey-do list. (07/25/2007)
I have the same problem! I have found that if I use shout and rewash them the stains seem to come out. I was going to go and try Clorox bleach for coloreds and see if that helps. (07/26/2007)
By Aeris F.
I don't have an answer for what causes the grease stains in the first place but try using Dawn dish detergent. I keep a bottle in my laundry room and when I notice clothes (usually made of all cotton material) with a grease stain after drying I will put a dab of Dawn on the stain and let it set until I am ready to put a new load in the washer. It really does the trick! Grease stains, missing socks -- just another laundry mystery! (07/29/2007)
I too have this mysterious grease problem. I washed a brand new t-shirt and it didn't have grease stains going in, but now has unsightly marks all on the front. I have an older machine and wonder is something is leaking into the machine? (08/13/2007)
This has absolutely infuriated me. I have never had this problem until I got a front-load from Sears. I have thrown away more brand new clothes after just one washing this past year than I have in my entire lifetime. It's always just the darks - and the stains are terrible. My boys attend a parochial school - dark uniforms. I've literally spent thousands and thousands of dollars on uniforms! The stains do NOT come out. I've had it on lights, too - but it's most visible on darks. It's maddening. I've had the repairman out on numerous visits - he just scratches his head and shrugs his shoulders. There's nothing wrong. There is no grease in the machine - leaking or otherwise. We do not use fabric softeners of any kinds and we have a water softener in our home. We use "Sears" brand detergent - the one they recommend with this washer and maybe THAT is the problem. The repairman did warn me that people tend to overload the washing machines of any size and that the front-loads, especially, are not designed for this. They use far less water and do not handle large loads well (then why make them?). I absolutely cannot believe that THIS many people have this problem and yet Sears (or the soap manufacturer) claims ignorance. I will try the Dawn and see if it helps, but in the meantime, I swear I get a "safer" load of clothes washed at the laundry mat! (08/28/2007)
First of all, DO NOT WAIT TO CLEAN THE STAIN. DO NOT LAUNDER FIRST! I clean clothes for the church give away, and I found that by getting auto grease stains out MOST OF THE TIME, is to put warm to hot water in a pan or sink with a scoop of Oxyclean powder in the water and let the article soak for 4 or so hours. then put in washer and clean as usual.
FOR FOOD GREASE STAINS, I get wonderful results by using the local store brand of PINESOL! Dip it FULL STRENGTH, on the clothing spots and then put in washer and wash with like color clothes. DO NOT USE THE BLUE COLORED STUFF (IT COULD STAIN) BUT THE CLEAR OR AMBER COLOR WILL WORK. Good Luck! (11/01/2007)
I too am suffering from the mysterious grease stains. It's not the water or the washing machine. It generally only affects blue/lilac shirts but that may be because the stains are harder to see on paler colours. I have tried not putting the plastic ball with detergent in the machine, tried smaller loads, tried the Oxy cleaner additives. Gradually, my son's blue shirts have got more and more grease stains. Every week they get washed twice - generally on their own at 60 degrees and that helps.
I suspect the fabric softener? I will try without next time. You would expect someone somewhere to know how these marks are caused! (11/11/2007)
By Carole J.
Ok, I still have these stains, yet I don't use dryer sheets. So it must be coming from the washer? Yes, no? Ugh. (12/21/2007)
I just had this problem happen on my washing machine (with two brand new sets of off white, beige sheets) and this is the third washing machine that I've gone through with this problem. I am certain it is not the fabric softener because I do not use it. I, unlike most of the other posters, get it on my light clothing mostly. It's as if my machine is possessed and decides which loads to ruin and which ones not too. I'm inclined to think that it is the hoses or the transmission oil leaking into the machine. I cannot get the stains out. I've googled, ivillaged and asked Jeeves and no one seems to know the actual answer to the problem that is not limited to Sears washers. I am certain it is isn't the dryer because I see the stains before I put the clothing into the dryer.
I will keep checking back to see if anyone meets the mysterious grease fairy who holds the answer that will solve all of our problems and make our domestically challenged lives A LOT better! (12/23/2007)
By Brown Eyes
Try putting UNSEASONED meat tenderizer on the stains. If it is seasoned it will stain.
PS do these stains often come in different colors? You could be having a deodorant problem. (01/11/2008)
Hey Ladies I'm just arguing with a company called Haier in Australia They make really cheap crappy washing machines. So I was looking for proof to put in my email and found this. The stains are from a leaking transmission shaft.
Oil Spots on the Clothes-
Top Load Machines
Oil spots on your laundry could be the result of a bad seal around the agitator shaft. This causes water to leave the tub and run down into the transmission. Since the transmission oil is physically lighter than water, it leaves the transmission and floats into the tub. At the same time, water stays in the transmission & spin bearing areas.
The only fix is a new transmission, bearing and seal. This is a very expensive and difficult repair, and the cost may not be worth doing on an older unit.
Other causes for stains include buildups of fabric softener inside the agitator (if so equipped) and on the inside of the outer tub. These residues appear as a brownish-yellow stain and can usually be removed by hand with hot water and detergent. Most residues and buildup can be removed from the machine with a treatment of a commercial product, such as Washer Magic. We do not advocate the use of liquid fabric softeners for two reasons.
They create a residual sludge in the outer wash tub over time.
They make your fabrics waterproof to a degree , causing them to yellow & not clean properly.
It is far better to use the disposable dryer sheets to minimize both issues.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (01/12/2008)
By Andrew F.
I too am so glad it's not just happening to me!! This rarely happens when my husband does laundry. (Maybe because he doesn't do it as much as I do). It's gotten to the point where I am getting mad and throwing my daughter's pants on the floor.. Like they got a spot on purpose :) After reading through everyone's entries.. I have tried all the various remedies too. I think it has something to do with the concentrated detergents too.
Era even mentions that if you get a stain like this, pretreat with Era and re-wash. This does work, and also Shout seems to work too. After walking through the process with my husband, the differences are he always uses warm water, loads the detregent in, and lets the water fill up before loading the clothes. He , puts water in the fabric softner dispenser and puts minimal softner in. This seems to happen mostly to browns, blues, and reds at our house. If someone has a sure fire resolution you could make millions! Good luck everyone! (01/14/2008)
By Susan D. (Michigan)
I had a service man look at our washer. In 3 minutes he said it was a loose bearing that was causing the stains. Common problem but would cost $700.00 to repair. Also said to use high efficiency detergent. (01/14/2008)
For those who bought a new washer - did the guys delivering it lay it down or on its side? If so, the oil from the transmission may have seeped out. We had our one-year old washer repaired because when they loaded the washer in our van, they laid it down to fit. We continued to have spots. I noticed on the transmission box when the repairman brought it said to keep upright and to not lay on its side. Interesting that the appliance seller did not know this! (01/15/2008)
Does anyone think it's from putting in the soap (i use liquid) directly on the clothes instead of letting the water and soap mix throughly? (01/23/2008)
I am so glad I'm not alone in this problem. We have just had Sears replace our 7 month old washing machine because they had no idea what causes these stains on dark clothes. They claim to have never heard of this before. Even the repairman was stumped. Our house is brand new, the machine hoses are new, I don't use fabric softener as my son is allergic, we use dryer balls and nothing I have tried gets these spots out. If anyone has any other ideas I would love to hear them. (01/27/2008)
By Rae-Dawn D.
We recently purchased a front load washer, and you put the detergent in a tray and then it's dispensed throughout the cycle, and we still have the grease spots appearing on our clothes. So I don't think they come from pouring the detergent directly on the clothes. We thought it was our old washer or dryer causing the spots, but apparently not. (02/01/2008)
One writer said her husband didn't have the problem when he did the laundry... and he uses WARM WATER. Is it possibly the cold water laundering -- maybe in addition to the concentrated detergents -- that's causing the problem? Has anyone tried using warm water to see if it solves the problem?
When you discover the stains out of the dryer put Dawn directly on the stain work in and then add warm water. Let sit for a while and then rewash. It gets most of the stain out of the closes. It happens in my wash more with cotton clothing. I have no idea what it is from, I'm working to solve the mystery. (02/13/2008)
By nj jersey
At last, our own Support Community. We are like those who claimed to have been abducted by aliens; only those who have ACTUALLY experienced this phenomenon can relate and "stick together, even though others have yet to suffer this mysterious happening". And I am was ready to blame it on the little green men, or greys or what ever color they happen to claim; and if they are dark enough, the stains WILL show on them too!
Well, all kidding aside, after reading most of the postings about this major hassle, and having experienced the same issues with the stains appearing randomly, or in cycles (excuse the pun), and washing out one time, and then not the next time, and re-washing 3,4, 5 times with every conceivable combination of with and withouts, the only thing that I have found that works for my stain demons is a product called Miracle II.
If you go online to www.miracle2online.com you can purchase this product at the lowest price I have found. We started using this product for EVERYTHING, and I mean everything. It literally does what it claims to be able to do in every aspect of your daily living. And when I use it on the stains and it the wash consistently, the stains almost completely disappear from reoccurring.
This soap is natural and will improve not only the stain issue, but the color of your clothes and clean our the machine as well. We have been in a financial slump for some time now, and we were not able to purchase the soap, and low and behold the stains returned. So, just tonight, I went online and got at least ONE 22oz bottle to save my sanity, and my laundry. It is my hope that you will find relief for yourselves as well! Launderers UNITE! God be with us all!
By Tammy and Glenn
I am having the same problem with the oil looking spots on my dark laundry. I too thought it was my old washer and dryer so I replaced them with brand new top of the line front loaders. No use, same problem. I know it is not fabric softener either. I do not know what is causing the problem but I am concerned. Has anyone questioned the water company about testing the water coming out of the faucet? (02/21/2008)
If you are seeing these Mysterious stains are you using a water softener? I am and I too have the same dark stains. I am not sure if that is the cause or if it is some chemical reaction with the soap. I have replaced my washer as many of you have as well. I am in a new house and the hoses are new too.
This has got to be some chemical reaction to the soap and/or soft water. I bet it is the soap as most if not all soap makers have changed their formulas in recent years. This will probably turn out to be some new chemical from CHINA. (02/23/2008)
Excellent. At least i know now that I'm not a crappy housewife or laundress! I am convinced that it is because I put the soap in the water and don't let it fill up first; the soap has no chance to dissolve in the water, particularly not if I use cold water, and especially because I'm probably crowding my washer, eeks! (03/07/2008)
This happening to me too! I don't know what to do. It only happens on dark clothes. I drives me crazy!
It is the combination of the fabric softener and detergent that causes these greasy black stains on your clothing. Apply detergent directly to it, scrub it a little and wash as usual to take the stains out. To prevent the stains be sure the two chemicals never come into contact with one another. Use your automatic fabric softener dispenser (unless it's broken) or be sure to dilute your fabric softener and only use it in the final rinse phase... never when there is detergent present. (03/21/2008)
By Ask Mom
We are having the same problem. It is SO worrisome! We've tried washing everything inside out, what a pain, same problem. The posting about the transmission oil floating to the top makes sense. These stains mainly appear on my toddler's clothes and some of my shirts. NONE of my husbands clothes ever get the stains. Neither do any of our jeans. Maybe the lighter weight clothes "float" to the top and the heavy clothes my husband wears stay at the bottom, hence the stain problem only on my son's clothes. We don't use fabric softener and only use Cheer Free powder. (03/26/2008)
Its the dryer fabric softener sheets --They have a coating of wax on the. It took me a long time to discover the answer to this mystery!(04/10/2008)
I have also had this expensive problem happen to me. I have had to throw out so many clothes due to the stains that appear on them after washing. I have an older washing machine but this has happened to my clothes using other machines as well. What is the problem??? It is driving me crazy. I didn't know that Dawn will remove the stains so I will at least try that. Thanks. (04/10/2008)
Wow - I can not believe this many people have the same problem as I do!!! I've had the repairman come out 3 times in the last year 'cause it's a new washer and they talk to me like it's my fault and insist it's nothing to do with the washer. I stopped using fabric softener and use warm water and let the tub fill up first and it's still continuing to happen. It's so annoying having a man come out and basically tell you you don't know how to wash clothes. I've only been washing clothes for 25-30 years, so what do I know?
I did see one interesting thing about the wax on the dryer sheets? But like others, the stains are already on the clothes before going into the dryer.
It makes me feel better reading all your entries and know I'm not alone. Thank you. (04/24/2008)
I am beyond infuriated with this problem and am wondering if there are any new insights on it!? We have had this problem for over 3 years. I used to think it was an old washer in a house we rented, then I thought it was an old washer in the house we bought. After reading I can see that my being in the market for a new washer might not solve the problem either. I do wonder what the best washers are to avoid this if there are any. It happens all the time to me, hardly ever to my hubby(!)of course. I will try any suggestions. I am desperate! It especially happens to dark clothing. Is liquid detergent worse than powder for this problem, anyone know? I am glad to know I am not alone - had no idea this was such a widespread problem - why doesn't someone do something to solve it - they might make a million!
Wow. I don't feel alone in this conundrum anymore. Although, there is still no definitive answer to the dark spots! Maybe we are the chosen ones! What does help fade the spot after you have dried it & noticed it, put talc on it & rub, it seems to soak up the oil. Then re- wash at some stage. (05/01/2008)
To remove grease stains from clothing (black grease from vehicles) use bathing soap - the milder the better! Works like a charm.
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)
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)
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)
To remove grease and/or oil stains from clothing I prerub the areas with TIDE liquid detergent.