Grease or oil stains can be difficult to remove from clothing. This is a guide about removing grease (oil) stains from clothing.
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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
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!
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!
By EllenB 
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.
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Here are questions related to Removing Grease (Oil) Stains from Clothing.
How can I remove diesel oil and grease from clothing after it has set in?
By Luana M. 09/21/2012
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!
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.
I got oil or grease on a winter jacket. Any ideas?
By Deb Q. from Ottawa, Ontario
By Pete Hazlet 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.
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.
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 barnsma 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.
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.
By Louise B. 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.
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?
How do you remove an oil based stain from a white t shirt?
By Krystal S
By Sheilah Link 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.
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.
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 freebyrdz 04/20/2012
Rub Dawn dish washing liquid onto the stain and throw into the washer.
How do I remove turkey grease from 95% cotton and 5% polyester clothing?
By Louise B. 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.
I need a stain remover to take out set in oil and grease stains. Any suggestions?
By Judy S.
By sissy 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.
How do I removed grease stains from clothes, all types of material?
By pussycat from Birmingham, England
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: http://www.mycleanshirt.com
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
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 :)
How do you remove old grease stains from clothing?
By Sandra from Cyprus
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
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
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
Is there a good homemade formula for removing chocolate or grease stains from cotton clothing?
By Tracy from Kansas City, MO
By Lee 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.
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
By bkvander 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.
My husband got grease from a garlic roll on his wool slacks; please help me to remove this.
By Kathleen from Miami, FL
By Michele 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.
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
By tara73 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.
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
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
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.
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?
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.
How do you remove grease stains from Juicy velour sweat pants?
By Christine Schuyler 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!
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,
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!
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 ciara5 (Guest Post)01/11/2005
i poured juice on my pants and i cant get it out. pleaz help me.
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.
At first I thought that it was our washing machine that caused the little "grease" spots on my shirts.
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
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 was wondering what causes grease like stains on our clothes.
To remove grease stains from clothing (black grease from vehicles) use bathing soap - the milder the better! Works like a charm. By Rukhmin
To remove grease and/or oil stains from clothing I prerub the areas with TIDE liquid detergent.
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