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How To Remove Grease Stains From Clothes

Updated on January 10, 2012

How To Remove Grease Stains From Clothes

There's nothing worse than staining brand new clothing with grease (well ok -- there is, but for the sake of drama we'll pretend there isn't). Fortunately, removing grease stains from clothes is usually a battle worth fighting. So don't give up before giving these tips a whirl!

In this article we'll be dealing with stain removal of all kinds. From cooking oil to thick automotive grease stains, all are worth at salvaging. We'll begin with some techniques that aim to remove the grease entirely, but failing that we'll attempt to minimize the damage of a permanent stain.

As always, if you have any personal suggestions you'd like to include, please let me know in the comments section of the article below and I will include them.

Speed Is Of The Essence

Time is critical in that it allows the stain to "set". While there are some solvents that boast complete stain removal even after a long time, the quicker you act, the better your chances will be.

Let's start with a number of proven, home-friendly solvents (detergents) and methods that have worked time and time again. Before beginning however, try and scrape off as much of the excess grease as you can with a knife and remember that hot water can loosen up the stain and improve your chances.

  • Corn starch and talcum powder - Mixing talcum powder with corn starch and applying it to the stain can work, provided you add a generous sprinkling of time. Generally, the best practice would be leaving the solution to act overnight, but a few hours may be all that's needed.
  • Baking soda - Baking soda works particularly well with cooking stains. Try dampening the stain and rubbing in a little baking soda.
  • Hair Spray - Although it may sound a little odd, spraying hair spray on the stain and then washing (shoot for the highest temperature you can without ruining the fabric) can work like a charm.
  • WD-40 - WD-40 is a commercial solution that gets under stains in 30 minutes and obliterates them. Despite the protected (secretive) ingredients and all-purpose nature of this solvent, it works! This is your best bet with tougher stains.
  • Vinegar - Dampening a cloth with vinegar can work, although you're more likely to just minimize the stain rather than removing it. The secondary benefit of using vinegar however, is that it also removes persistent and unfortunate odors.
  • Laundry Detergent - Mix the detergent with water and gently rub it into the grease stain.

General Pre-Treatment Tips

There are a number of things you can do to improve the chance that the grease stain will come off completely.

  • Use clean white towels to "soak up" as much of the stain as possible without spreading it.
  • As previously mentioned, use hot water to loosen the stain, and a knife to scrape up as much excess grease as you can.
  • Some detergents and home remedies require time.
  • Always double check that the fabric you are dealing with is not going to be damaged by the solvent of choice. The label on the collar can usually clear this question up (or give you sufficient clues).


This concludes this article on how to remove grease stains from clothes, I hope you enjoyed it! If you have an other home remedies I should know about, please let me know!


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    • mary-lambert profile image

      mary-lambert 6 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      That's great, my grandmother used to use lighter fluid to remove stains, but I've never tried to use WD-40. Hey, whatever sticks or squeaks. LOL

    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thank you both for your time and comments!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Very short and to the point. thanks for sharing and here's to many more to share on here.

      Take care and have a great day.


    • lobobrandon profile image

      Brandon Lobo 6 years ago

      Short and informative great work.