Gray Henley with grease spots on the front

How to Remove Grease Stains from Clothes

The faster you treat a grease stain the easier it is to get out. But don’t worry–there are methods to remove old grease stains from clothes, even after they dry. Treating greasy food spills, splatters of cooking grease, ointment smears and even things like bike grease is very similar to treating oil stains.

Always check your clothing's care tag before treating specialty fabrics like wool and delicates, which may require dry cleaning.

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Help prevent the spread of a fresh grease stain

Place a piece of cardboard or an old towel in between the stain and the other side of the clothing, to help prevent grease from transferring or spreading to a clean section of fabric while you treat it.

Gray shirt with grease stains and a cup of blue detergent next to it

HOW TO GET GREASE STAINS OUT OF COTTON AND SYNTHETIC FABRIC

  1. Scrape off excess grease with a butter knife, then blot gently with a clean, white paper towel or cloth to remove as much grease as possible. Using paper towels with printed patterns can cause a transfer of color onto your clothing.

  2. Gently rub liquid dish soap (for handwashing), stain pretreatment or liquid enzyme detergent into the stain and let sit for 10 minutes. If using liquid dish soap for handwashing, be sure to fully remove the soap by rinsing thoroughly before placing the item in the washer. 

  3. Rinse or machine wash in the warmest water recommended on the care tag. 

  4. Line dry. Never machine dry anything that has ever had any type of grease on it, as no washer can completely remove grease and could result in fire. Heat can set stains that aren’t completely removed. If the stain remains, repeat the steps above if necessary.
Blue detergent being applied to grease stains

HOW TO REMOVE GREASE STAINS FROM WOOL, KNITS & OTHER DELICATES

  1. Scrape off excess grease with a knife if necessary, then blot gently with a clean, white paper towel or cloth to remove as much as possible.

  2. Mix a mild detergent in the warmest water recommended on the care tag. You can also use liquid dish soap (for handwashing), stain pretreatment or liquid enzyme detergent.

  3. Gently rub your cleaning solution into the stain and let sit for 10 minutes. If using liquid dish soap for handwashing, be sure to fully remove the soap by rinsing thoroughly before placing the item in the washer.

  4. Rinse or machine wash with cold water or dry clean, depending on the care tag instructions.

  5. Line dry. Never machine dry anything that has ever had any type of grease on it, as no washer can completely remove grease and could result in fire. Heat can set stains that aren't completely removed.
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Don’t wait until stains happen

Arm yourself with methods to fight tough stains. Learn more stain removal tips so you can act fast when they arise.

Gray shirt soaking in bucket of soapy water and shirt dry after being cleaned.

How to remove old grease stains from shirts & pants

  1. Scrape and blot liquid dish soap (for handwashing), stain pretreatment or liquid enzyme detergent into the stain and let sit for 10 minutes. If using liquid dish soap for handwashing, be sure to fully remove the soap by rinsing thoroughly before placing the item in the washer. 

  2. Soak in warm or hot water for at least 30 minutes. Dissolve some store-bought stain fighter or detergent in the water if desired. 

  3. Wash in the warmest water recommended on the care tag. 

  4. Line dry. Never machine dry anything that has ever had any type of grease on it, as no washer can completely remove grease and could result in fire. Heat can set stains that aren’t completely removed. 
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For set-in grease stains that won't budge after washing

Try spraying the affected area with a water displacement lubricant like WD-40® to reactivate the stain, let sit for 15-30 minutes and then try the liquid dish soap treatment again.


Hand wash only, as water displacement lubricants may be flammable and residue may remain. Clean by soaking in a detergent and water solution. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Mix a new solution of detergent and water and repeat treatment until no odor of grease remains. Rinse in clean water.

Line dry only. Never machine dry anything that has ever had any type of grease or flammable product on it because of the risk of fire.

GET MORE TIPS FOR TACKLING LAUNDRY

 

 

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