How To Remove Grease From Clothes: Home Remedies And Simple Tips

by Taylor

There are many techniques for how to remove grease from clothes.

No wonder, since food oil and grease stains are some of the most common, since we all get food splatters while cooking, or drip a little oil or grease on ourselves while eating. That means we've all figured out ways to try to remove these stains.

These stains can be difficult to remove, if you don't treat them quickly, or accidentally let them go through the dryer untreated, they can set permanently.

However, using some of these simple home remedies and tips below you can easily remove these little drips and dribbles of oil and grease from washable fabrics and clothing.

how to remove grease stains from clothes
I've collected several tips from readers, and from video tips around the web. As you can see many of them are slight variations on the same theme -- using dish soap to remove the stain (although there are some other techniques too).

If you've got even more methods or tips for how to remove grease from clothes though, I'd love to hear them. You can share your tips here, or read other tips already submitted below.

(Please note this page is devoted to removing oil and grease splatters and spots that come from food. If you need to learn how to remove mechanical oil and grease, then here's the page for you!)

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Get Grease Stains Out Of Your Clothes With Dishwashing Liquid

A easy and effective way to get out grease stains from your clothes is to use Dawn dish soap, or another hand dishwashing liquid.

(Don't get this confused with a similar method of using dishwasher detergent to remove stains -- it is meant for different types of stains than grease!)

I've collected a couple of videos below that show you how to use dishwashing liquid in just this way.

It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Some people are a bit skeptical because it is so simple. However, just like dish soap removes grease from your dishes it can do the same thing on your clothes.

The important thing to remember is to use just a little, and then rinse out the soap before you throw the item in the washing machine. This is especially important if you've got an HE washing machine because too much soap will cause too much sudsing which can be bad for your machine.

dish soap uses for cleaning and stain removal
Please note that some people swear you need to use light or non-colored dishwashing liquid, so you don't stain your clothes with the dye from the soap itself, but I personally have not had a problem using even green or blue dishsoap.

What about you? Anyone ruin clothes using a dark colored dish soap while trying to get the grease out of their clothes? ***Update - scroll down to see a comment from Mary who also hasn't had a problem with colored soaps.***

You can read more dish soap uses here for cleaning and stain removal. This really is such a versatile cleaning product for many areas in your home and laundry!

Photo by dyobmit

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How To Remove Cooking Oil Stains From Clothes - With Video

Everyone gets cooking oil stains and splatters on themselves occasionally while cooking.

Sometimes it seems like you can never get those stains out when they go through the wash.

This video below demonstrates how to get these cooking oil stains out of your clothes by simply using dishwashing liquid, and rubbing in the dishwashing liquid with an old toothbrush.

I've got another video of a similar technique below.

Taylor says: Here are links to buy this or related products. If you make a purchase I receive a small commission which helps support this site and my family.

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How To Remove Grease Stains From Fabric

Below is a second video which gives hints and tips for how to remove food based grease stains from washable clothing.

It too discusses the home remedy of dish soap, which is what was shown above, but adds some additional tips and tricks for especially stubborn stains you're dealing with.

According to this video the ingredients needed for cooking and food grease stain removal include:

One of the most interesting parts of the video is the suggestion that for really stubborn grease stains to replace half of the laundry detergent with baking soda.

This makes sense since the alkalinity of the baking soda does help cut grease (you can learn more about uses for baking soda here).

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I Don't Think You've Got To Use Clear Dish Soap For Removing Laundry Stains

by Mary

There has been some discussion about whether you've got to use a clear dish soap on your grease stains, or can use a colored soap when you remove grease from clothes. Mary shared her quick thought on this issue.

Mary says:

I use dishwashing liquid for lots of laundry stains, and I just use whatever color I have on hand for my dishes.

I have never had a problem with staining because of the dishwashing liquid being something other than clear.

Taylor says:

Thanks so much Mary for sharing your experience.

I concur with you. I've never personally had a problem with using a colored soap when removing grease from clothes using the dish soap method.

I'd love to hear from others to hear their experiences too on this issue. Do you think you need to use a clear dish soap, or will colored soaps, like Blue Dawn, work just as well?

You can share your opinions here, while also sharing how you use dish soap to make homemade cleaners or stain removers.

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Pretreat Stain With Liquid Laundry Detergent

by Kathleen

Here's a similar suggestion to dish soap that also works for many people.

Kathleen says:

I just use the same liquid laundry detergent I wash my clothes with (Tide Sport with Febreeze), and pour a small amount directly on the stain (just enough to cover the stain) and let it sit for a couple of hours.

It even works after the item has been dried in the dryer.

After you wash it as you regularly would the stain will be gone.

Taylor says:

Thanks for your tip Kathleen!

Kathleen says she uses Tide for this purpose. I've had a lot of luck, as have others, using Wisk as a pretreater.

Anyone else have suggestions for what liquid detergents work well for them for this purpose?

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Use Chalk To Remove Oil Stains

by Ruth

Simplest solution ever - take a piece of ordinary white chalkboard chalk.

Rub over stain or spatters.

Leave to sit a few minutes.

You will quickly begin to see the outline of the stain in the chalk.

Wash as you normally would.

If the stain isn't completely gone, repeat.

I have used this on old, old stains and it has taken them right out.

No damage to sensitive fabrics either.

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Photo courtesy of srgpicker

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How To "Reactivate" Old Or Dried Oil Stains To Get Out The Spot

by SR101 Reader

SR101 Reader says:

Old oil stains and oil stains that have gotten washed and dried can be "reactivated" by using a small amount of WD40.

It allows you to treat set in oil spots like they just happened!

Taylor says:

Thanks so much for the tip, since it seems like no matter how careful we are sometimes we miss these stains before they get both washed and dried!

There are actually so many uses for WD-40 around your home for cleaning, stain removal and more, so check out my round up of tips if you're interested!

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Hand Sanitizer Can Cut Grease And Oil Stains On Clothing

Have you ever been out and about and gotten oil or grease on your clothing from something you ate?

A quick tip for treating the stain right then it to get out your alcohol-based hand sanitizer and give a quick squirt onto the stain.

You then just rinse or sponge the spot with cool water, and dry yourself under the hand dryer in the bathroom.

It's the alcohol in the hand sanitizer cuts through that oily stain, so it doesn't set into your washable clothing.

Once you are home make sure to launder the item soon, so you do not leave any alcohol residue in the clothing for too long.

Taylor says: Here are links to buy this or related products. If you make a purchase I receive a small commission which helps support this site and my family.

You may also want to try the dish soap method at that time, but the hand sanitizer can keep the grease stain from setting in the mean time before you can treat it with this other home remedy.

Hint: Make sure if you are going to do this that you use a hand sanitizer which is alcohol based, and that it does not contain lotions or aloe, or something like that to "condition" your hands.

If it contains these ingredients it will just leave its own greasy film on your clothing from the lotion or aloe. (You can learn more about additional uses for hand sanitizer here, or share your own ways to use this product!)

So those are the methods I've gathered so far for how to remove grease from clothes. Do you have another method you'd like to share? If so, you can also submit your own tip for how to remove oil stains here, if you have one.

Also note that if you're looking for how to remove motor oil or grease from clothes you can check out my page all about motor oil and grease removal.

Related Links On This Site

Stain Removal Tips & Tricks For Busy Moms

Grease And Oil Stain Removal

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Comments for Hand Sanitizer Can Cut Grease And Oil Stains On Clothing

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To Remove Set-In Grease stains
by: Anonymous

The original Watkins Degreaser will take all grease stains out in clothes, even ones that have been through the dryer. Just cover the spot, let it sit overnight, in the washer it goes. Be sure it is the original formula. They changed it once and it wasn't for the better. No I am not selling it, I have been a consultant just to be able to get it at cost. Now I just order it when I need it.

I use K2R
by: Anonymous

I have been using the product K2R (affiliate) for years and years. It comes in a spray can and once sprayed on your stain it dries in a powdery residue after it soaks up the oil. Usually you have to wash the article afterward.

Talcum or baby powder
by: Anonymous

ASAP sprinkle with talcum or baby powder. Brush it off when it looks soaked up.

Fabric and Soap Combo makes a difference
by: Kathy

I have found that Dawn on knit silk fabric works best, but for cotton knit my Tide is best to pre-treat grease.

It really works
by: Christina K

This does work and I didn't have dawn on hand. But my husband's dark denim jeans had a big spot and my light color jeans which a lot worse then his I thought mine was ruined for sure. But I did this dish soap and tooth brush. And they look pretty good a couple spots but not bad. The one thing I didn't do was rinse with hot water before washing in machine. I wouldn't be doing them again I bet. IT WORKS I do like Dawn better and I have never stained any clothes using it. Oh and the oil was from a bowl spilling on the jeans and my husband was unaware so they sat for 2-3 days before I saw them on laundry day. :)

Yep, blue Dawn!
by: Kathy

I have been using Blue Dawn dish soap on my clothes for years. Best thing for greasy dishes also.

Blue Dawn
by: Anonymous

I use the blue Dawn dish soap. I work at Frito-Lay and get covered in oils and seasonings. Takes it right out.

expensive dress
by: Debbie

I use the detergent that I use for washing my clothes. Sometimes it also removes some of the color. I recently had this problem with an expensive dress. I think I'll buy a marker (or sharpie) to recolor it. It broke my heart.

Delicate fabric!! Help!
by: Amy

Ok so I bought a Ralph Lauren puffer vest online that was supposed to be in "great" condition as it looked practically new in the pictures. When I opened the package and pulled it out, there were oil stains all over it!! I can't return it so now I'm stuck with this crappy vest!! My best guess is that the spots came from an oily hair product but I'm not entirely sure. It's also probably been dried in the dryer. The colors are a bright pink and blue so I don't want to fade it by using harsh chemicals. The material is 100% polyester with down fill on the inside. Please help!! Thank you.

Ground in stains
by: Anonymous

I have ground in oil and grease stains. Will dish soap get it out?

washing soda
by: Av

I use washing soda and either soak or just add with washing powder for stains. Emergency treatment is moist hand wipes.

Old Stains
by: Norma

I think people give up too easily and throw clothes that are stained away. I've had set in stains that had gone through the dryer (grease stains) that required treatment with dish soap, liquid laundry detergent applied directly, stain sticks or W-D40. it took several washes (sometimes 3-6), but the stains usually came out. Of course, avoid putting them in the dryer until the stain is gone. I've saved a lot of t-shirts and other items that way.

Basic Chemistry at work
by: Anonymous

Success depends on basic chemistry. Soaps and detergents bind to both non-polar, oily material and polar water, so the emulsified mix can be washed away. Stubborn car grease and oils may be 'diluted' first with other oils, like glycerin soap or Murphy's oil soap, blotted with powders or rags, rinsed in naptha (safer solvent), optional orange-based hand cleaner paste. Last, move to powdered detergent pre-treat paste, and launder not on hot temps.

Hand sanitizer = alcohol solution = medium solvent equivalent. WD40 = oily solvent, stronger. Other 'homemade' solutions fit into the above progression, from non-polar to polar, and combinations or out-of-sequence mixes thwart the basic principles by diluting or counteracting the sequence.

several methods that work
by: carolynles

I have had good luck with Dawn dish soap, squirt, rub, let set, wash.

My friend swears by VO5 shampoo. She buys the travel size. Never has had anything not come out.

What happened to Grease Relief? That was good too.

by: Anonymous

I use Lestoil, pour on stain. Let set 5-10 min. Wash in warmest water for fabric. I think directions are on bottle.

by: Marianne

I have an oily salad dressing stain on an ironing board cover, that has the cleaning instructions of "wipe clean with damp cloth" only. I blotted the spill immediately but it's definitely still there. I need to remove it so that it won't transfer to any clothes that I iron. I have no problem throwing the cover in the wash, however since that's not the "garment" instructions, I do not want to ruin the polyester batting on the back side. Thanks!

Get the Grease Out!
by: Anonymous

I have used D&L -the product auto mechanics uses to clean up at the end of the day. Glob it on the stain, scrub it in with a washcloth or brush, then wash normally. It doesn't just work on greasy hands, but greasy clothes too!

by: mommylawyer

A few squirts of spray-on OxyClean about five minutes before washing have been successful for removing oil stains from my clothing - whether fresh or previously washed in!

by: Marie

I use shampoo, works every time. Even after you have dried the clothes it works. Just don't use colored on light clothes, it will stain. Clear or white works the best.

Eucalyptus oil
by: Dawn

The best kept secret for oil stains. Eucalyptus oil, rub on the spot and wash as usual. AWESOME!

WD-40 Trick
by: Anonymous

How long do you leave the WD-40 on a set on stain before you treat the stain using the other methods above?

Hand cleaner always works
by: Dena

For years we have been using Goop Hand Cleaner on food grease stains. It works on old and new stains alike. Saturate the stain with Goop, wait a few minutes, then launder in the hottest wash possible. We learned this trick from my in-laws who owned a trucking business --cleans greasy hands, cleans greasy clothes!

stain left by chap stick
by: Anonymous

My son washed his chapstick with some of his clothes. He didn't notice it until after the dryer. What can we use to remove the chapstick stains?

baby powder
by: JR

I use baby powder. Just put it on the stain, let it sit for a few minutes and it soaks up all of the grease. Best/easiest remedy ever!

shampoo when traveling
by: Home Economist

I have great success with shampoo. I use what is in the hotel. Just as it removes oils from hair it works on clothes too.

by: Anonymous

Just rub the grease stain with regular old white school chalk and poof, all gone!

response re butter stain
by: Taylor

Ginger, the suggestions below will work on most any type of oily stain from food, which would include butter, so hopefully the ideas above will help! You can also check out my butter stain removal guide here.

Buttered corn on the cob
by: Ginger Smith

Help. I was eating buttered corn on the cob and dropped it on my teal denim skirt. How do I get this out of my favorite skirt?

Burger King grease in my clothing
by: Teri

I work at Burger King and cannot seem to get the grease out of my uniform (pants, shirt and apron). Even extremely hot water doesn't do the trick. My clothes are just weighted down by the grease. Any ideas on how to get it out?

Oily food stains
by: Lois

I need a definitive answer. How can I get oily food (butter, salad dressing) food stains out of cotton/poly fabrics? It is not possible to tell if the stain is gone after washing, the fabric must be dried to tell, so often these are dryer-set stains.

How can I get these stains out?

I really need an answer that works.

oily food stain from men's shirt
by: Julie

My husband's shirts seem to have oily food stains on the front. He drips food while eating in front of the TV. I tried ammonia and warm soap but no help.

response re spots that have gone through the dryer
by: Taylor

Allison, I know how frustrating that is. You didn't see the stains until it was all said and done, and now you're afraid they might be set. Well, unfortunately you may be right, because the older ones or those that have been set with heat from the dryer are much much more stubborn. I would still try the methods listed above. If you're not comfortable trying WD-40, if the dish soap method doesn't seem to be cutting it now, I would also suggest trying Lestoil. This is a rather hard to find product, but many people swear by it for oil and grease removal for both the mechanical and food varieties. You can click the link and go to my article and reader reviews of this product. It's definitely worth a try! Good luck!

Old oil stain that's gone through the dryer
by: Allison

I didn't notice cooking oil splattered on my blouse, washed and dried it, and then saw the stains. Help, this was a new expensive shirt, and I would really like to save it.

response re spot in hand wash garment
by: Taylor

Hi! The instructions and suggestions above should work just as well for the hand wash garment as for a machine wash, in theory. It really depends what your fabric is made of to determine if putting dish soap on it will be safe. However, if you choose a mild dishwashing liquid and scrub very gently in general I would not be too concerned, and would think it would work. However, if you're concerned you can always spot test first, in an inconspicuous area, to make sure the soap doesn't harm the fabric.

set cooking oil on hand wash garment
by: Anonymous

I have an oil mark on a hand wash garment and unfortunately I didn't discover it until I had washed it. I did hand wash in cold and hung it on the clothes line to dry. Is there anyway to remove this oil mark?

response to Paul
by: Taylor

Paul, again these methods above should work for you for fryer grease stains. The only caution I would give is that I don't know what type of coat you have. Any coat that can be washed in the washing machine, this will work. However, if the coat requires special care, such as dry cleaning, that's a whole different ball park not addressed in this particular article. You may want, in that instance, to check out the suggestions in this article about food oil stain removal more generally, as well as consider trying dry cleaning solvent on the stain.

how to remove fryer oil stain from coat?
by: Paul

How do you get oil and grease stains off of coat?

response to Pat
by: Taylor

Pat, all of the suggestions above should work well for greasy stains from friend chicken, same as any other greasy foods!

food grease
by: Pat

How do you get grease out of blouse after eating fried chicken?

Been using Dawn for years
by: Karen

I have been using Dawn to remove grease stains from clothing for years. It has never stained my clothing and I use it on all colors and type fabrics if they are washable (I use the dark blue Dawn Ultra). I also have an HE washing machine and never rinse the clothing before washing. Such a small amount is needed that sudsing is not an issue. I only apply enough to cover the stain and leave overnight.

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