How to Remove Grease Stains: Tips and Tricks

Grease stains are one of the most frustrating types of stains to deal with. Whether you’re a chef, mechanic, or simply someone who regularly cooks at home, it’s likely that you’ve encountered grease stains on your clothes before. These stubborn stains can be caused by various types of oils and greases, and they have a tendency to stick and spread quickly. In fact, according to a survey conducted by OnePoll, 2 out of 3 Americans have ruined their favorite piece of clothing due to a grease stain. The good news is that with the right techniques and products, you can easily remove these stains and salvage your clothes. In this article, we’ll share some tips and tricks for removing grease stains from clothes, including pre-treatment options and washing machine settings.



Grease stains are a common problem that many people face on a daily basis. Whether it’s from cooking, automotive work, or other sources, grease stains can be tough to remove and can ruin your favorite clothes or upholstery. In this article, we’ll provide you with some tips and tricks for how to get a grease stain out effectively and efficiently.

We’ll cover everything from understanding the causes of grease stains to pre-treating them before washing and selecting the appropriate detergent for different fabrics. We’ll also discuss the safety measures you should take when using strong chemicals and provide examples of specific fabric types and how to handle their unique properties.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what causes grease stains, why they’re so difficult to remove, and how to tackle them head-on. We hope that our insights and tips will help you save your clothes and upholstery from the dreaded grease stain!

Understanding Grease Stains

What Causes Grease Stains?

Cooking oil, automotive grease, and lubricants are common culprits of grease stains. When it comes to cooking oil, splatters from frying pans or spills from salad dressings can easily leave greasy spots on clothes or fabrics. Automotive grease is another type of grease that can leave stubborn stains on hands or work clothing. Mechanics, for example, are often tasked with handling greasy parts or tools. Lubricants, such as machine oil or motor oil, can also leave unsightly stains that are difficult to remove.

The reason why these substances cause grease stains lies in their chemical composition. Grease is a mixture of fatty acids and oils that are liquid at room temperature. Cooking oil, for instance, contains triglycerides that break down into glycerol and fatty acids when heated. These fatty acids can penetrate fabrics and cling onto fibers, resulting in stains that are hard to wash out. Similarly, automotive grease and lubricants contain petroleum-based oils that can bond with fabrics and become deeply ingrained.

It’s important to note that not all types of grease are the same. Different types of grease have different properties and are used for varying purposes. For instance, lithium grease is commonly used in automotive and industrial applications due to its resistance to extreme temperatures and water. Calcium sulfonate grease, on the other hand, is preferred for marine applications due to its superior water resistance.

In conclusion, understanding the causes of grease stains can help individuals take preventative measures and effectively treat stained fabrics. By avoiding contact with cooking oil, wearing protective gear when handling automotive grease, and using appropriate lubricants for specific tasks, the likelihood of grease stains can be reduced.

Why Are Grease Stains So Difficult to Remove?

Grease stains can be a real pain to remove, and part of the reason for this is how they penetrate and bond with fabrics. When grease comes into contact with clothing or other materials, it begins to seep into the fibers, often deep down through several layers. This penetration process makes grease stains more difficult to remove than other types of stains, such as those caused by water-based substances.

Another reason that grease stains are stubborn is that they tend to bond with fabrics via hydrophobic interactions, which means they repel water. This bonding action makes it tough for water-based cleaning agents to attach to the stain and break it down, as they simply slide off the surface without making much of an impact.

Hydration is yet another factor that makes grease stains challenging to get rid of. Due to their hydrophobic nature, grease stains do not absorb into fabrics like other types of stains. Instead, they sit on top of the fibers and resist any attempts by water-based cleaners to hydrate them. The result is that the grease tends to remain in place, even after washing, because it has not been fully dissolved.

In short, grease stains are difficult to remove because they penetrate deeply, bond strongly, and resist hydration. To effectively remove these types of stains, pre-treatment and the use of powerful solvents are often necessary. Additionally, proper washing machine settings and carefully selected detergents can make all the difference in the success of stain removal. By understanding why grease stains are such a challenge, we can take steps to combat them and keep our clothing looking clean and fresh.

Pre-Treatment of Grease Stains

Immediate Action to Take for Fresh Stains

When it comes to fresh grease stains, immediate action is key. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove the stain. So what should you do if you get a grease stain on your clothes or fabric? Here are some tips for taking immediate action:


The first thing you should do is blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel. This will help to remove any excess grease and prevent it from spreading further. Be sure to blot gently, as rubbing the stain can cause it to penetrate deeper into the fabric fibers.


Once you have blotted the stain, it’s time to soak the affected area in warm water. You can add a few drops of dish soap or laundry detergent to the water to help break down the grease. Let the fabric soak for at least 30 minutes, or longer if necessary.


If the grease stain is particularly stubborn, you may need to scrape it off with a plastic utensil or a spoon. Be careful not to damage the fabric in the process, and avoid using anything sharp that could cut or tear the material.

By following these simple steps, you can effectively remove fresh grease stains from your clothes or fabric. Remember to take action as soon as possible, and don’t give up if the stain doesn’t come out right away. With a little patience and persistence, you can restore your fabric to its original condition.

Using Detergents or Solvents for Set-In Stains

When it comes to set-in grease stains, sometimes pre-treatment may not be enough to remove the stain. In such cases, using detergents or solvents can help break down and dissolve the grease, making it easier to remove.

One of the most common detergents used for grease stains is laundry detergent. Laundry detergents are specifically designed to remove tough stains from clothes, including grease stains. To use laundry detergent for set-in grease stains, simply apply a small amount of detergent directly onto the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before washing the garment as usual.

Another common option is dish soap. Dish soap is also effective in breaking down grease stains due to its powerful degreasing properties. To use dish soap for set-in grease stains, mix a small amount of dish soap with warm water and soak the stained area for 30 minutes before washing the garment as usual.

For tougher stains, ammonia can be used as a solvent. Ammonia is a strong alkaline solution that can dissolve grease and oil stains effectively. However, it is important to use caution when handling ammonia as it can be toxic if ingested or inhaled. To use ammonia for set-in grease stains, mix equal parts of water and ammonia and apply it directly onto the stain. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before washing the garment as usual.

Lastly, white vinegar is another great option for removing set-in grease stains. White vinegar contains acetic acid which helps break down and dissolve grease stains. To use white vinegar for set-in grease stains, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and apply it directly onto the stain. Let it sit for 30 minutes before washing the garment as usual.

In conclusion, using detergents or solvents can be an effective way to remove set-in grease stains. Although laundry detergent and dish soap are safer options, ammonia and white vinegar can also be used for tougher stains. It is important to always follow instructions carefully and use caution when handling strong chemicals.

Safety Measures When Using Strong Chemicals

When it comes to removing tough grease stains, you might be inclined to reach for a strong chemical cleaner. However, it’s important to take proper safety measures before using these products to prevent any harm to yourself or your household.

One of the most crucial safety measures is to wear protective gloves while handling strong chemicals. Many cleaning products contain harsh ingredients that can cause skin irritation or chemical burns if they come into direct contact with your skin. By wearing gloves, you can protect your hands and avoid any potential injuries.

In addition to wearing gloves, it’s also important to use these products in a well-ventilated area. Strong chemicals can release harmful fumes that can cause respiratory issues if inhaled in large quantities. If possible, open windows or use a fan to circulate air while using these products.

Before using a new cleaning product, it’s always a good idea to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first. This can help you determine if the product is safe to use on a larger scale and whether it will be effective at removing your specific type of grease stain.

Overall, taking proper safety measures when using strong chemicals is crucial for protecting yourself and your surroundings. By following these tips – wearing protective gloves, working in a well-ventilated area, and testing on a small area first – you can ensure a successful and safe cleaning experience.

Washing Clothes with Grease Stains

Choosing the Right Water Temperature

Choosing the Right Water Temperature

When it comes to removing grease stains from your clothes, selecting the right water temperature can make all the difference. Depending on the type of stain and the fabric of your garment, hot, cold, or warm water may be the optimal choice.

Hot Water

Hot water is typically best for removing tough grease stains from cotton or linen fabrics. The high temperature helps to break down the oils and loosen the stain from the fibers of the fabric. However, using hot water can also cause some fabrics to shrink or fade, so it’s important to check the care label before washing.

Cold Water

Cold water is ideal for delicate fabrics or those that are prone to fading or shrinking, such as wool or silk. While cold water may not remove grease stains as effectively as hot water, it can still be effective when used in combination with a quality detergent or pre-treatment solution.

Warm Water

If you’re unsure which temperature to use, warm water can be a safe bet. It’s effective at lifting many types of stains, including grease, while still being gentle enough for most fabrics. Warm water is particularly useful for removing sweat stains from synthetic fabrics like polyester.

Remember, always check the care label on your garment before washing and follow any instructions provided. When in doubt, start with a lower temperature and work your way up if needed. By choosing the right water temperature, you can help ensure that your clothes come out clean and stain-free every time.

Selecting the Appropriate Detergent

When it comes to removing grease stains, selecting the appropriate detergent is crucial. There are a few different types of detergents that can be effective in removing grease, including enzyme-based detergents, oxygen bleach, and fabric softener. Each type of detergent has its own unique properties that make it suitable for different situations.

Enzyme-based detergents are a popular choice for removing grease stains because they contain natural enzymes that break down and dissolve the grease. These enzymes work by attacking the molecules that make up the grease and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Enzyme-based detergents are often used in combination with other cleaning agents, such as surfactants or solvents, to provide even greater grease-fighting power.

Oxygen bleach is another effective detergent for removing grease stains. It contains sodium percarbonate, which reacts with water to release hydrogen peroxide. This reaction creates oxygen bubbles that help to lift the grease from the fabric. Oxygen bleach is particularly useful for removing stubborn, set-in grease stains.

Fabric softener, while not specifically designed for removing grease stains, can help to loosen the grip of the grease on the fabric fibers. It works by coating the fabric fibers with a thin layer of lubricating chemicals, which makes it easier for the grease to be removed during the wash cycle. Fabric softeners are also useful for preventing future stains from setting in, as they create a barrier that repels dirt and grime.

In conclusion, selecting the appropriate detergent is important when it comes to removing grease stains. Enzyme-based detergents, oxygen bleach, and fabric softener are all effective options that can provide varying degrees of grease-fighting power. By understanding the properties of each type of detergent and selecting the one that best suits your needs, you can ensure that your clothes come out of the wash looking clean and fresh.

Tips for Specific Fabric Types

When it comes to removing grease stains, the type of fabric can play a crucial role in determining the success of the stain removal process. Different fabrics require different approaches to avoid damaging the material while effectively eliminating the stubborn grease marks.

Cotton is a popular fabric due to its durability and versatility, but it can be challenging to remove grease stains from it. To get rid of grease stains on cotton clothes, it’s best to use hot water and an enzyme-based detergent. Soak the stained area in the solution for thirty minutes before washing it in the washing machine. Avoid using fabric softeners as they can make the grease stains worse.

Wool is a delicate fabric that requires extra care when removing grease stains. It’s best to use cold water and mild dish soap to pre-treat woolen clothes with grease stains. Apply the soapy solution to the affected area and let it sit for half an hour. Rinse the area with cold water and repeat if necessary. Never use hot water or bleach on wool as it can damage the fabric.

Polyester is another popular fabric that can be challenging to clean once grease stains set in. To remove grease stains from polyester, start by applying a small amount of ammonia to the stained area. Let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes, then rinse the area with warm water and wash with an enzyme-based detergent. Always read the care label on polyester clothing items before attempting to remove grease stains.

In conclusion, removing grease stains from specific fabric types requires a tailored approach to ensure success without damaging the material. Understanding the best techniques for different fabrics can help save your clothes from permanent grease stains.


In conclusion, removing grease stains can be a tricky task, but with the right tools and techniques, it is not impossible. By acting quickly and pre-treating the stain, you can increase your chances of successfully removing it. It’s also important to choose the appropriate washing machine settings and detergent based on the type of fabric you’re dealing with.

Remember to always take safety measures when using strong chemicals and to test them on a small area first to avoid damage. Furthermore, prevention is key in avoiding grease stains altogether. Keep cooking oils and automotive lubricants away from your clothing, and cover your clothes with aprons or protective gear if necessary.

In the end, removing grease stains requires patience and persistence. Don’t give up if your first attempt fails, and keep trying until you achieve the desired results. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to tackle any grease stain that comes your way and keep your clothes looking fresh and clean.
In conclusion, grease stains can be a frustrating issue to deal with, but with the right knowledge and techniques, they don’t have to ruin your clothes. Understanding the cause of grease stains, pre-treating them properly, and washing them appropriately are key steps in successful stain removal. With our tips and tricks, you’ll be able to tackle even the toughest grease stains with ease. Remember to act quickly and use caution when dealing with strong chemicals. By following our guide, you can save money on replacing clothes and reduce waste by prolonging the life of your garments. We hope this article has been helpful and informative, and that you can now confidently remove any grease stains from your clothing!

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