How to Get Grease Stains Out of Clothes & Common Surfaces

Updated October 28, 2021
woman doing the laundry

Grease stains are the bane of the clothing world. These non-water-soluble stains are harder to remove and break down, especially if they've set into the fabric. But that doesn't mean your favorite jeans are destined for the trash. With a bit of dish soap, baking soda, and cleaning ingenuity, you kick those grease stains to the curb.

Easy at Home Grease Stain Removal

Grease and oil stains are some of the harder stains to get out of fabrics. This is especially true after they've set within the fabric. However, if you accidentally wipe grease on your favorite tee, it's not instantly destined for the garbage bin. Try out several home remedies proven to work to conquer that grease stain. But first, you'll want to grab a few essentials.

  • Dish soap (highly recommend blue Dawn or Dawn Original)
  • Baking soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Baby powder
  • Chalk
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Old toothbrush
  • Knife or spoon for scraping
  • White cloth

Using Dish Soap on Grease Stains

Using Dish Soap on Grease Stains

Do you know why you use dish soap for dishes? Well, it cuts grease, of course. Therefore, it's a cleaning DIYers go-to when it comes to grease stains. This method works great for most kinds of cotton and polyester.

  1. Place the towel directly under the grease stain. You might need to put it underneath shirts or slacks. This stops it from transferring through to other areas.
  2. Use the spoon to scrape off as much excess grease as possible.
  3. Apply Dawn directly to the greasy area or areas.
  4. Use the toothbrush to work it in. Be gentle for more delicate fabrics.
  5. Allow the soap to sit on the stain for 10 or so minutes. Longer will not hurt anything.
  6. Use your fingers to rub the soap into the fibers.
  7. Wash as usual using cold water.
  8. Hang to dry.

Do not dry the garment until you are sure the stain is gone. The heat can set it in. If the stain remains, you can repeat or try another method.

How to Get Grease Stains Out With Baking Soda or Cornstarch

You put a box of baking soda into your fridge because it absorbs odors. Well, it does the same thing for grease. You might try baking soda for materials like corduroy, wool, chenille, and velvet. It will even help remove dried blood stains, so it's a good product to keep on hand.

  1. Put something under the stain to stop it from transferring.
  2. Remove any excess oil or grease by scraping it off.
  3. Apply baking soda or cornstarch directly to the stain. (You want it to cover it completely.)
  4. Allow it to sit for 10-20 minutes. You'll notice the color starts to change as it absorbs the oil.
  5. Shake off the baking soda or cornstarch.
  6. Add another dollop of baking soda or corn starch to the stain and let it sit for 10 more minutes.
  7. If it remains white, shake it off and throw it in the wash.
  8. For stubborn stains on cotton or polyester, add a dash of Dawn.
  9. Use the toothbrush to lightly work the Dawn around any remaining stain.
  10. Launder as usual and hang to dry.
  11. Repeat if the stain remains.

You can also use talcum powder (aka baby powder) as a substitute. However, baking soda does work the best.

Chalk to Remove Grease Stains

Woman Washing Stained T-Shirt

You got some white chalk laying around? Use it to get rid of your grease stain in a swipe. Literally, it's that easy.

  1. Create a transfer buffer by putting something under the stain.
  2. Use a cloth to absorb as much of the grease as possible.
  3. Take a piece of chalk and rub it over the stain.
  4. Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.
  5. Launder the material as usual.
  6. Hang to dry.

Get Rid of Grease With Aloe Vera

Aloe vera does more than just soothing burns; it's a grease fighter. So, if you got some aloe vera burn gel or, better yet, an aloe vera plant, it's time to grab it.

  1. Allow the clothing to soak in hot water for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Pull it out and apply aloe vera gel to the stain.
  3. Use the toothbrush to work it in.
  4. Launder as usual.
  5. Air dry to ensure the stain is gone.

How to Get Set-in Grease Stains out Fast

Spraying a shirt with laundry detergent in spray bottle

If you've washed and dried your clothing with an oil stain, things can get a bit trickier. However, it doesn't mean all hope is lost. But it does mean you might need to grab a trusted commercial product. For cleaning set-in grease stains, you'll need to grab:

  • Cardboard
  • Oxyclean spray
  • Dawn dish soap
  • White cloth
  • Old toothbrush

Step-by-Step Instructions for Removing Set Oil Stains

Once you've grabbed your tools, it's time to get down to business.

  1. Remove any excess oil and put cardboard behind the stain.
  2. Add a drop of Dawn and work it into the stain with a toothbrush. Be gentle on delicate materials.
  3. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse the Dawn.
  5. Spray the area with OxiClean or another powerful stain fighter.
  6. For colorfast materials, allow it to sit for 12 to 24 hours. For colors prone to change, no more than 5 minutes.
  7. Wash in the warmest water the material allows.
  8. Hang to dry.
  9. Repeat if the stain persists.

Easy Grease Stain Removal From Upholstery and Carpet

While grease stains happen the most on clothing, you'll also find them on your upholstery and carpet. Because sometimes the pizza just falls off your plate. When it comes to furniture or carpet, you might take a bit of a different approach. Your material list includes:

Instructions to Get Grease off Upholstery and Carpet

The steps for this method are essential. Why? Because you want to absorb the grease, then whisk it away.

  1. Remove as much grease from the carpet as possible by scraping it up or blotting with a clean, white towel.
  2. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the stained area.
  3. Use a soft bristle brush to work the powder gently into the carpet or upholstery.
  4. Let the powder sit for several hours before vacuuming.
  5. In a spray bottle combine, half water, half ammonia and add a small squirt of dish soap to it.
  6. Spray the carpet liberally with this solution
  7. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, but do not allow it to dry.
  8. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove the ammonia solution and the grease along with it.

Tips and Tricks for Removing Grease Stains

Grease stain removal can take a bit of elbow grease, but they are by far impossible to remove. In fact, you can have a lot of success with a bit of baking soda and Dawn. A few other tips to keep in mind include:

  • Grease stain removal is much easier when the stain is fresh. Treat stains as quickly as possible for the best results.
  • Always read and follow the care instructions for fabrics when attempting stain removal from clothes and upholstery. If you are uncertain about the proper care, test the stain removal technique in an inconspicuous area first to check for colorfastness.
  • Grease stains can spread quickly, so work from the outside edge of the stain to the center to be sure you cover the entire area without making it larger.

Knowing How to Get Grease Stains Out

You might have thought removing grease stains from clothing was going to be a nightmare. However, it's pretty easy with the right tools. Just be sure not to dry the clothing until you are sure the stain is completely gone. And since grease stains can be caused by many products, get some specific tips on removing butter stains from your clothes too.

How to Get Grease Stains Out of Clothes & Common Surfaces