How can I get Grease out of Clothing?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

There are a number of techniques which can be used to get grease out of clothing, as long as the clothing is washable and not made from delicate fibers. If the fabric must be dry cleaned, your dry cleaner may be able to get the grease stains out; explain the situation when you bring the clothing in and ask for suggestions. Delicate fibers can sometimes be treated for grease, although success is not guaranteed. In all cases, spot-test a degreasing solution on an area of the garment which will not be seen to check for colorfastness, as some cleaners can bleach or stain clothing.

Shampoo may help get grease out of clothing.
Shampoo may help get grease out of clothing.

One of the most effective ways to get grease out of clothing is to use a degreaser which has been specifically designed for this purpose. The laundry section of your market may carry some degreasers, most of which will need to be left on overnight to pre-treat the area before the clothing is washed. You can also check the auto parts aisle, as several companies make industrial degreasers for mechanics and other people who work with a lot of oil and grease, and many of these products are suitable for clothing. If you use an auto degreaser to get grease out of clothing, make sure to spot test it first!

Clothing is often laundered once with pretreatment and once with regular detergent in attempts to remove a grease smell.
Clothing is often laundered once with pretreatment and once with regular detergent in attempts to remove a grease smell.

You can also use dish detergent to get grease out of clothing. Look for a brand which is designed to cut through grease, like Dawn. Rub the detergent lightly into the grease stain to pretreat it, or simply run the clothing through the laundry with a few squirts of the dish detergent. Many massage therapists use dish detergents on their sheets to get rid of oil stains, as do restaurant workers and mechanics.

Some say using cola in the wash can remove grease.
Some say using cola in the wash can remove grease.

There are also a few more obscure tricks, which this wiseGEEK author has not personally tested. Baby powder is supposed to be effective if left on overnight, as are products like Goo-Gone®, Goof Off®, and Lestoil®. Some people swear by Cheese Whiz®, while others claim that a can of Coca Cola® or Pepsi® in the wash can remove grease stains. Shampoo has also been known to get grease out of clothing, especially shampoos designed for oily hair.

A degreaser may be used to get grease out of clothing.
A degreaser may be used to get grease out of clothing.

In all cases, you should wash greasy clothing separately from other clothing to avoid spreading the stain. This is also important when you have used something to pretreat the laundry, as the pretreatment may smell odd; many people wash greasy clothing once with the pretreatment and again on a regular cycle to get rid of the smell. You should also check the clothing to see if the grease stain has been removed before running it through the dryer, as the dryer can set the stain, making it impossible to remove.

Be sure the stain is completely gone before putting the clothing in the dryer.
Be sure the stain is completely gone before putting the clothing in the dryer.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


As a child, my mother used Murphy's Oil Soap to remove automotive grease from the many pairs of pants I tried to ruin. I still use this strategy today if I get a rogue grease spot on something that isn't work clothes.

Pretreating with Murphy's then a quick hand scrub, along with a day long soak salvaged many clothing items in my lifetime. The most impressive by far was a large smear of roofing tar on a pair of good jeans -- not a trace after the Murphy's treatment.


My go-to grease stain remover is the original blue Dawn dishwashing detergent. I can't believe some of the stuff I've gotten out of fabric with it.

I had a small cup of oil-based dressing for fruit salad (mixed with red wine vinegar and sugar, of all things) spill on some ivory-colored fabric. It was really horrible. I saturated the fabric with Dawn. One washing got it nearly out (red color and all), and a second saturation and washing and you can't tell anything ever happened to it. Amazing.

Most people probably know this, but I'll add it anyway: *never* put anything stained in the dryer. The heat will set the stain in permanently. Hang the item up to dry to see if the stain came out. If so, you're good. If not, do a second round with it, but don't put it in the dryer!

This is, of course, for those items that are machine washable. If it's a dry clean only item, take it in and show the spot to them so they can treat it with their solutions.


It possible to get grease out of your clothes girls! Just apply liquid detergent on them.That's it. And wash it with hard spot remover products.


For fresh grease stains, it really helps to put some cornstarch or baby powder on them to soak up any extra oil first.

After it dries, carefully wipe it off, then pretreat and launder as usual.


My go-to grease removal method has always been to work some face cleanser -- one for oily skin, like Neutrogena or something -- into the stain with a toothbrush, then to let it sit for a few minutes, then wash it out.

I found this method out randomly one day in college trying to remove a spot in a hurry, and it worked so well I've used it ever since!


My ex used to swear that the best way of removing grease stains from clothes was spraying them with WD-40.

Apparently what you're supposed to do is spray the spot with a bunch of WD-40, then use Shout or another stain remover on top of that.

Afterwards you just wash and dry like normal, then repeat it a few times until the stain is completely gone.

Sounded weird to me, but she used to swear by it.


I tend to get grease stains in my shirts from cooking quite often. I was watching Food Network one day and they had a special on spot removal from foods.

For grease stains, take a paper towel and blot the area to remove the bulk of the grease. Be sure to blot both sides of the fabric. Take a bar of Ivory soap and wet it slightly. Rub it across the stained area and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then, soak the garment in warm water for about 30 minutes. After it is done soaking, wash it as usual.

Post your comments
Forgot password?