How do I Remove Grease Stains?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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It's often very difficult to remove grease stains from clothing and carpets. It may take several tries with one grease-removing method or the use of a few different products before you find one that works. The first thing you should use to try to remove grease stains is a product made especially for the purpose; make sure to follow the instructions on the label. For laundry, there are stain-removing products that have a degreaser chemical added to them. If you need to remove grease from carpeting, look for a carpet stain remover made for greasy stains such as cooking or automotive oil.

If laundry stain-removing products don’t remove grease stains, try a dry cleaning solvent. These solvents may be sold as spot lifters; be sure to follow product instructions carefully. For greasy stains on carpets, use a powdery substance such as cornmeal to soak up the excess grease before applying spot lifter. If the spot lifter doesn’t remove grease stains the first time, try wetting the area with vinegar to remove the product after it’s allowed to sit for an hour or two.


In some cases, hand dishwashing liquid can remove grease stains from clothing. If the stained item has already gone through the washing machine and dryer, it may take several times of applying hand dishwashing liquid to the stains and laundering the piece. The dish soap should be rubbed into the stain and left to soak for up to two hours before putting it through a regular washing machine cycle. Sometimes, shampoo rubbed into the grease stains rather than hand dishwashing liquid may be successful in removing greasy spots. Rubbing a product into a stain before laundering the stained item is called prewashing.

If dish detergent alone doesn’t remove the greasy stains, rinsing away the dish soap with white vinegar before laundering the item may work. The rubbed in dish soap should be left on the stained clothing for up to two hours before using vinegar to remove as much liquid detergent as possible. The clothing may then have to be put through the washing machine cycle several times to remove grease stains.

Ammonia may work as a prewasher to remove grease stains on clothing. Be sure to test the ammonia first on a small, out-of-the-way place on the stained item, such as on an inside seam. It’s also important not to mix ammonia with other cleaning products such as bleach; a dangerous gas could result.


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Post 1

If we're talking about grease stains on clothing, do *not* put them in the dryer. Period. That will make them three times harder to clean.

My go-to remover is Dawn dishwashing soap -- the original blue kind. It just works. I spilled a red, oily fruit salad dressing on cream colored material and I thought it was surely ruined. I saturated it with Dawn soap and then sprayed it with stain remover and washed it, then hung it up to dry. No more stain. It was completely gone. I turned and turned that material over and over, but I couldn't find a trace of a stain on it. I've since removed other greasy stains, especially cooking stains from clothing with it and it works like a charm.

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