How to Remove Grease Stains

Grease stains


This is my life ya’ll…STAINS!  Stains on my kids’ clothing.  Stains on my furniture.  Stains on MY clothing.  I have thrown away several grease stained shirts that I didn’t think could be repaired.  Talk about money down the drain. :(

The weather turned cool this week, and I was so excited to be able to wear one of my new Goodwill long sleeve shirts that I got for $3.  I went through the entire day with no stains…until dinner.  I think the bucket of coconut oil that I grabbed from the cabinet must have had some coconut oil on the outside of it, because after dinner I looked in the mirror and noticed THE DREADED GREASE STAIN!  UGH!  The worst kind!  On my brand new shirt!  I hadn’t even worn it twelve hours and I had ruined it.  When will I learn and start wearing an apron to cook?

I didn’t have any energy to deal with it that night so I waited until the next morning.  Here’s what I did to remove the grease stain and make it look as good as new again.

!.  Put a few squirts of dish soap on the stain and gently agitate with your fingers,  a soft wet toothbrush, or by rubbing the fabric together..

2.  Let sit for about 15-30 minutes.

3.  Rinse thoroughly.

At this point, I couldn’t tell if the stain was there or not, so I proceeded with the next step just in case.

4.  Add 1-2 T. of baking soda and again agitate.

5.  Let sit for another 15-30 minutes.

6.  Wash in cold water as normal.

DO NOT DRY!  Check to see if stain is out and if not, repeat steps.  I let mine air dry and the stain was completely gone.  YIPPEE!!!


This will now be my go-to method for removing stains.  It’s super easy and doesn’t require any fancy or toxic stain sticks or chemicals.

**NOTE**Because I know I will be asked, I used my regular dish detergent.  I don’t feel comfortable mentioning brand names, but it’s non-toxic, with no petroleum, no dyes, etc.  I imagine any brand will work just fine.

If the above method doesn’t work for you, try soaking the stain with plain white vinegar, peroxide, or washing soda.  I have had decent stain removal results with these as well.

The most important thing is to treat as soon as possible and NOT wash the stain ahead of time.  Treat first, then wash.  Do not dry.  These will set in the stain and make it ten thousand times harder to get out.  Exaggeration, much?  :)

If you aren’t the DIY type…

I love love love Branch Basics for ALL of my cleaning needs.  It gets out stains, is great for every cleaning need, and can be used for the laundry, dish soap, and hand washing.  It’s truly an all-purpose soap.  The best part is that it’s completely non-toxic, uses no synthetic harmful ingredients and fragrances, and won’t harm your kiddos if ingested.

Branch Basics feature

I highly recommend the small starter kit to try it out and see if you like it.  That is what I started with, and now I purchase the concentrate in bulk.  Because you probably like a deal like me, Branch Basics is offering my readers 25% off with the coupon code Pure25.  Yipee!  Shop Branch Basics here (affiliate link).

So there was my tip.  Now I want to hear from you!  What is your best stain removal tip?  Let’s chat in the comment section below!



  1. Joyce Craven says

    for ink stains WD40… the petroleum product dis
    solves the ink… and DAWN dish soap. it works for LOTS of stains…

      • Halle @ Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says

        A dry erase marker works amazing for removing ink and permanate marker off of hardwood. Just cover stain with dry erase marker and wipe clean with a clean paper towel.

        • Kim Ledgerwood says

          Thank you! Just to be sure I am not misunderstanding before I go coloring all over my very large ink stain (that I smeared when I tried to clean it up with Isopropyl alcohol)–I should color over the stain with dry erase marker? Not dry erase marker cleaner? Thanks!

          • Tara says

            Oh my goodness! I am so sorry. This does not sound fun, Kim! I hope you figure out a solution.

      • stephanie says

        the mr. clean erasers will take ink even sharpee’s ink off of tables, floors walls and even kids if you hold them down first. LOL

      • Laurie says

        My daughter just got marker on her grandmothers antique wood table. I was pretty desperate to get it out.
        I had argan oil with me (I use it to remove eye makeup), so I rubbed some of that in and then used a pencil eraser on top of it. Not a trace of marker was left and it did not damage the finish at all.

    • Dawn says

      One caution on the use of Dawn. I had tough grease stains to deal with that were set in for days. I had go to the store for the Dawn and picked up Power Dawn thinking that if it could do an overnight cleaning in 3 minutes, it would be PERFECT for these tough stains since I only had a short time to get them out. It took out the stains but also took out the color in those spots on the shirt so the shirt is ruined. I do not recommend Power Dawn for any laundry stains.

  2. Carla says

    My first line of defense against oil stains (because, let’s face it, most of us forget or don’t even bother with an apron), is always corn starch. The minute I notice the oil – or as soon as I am able, a little cornstarch sprinkled onto, then rubbed into the stain & left to sit a while, works wonders! In a little while, lol – or overnight, I shake the garment out, a bit, then gently use a soft toothbrush to remove the cornstarch, & most of the time, the whole stain goes with it. No joke. I’ve even been able to put the garment back on, & wear it, right away.
    If this doesn’t get it all out, right away, I do it a second time, let sit, shake & brush, again. It’s rare that they ever hit the laundry with the oil still there.

    If the stain goes unnoticed until after washing & drying, then I use your method. We don’t have a dryer, so that makes a rewash easier to deal with, than if the stain has been heat-set in a dryer.

    • Sharon B. says

      I agree with the comments about corn starch. I have a container of corn starch baby powder (*not* talc) that I keep handy for such grease marks. I sprinkle some on the ‘stain’ and brush off lightly. The corn starch gathers into the grease mark and stays there, absorbing the oil, until I launder the item.

    • Ellen says

      Talc works for oil. Smother in baby powder and pop in the wash basket till your next load. Makes the dirty laundry basket smell good too. Only once did this not work in the last 15 years, and the fabric had a sheen. It’s so harmless worth a try.

  3. Sheila says

    I usually use SUNLIGHT dish soap. sunlight has been a staple since my great grandmother. you can actually get these white granular sunlight bars that specifically take out grease staines from clothes.. my grandmother use to use them.. sunlight has “fat” in it.. and fat takes out fat! :) I find other dish soaps only discolour the cloth and the grease stain is still there.

  4. says

    Spilled lotion on a silk scarf. Talcum powder (cornstarch would work too, I suspect) to the rescue. I’ve recently gotten out some old, set-in stains with a paste of borax (not boric acid) and water. Let sit for hours, then wash. Nearly magic. I also am a fan of dishsoap. I’ve even gotten mustard (turmeric) stains out with dishsoap. Just don’t put things in the dryer until you know the stain is gone.

    • stephanie says

      a friend of mine told me that to get there kids baseball uniform white white…. like glowing white…. she uses dishwasher soap…. she buys the all in one little pouches and throws one in washing machine…. I have not tried this yet but may do it for my sons karate uniform.

      • Master R says

        There is something called bluing, that replaces the yellow that bleach leaves-I think it is called Mrs Stewarts..that creates the “blinding ” white also..

      • Cindy says

        Baseball pants or any white sports pant–take to car wash. Spray with presoak then high pressure wash. No spot treating even needed.

  5. Liz says

    If available, treat with mineral water. Dab with a napkin or cloth. Work very well if you do it right away. I will add the above mentioned approaches when I miss the stain. Thanks- I do this fairly regularly :-)

  6. eve says

    help needed: sat an A/C on brown color indoor/outdoor carpet for something like 5 minutes; then noticed the leaking of water…..put newspaper under a/c to soak up liquid. when moved whitish stain is left. any ideas for removal?

  7. Becky Howard says

    I know, I know, it’s a chemical product. I buy most everything else natural and organic, but…for grease stains that I’m not sure will easily come out, I resort to this product and it gets EVERYTHING out. Never failed me yet~ It’s called Zout and is a simple spray! Sorry, I prefer things natural too, but sometimes…

      • Jo Brassfield says

        I used Goop when my ex worked for an oil drilling company in Texas. His coveralls were cleaner than the ones sent to professional, cleaners. It worked for pitch when he worked for a logging company, too.

  8. says

    For bathtubs caked with body soil, hair conditioners, etc., use powdered laundry soap. Spread it with a damp rag, let it sit, then scrub with a re-dampened rag. I have even removed rust from faucets using this method.

  9. Alice Menks says

    Be careful using peroxide as it will bleach out some fabrics I have found. I have used hairspray and Dawn on ballpoint ink stains and it works every time. The above approach sounds good to do the baking soda step. I have used Dawn and scrubbed but not the baking soda so will try it.

  10. Abbe says

    I keep a lovely spritzer bottle of diluted Simple Green(orginially a engine degreaser) on my kitchen counter to clean, degrease and deodorize, plus it works great on many clothing stains(and the whole house).It is non-toxic and biodegradable
    Also, any super-fatted soup laundery bar like. pink Zote soap will work wonderfully to remove oily stains. The Zote soap contains sodium cocoate which is produced by hydrolysis of the ester linkages in coconut oil with sodium hydroxide, a strong base. I am positive this will work wonderfully on coconut oil stains. :)

  11. carlaburke says

    Oh, I just remembered something else I tried, & it works on some fabric/oil combinations, but not others. It’s always the very last thing I try, before giving up, & tossing the item into the scrap bin. Knowing the type of oil in the stain gives you an advantage, but it’s still a bit unpredictable.
    Lol, I’m almost not willing to share it, because it’s really just…
    Well, drench the whole item in oil – the same kind as the stain, if possible. What it boils down to is a sort of ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ method, staining the rest of the item with the same oil will sometimes work to blend the whole thing into the same color as the stain.

    I once got an oil stain on a brand new top. I took it out of the bag, and not seeing the little puddle of oil on the table, dropped the top right in it – just as hubby was returning with a dish cloth, to clean the puddle up. I’d never worn it! Soooo not fair! Nothing worked, until I got a wild hair, & ‘oil dyed’ it. Funny thing was, I ended up liking the new color even better, lol.

  12. says

    Eucalyptus Oil removes oil and grease easily from fabric, drip it on stain, rub s little and wash as normal. It can also be used to remove glue left from labels on bottle or from masking tape.

  13. says

    We have used Palmolive ORIGINAL only dish soap for years. It really works even on stains that have been washed in. Add full strength to stains, grease or any stains. Rub in, then add some water over that and rub again. Put in wash. this sometimes takes two tries, but its worth it.

  14. Kelley says

    We use baby powder with cornstarch for grease stains. We get them ALLL the time from using so much olive oil and coconut oil. I just dust the spots with the powder as soon as we take the clothes off then wash on laundry day. You can actually see the powder attach to the oily spot. It’s great! I’ve even done it as a quick fix w/o washing. Just powder the spot, let it sit for 20 min or so, shake the powder out, then remove the rest with a damp cloth.

  15. Lacie says

    So, any suggestions on how to remove a grease stain on clothing that has already been through the washer AND dryer? I don’t even know what kind of stain it is, I just found it the next time I went to put the top on my daughter. Stinks too because she had only wore it once.

    • Tara says

      I would still try the dish soap and baking soda. There are also some great suggestions in the comments above. I hope you get the stain out. I hate when a brand new shirt is ruined!

  16. Mary Trillich says

    yes you are absolutely correct! the dish soap works really well and so does baking soda…and even some pure fresh lemon juice can help remove the stain BEFORE washing it n the washer and def do not dry it until you ae sure it is GONE!!!~

  17. shelia favor says

    I have tried all the above but also use this – and no one has mentioned it. Cheap shampoo. Not the ones that moisturize or with lots of fillers- but the ones that are just plain shampoo or the ones that are “clear” and are made to get all the product out of your hair. Since shampoo cleans the oils and residue it also cleans spots. Put a little on, scrub it in, wait a while-and then wash.

    • Trish Parsons says

      Yes..any “clear” or “clarifying” shampoo is what i use. Just run hot water over the stain to “open” up the fabric..rub some clear shampoo on stain..let sit for 5 minutes or so and wash in the hottest water possible for the material. This also works on set in oil/grease stains that have already been through the dryer. For the older stains…if it all doesn’t come out the first time..repeat until the stain is all gone. I keep a bottle of clear shampoo in the laundry room just for this purpose…:)

    • Tara says

      It can’t hurt to try, Patrick. I’d also read the above comments. There are wonderful suggestions in this thread. Sorry I can’t help you further.

  18. says

    You can also get grease stains out by rubbing chalk over the grease stain. I let the chalk sit on the grease over night (and doesn’t have to be right away either!) and then wash it out the next day. If the stain is still there, repeat before drying. No special chalk needed, I used my son’s sidewalk chalk! :-)

  19. crystal says

    gojo- it works great at getting grease stains out of clothing- my husband told me about it and i applied it with a toothbrush… really bad ones may take 2x:)

  20. Sarah says

    I used my normal dish soap which is Seventh Generation fragrance free. It took out the grease stain AND quite a bit of color, from my dark purple shirt. I didn’t even let it sit 15 minutes before throwing it in the wash, with the same brand of laundry detergent. :(

    • Tara says

      I’m so sorry to hear this Sarah. What a bummer. I guess it’s wise to always check an inconspicuous spot to test for color safety.

  21. says

    My best weapon for stickers and/or the residual glue is charcoal lighter fluid. It’s also great for cleaning up spilled wax from candles or melting pot wax. I’ve used it on both my hardwood floors and my white carpet and it will typically dissolve the wax off the flooring surfaces as well as my granite counter tops in a snap, although that depends on how thick the layer is. Sometimes it requires a little encouragement with the fluid and a flat blade, like a putty knife or an old steak knife without serrated edges (be real careful not to get aggressive or you’ll scratch the surface you’re trying to get it off of!). Just allow the lighter fluid to dissolve the wax and be patient! None of the surfaces described have shown any residual wax, glue or lighter fluid! The ONLY caveat I will put forth is I haven’t had the need to get out red from my carpet, and as anyone knows, red is the worst color of ANYTHING to spill!!!

  22. c says

    Yes, this baking soda/dish detergent soaking methods is amazing. I discovered it a couple weeks ago. My daughter spilled tomato sauce in her white sundress. I soaked it with the method twice.and hung in the line in the Sunshine. Gone. Amazing.

    I read a comment earlier regarding magic erasers….they do remove a lot of things, BUT SHOULD NOT BE USED ON A CHILD’S SKIN! My cousin’s GMA used it to remove marker..poor kid had “burn” marks all over his arms.

  23. Joleen says

    Lighter fluid is amazing at grease stains as well. My husband and I are both chefs, I’ve saved so many clothes just dabbing lighter fluid on the stain, and washing normally.

    • Coleen says

      I was looking for someone to mention this. I have had great success with Murphy’s Oil Soap. Just rub it into the spot and wash as usual.

  24. Lisa says

    Just a word of caution – always best to test a small spot before you go in for the full treatment. Last year I washed our sheets and soaked my husbands’ pillow in some dish detergent before washing (I guess his hair greases up the pillows or something, its weird and never happened to me before getting married…) and it semi-bleached not only the pillow I treated with dish soap but also left discolorations all over the rest of the sheets that were in the wash with it. It DOES get the grease out but I accidentally ruined a $60 pair of sheets :(

  25. Lucy8a says

    I keep finding small oily spots on t-shirts AFTER they’ve been washed and dried (I use EcosPlus or Meyers laundry detergents and i don’t use dryer sheets) … Any ideas on what could be causing these?

    • Shannon says

      That has happened to us. To stop this from happening you need to clean your washer! I run a wash cycle with hot water & 1 cup of bleach. Then run a second cycle with hot water & 1 cup of vinegar. Do not put them in together! :) Depending on how dirty and greasy your clothes are you should do this every so often. BTW, this also works for the dishwasher.

  26. Jeannie says

    i tried your method of getting a set in stain out AND IT WORKED!!! My favorite purple shirt had some grease stains on it that I didn’t see until after it had been washed & dried. I was actually looking for natural bleach alternative & came across your posts about cleaning. I saw this post & stuck in I’m the back of my mind. Then I pulled out my shirt & saw the stains. I used the stain remover that I had bought but it didn’t work. Can you say $3.50 down the drain? I was so bummed. Then I remembered your post looked it up & printed it out. I can’t believe how simple, easy, & natural it was! Just had to let you know!!!! Thank you!!!
    Also loved the toilet cleaning method too.

  27. melissa says

    What do you do if the stained clothing went through the washer & dryer before you noticed it was there? I have a shirt like that…which i washed again thinking a second wash would take it out…is it a lost cause?…also the stain is some kind of grease or oil stain that was from the garage…the men in my house work on cars…washing machine is in the garage where they work…& they’re messy…so there are oils & grease sometimes on the ground or on the machine that you don’t see…also sometimes i noticed when their clothes goes in the washer it leaves a residue that ruins clothing on the next wash as well…any hope to rid those stains?

  28. Kimi Mills says

    I pour boiling water through any oil stain ,sometimes more than once and then wash normally.Ink I soak out in milk before washing 😉

  29. says

    Dish soap always works great for grease stains I use it often, because stains happen often to my clothes. The worst is than my three-year-old daughter makes stains less often than I do :(. Thank you for the ideas!


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