How to remove grease stains from clothes

Learn how to remove grease stains from clothes and save your favorite garment

how to remove grease stains - person with stained jeans by a washing machine - GettyImages-1219375328
(Image credit: GettyImages-1219375328)

Need to know how to remove grease stains out of your laundry? Luckily, we've got some great tips to combat them and you'll find plenty more in our best laundry hacks

Oh grease stains – is there anything more annoying than tucking into a burger, only to find your favorite blouse with a big fat mayo stain on it moments later? Nope.

Grease stains can be very difficult to get out of clothing, and the thinner the fabric, the harder it is.

Experts at Vanish explain more, 'When dealing with cooking oil stains, it can be tempting to try and tackle them with water. However, oil stains are hydrophobic which means they repel water molecules. So only add water to the stain if you are treating it immediately.'

Timing is always of essence with removing grease stains (blot, blot, and blot!), but if you've noticed the stain after it's settled, there still are cleaning tricks you can try to get rid of it. 

how to remove grease stains - washing up liquid dish soap on a sponge - GettyImages-750557307

(Image credit: Getty)

How to remove grease stains with washing-up liquid / dish soap

After all, washing up liquid/dish soap is formulated to cut through grease from food, so it can be very effective on grease stains, particularly if you're working on tougher garments like coats and jackets, or thicker cotton.

How to remove grease stains with dishwashing liquid? 

Simply blot a little washing up liquid/dish soap and let it sit on the stain for at least a minute. Remove with a damp cloth. 

baking soda

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How to remove grease stains with baking soda/starch

Another effective way to remove grease stains is by sprinkling the stain with baking soda, starch, or corn flour. 

These powders will work by absorbing the grease, and all you need to do is brush off the excess afterwards.

However, this method tends to be more effective on fresh grease stains than old and dried ones.

steam cleaner deal: Beldray BEL0701TQN 10-in-1 Handheld Steam Cleaner

(Image credit: Robert Dyas)

How to remove grease stains with ammonia/ steam cleaner

If you do have a dried grease stain, you need to bring out the big guns. So, how to remove grease stains that have dried in? Ammonia is the answer.

Ammonia has an extremely alkaline chemical profile (pH o 11.6), which is perfect for treating organic stains that are acidic in nature (mayonnaise has a pH of 3.6, for example). 

Use very sparingly, as it's strong stuff, and never on delicate or non-colorfast garments. Blot a little ammonia in, then apply steam from a steam cleaner or clothes steamer, blotting away the rest of the stain as you go.

Stardrops Power Cleaner with Ammonia, Amazon

Stardrops Power Cleaner with Ammonia, Amazon

This power cleaner with ammonia is a multi-purpose, non-scratch cleaner, ideal for stubborn stains around the home.

how to wash silk - a bed with silk pillowcases and headboard - dunelm_1307915

(Image credit: Dunelm)

How to remove grease stains from delicate fabrics

If you've got a grease stain on a silk garment/thin synthetic one, you can't use any of the methods above, apart from, with caution, the dish soap one.

Sadly, if you have a grease stain on a silk shirt, you'll have to accept that it's there for good; it may diminish over time with laundering, but is unlikely to completely disappear.

If you notice the stain while it's still fresh, you should be able to blot away most of it, but again, if the grease has soaked through the silk thread, it's likely to be permanent.

You could try an effective stain remover to oust the stain. Find out how to remove grease stains with stain remover below.

How to remove grease stains with stain removers

If all these methods sound a bit too time-consuming, you can just chuck your grease-stained clothing item into the wash, onto the hottest temperature the fabric will tolerate, but you'll likely find that the stain won't budge even after washing. 

To have any success with laundering out a grease stain, you'll need to pre-treat it with a stain remover; Vanish Oxi Action is still the most effective stain remover to the job, from all the different ones we've tried: you can either put it on the stain before washing and work it in, or you can add it to your laundry detergent and select you washing machine's pre-wash/stain removal cycle. Need to figure out your machine's washing symbols? Consult our guide to find out if you have a stain removal cycle.

Experts at Vanish shared their top tips on how to remove grease stains:

  • 'To remove oil from fabrics that are machine washable, you need to tackle the stain quickly. To stop the stain from spreading through to the other side of the garment, take a clean paper towel or cloth and dab the oil stain, being careful not to spread the stain.'
  • 'Pour 2ml of Vanish Gold Oxi Action gel onto the stain.'
  • 'Gently rub the gel into the stain using the underside of the cap to work the Vanish into the stain.'
  • 'Leave for 10 minutes (max).'
  • 'Wash as usual with detergent and add 60ml of Vanish gel for best results.'

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.