Removing Grease Stains From Clothes: Ask Happy

A question from Cris:

Help – an anyone tell me how to get food grease stains out of solid color knit shirts? I get those on all my shirts and nothing seems to work.

How to Remove Grease Stains from Clothing| The Happy Housewife
The best way to remove grease stains from clothes is to do it before they are washed and dried. Once clothes with grease stains have been dried the stain can be impossible to remove.

To remove a grease stain squirt some Dawn dish soap directly on the stain. I use the blue bottle of Dawn, nothing fancy just the basic type. Let the dish soap sit on the stain for a half hour or more. Wash in cold water with your laundry.

When the wash cycle is finished check the stain to see if it is gone. If not repeat with the dish soap method. Do not dry the clothes in the dryer if the stain is still there.

Often this will remove the stain, but occasionally the stain is set in and cannot be removed.

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  1. This definitely works! 🙂 I’ve used with other dish detergents as well.

  2. Evey time I have any kind of grease stain I find the very best thing is automotive hand degreaser the kind you use to clean up after you’ve worked on your car (or your husband has!)for the garage. My husband said it is a couple of dollars at Auto zone. it is gritty and works best if you rub it on the stain then just throw it in a regular wash- presto, no more grease!! The gel kind works too. It has worked for me on lipstick, diesel fuel and food grease. The very best thing out there! Thanks Honey!!! ( it was his idea)

    • I tried Goop which sounds like its the same stuff ..and it made my stain WORSE.. I am really bummed…

    • Hi id be careful using degreaser, it ruined my washer, it stripped all the grease after a while from my bearings, from doing the same thing

  3. Thanks, Toni!

    Yes, I’m a faithful Dawn fan when it comes to grease on clothes. It is the cheapest and most effective, in my opinion!

    I’ve never heard of using the auto hand de-greaser. I’ll have to give that a try!

    Thanks again 😉


  4. I use Goop. It’s a multi-purpose hand cleaner but it’s not gritty. It’s usually found in the automotive section of stores and it usually gets out grease stains. You can use Goop on clothes, vinyl, canvas, woodwork and rugs too.

  5. I agree Dawn is the best- and cheap too. I happen to have the green Dawn, so I think any variety will probably work. I have tried cheap dish soap and it hasn’t worked- I assume because it doesn’t have the de-greasing action like Dawn. I have better luck washing in warm water (if the fabric can tolerate it) and throw mine in the drier. I apply the dish soap and let it dry before washing for the best results. If after drying the stains aren’t out I just repeat until they are gone. This has process has never failed for me!

  6. Has always worked for me!!

  7. As a new mom, I have LOTS of stains to fight these days! I found that Oxy Clean Laundry Stain Remover works wonders! I haven’t found a stain yet that it can’t get out. Even dries in, been through the wash stains! LOVE it.

  8. I use Zout. I started using it years ago when I worked in a restaurant and was covered in grease stains every night. It works best if it is washed on warm after pretreating.

  9. Melissa says:

    Shout Gel is my go-to for all stains, even grease. This has worked for me even when clothing goes through the dryer. The bonus is you can leave Shout Gel on for up to a week, which is so nice if need to wait a day or two before doing laundry (like when you are gone for the weekend).

  10. I wear the inexpensive solid color knit shirts from Target and I have a terrible time getting ANY sort of stain out. My sister wear Eddie Bauer solid color knit shirts and they NEVER stain. There is something to be said for starting with a higher quality item. I have noticed this with kids clothes as well–Gymboree is easy to clean, others not so much.

  11. Plain old baby shampoo works well also.

  12. Shawnie says:

    I use Goo-Gone….works every time….but I like the Dawn idea….not as smelly as goo gone! 🙂

  13. Christine says:

    I use Lestoil (a degreaser found in the home cleaner section). I can have a grease stain that has gone through the washer and dryer and it will come out clean when I go back and treat it with Lestoil. Just rub a little in, let it sit for a few minutes, then rewash. It does not smell very good as it is petroleum based, but it works and saves me from throwing out my clothes!

  14. I have never had a grease stain that didn’t come out with Spray & Wash Stain Stick. Old, new, already washed and dried. It’s my one laundry success 🙂

    • Does Spray & Wash Stain Stick take out grease stains that have been dried in as well ?? If you find the stain after being dried in will it take it out ??

  15. Stacey D says:

    The dawn and baby shampoo tricks don’t work for me any more. They used to work great but Oregon and Washington required that shampoos and dishwashing soaps no longer have phosphates in them and now they don’t remove grease they way the used to. Even my dishes now are still coated with filmy grease after washing in hot water with Dawn. Great for the enviorment but now I have to find something else or throw about 12 shirts I can’t seem to get clean. I will try the goop and goo-gone but I’m worried that the regulations have required the formulas of those to change as well. For awhile I could find original formula dawn on ebay but can’t find it there any longer.

    • My great grandmother always used baby powder on grease stains on our clothes. Sprinkle a good coverage of baby powder on stain inside and out of the spot. Wash as usual. Hope it works for you.

  16. A while back I was baking in my kitchen (wearing a brand new shirt) and I spilled oil all over it. I immediately took it off and threw it in the wash….and then the dryer. Much to my dismay, the oil stain didn’t budge an inch. Then I read somewhere that baby powder is great at removing oil stains. So I figured it could hurt to try it. I have twins so baby powder was already in my house in abundance. I laid the shirt out on a towel and literally COVERED the shirt with tons of baby powder, rubbing it into the fabric gently with my fingers. Then I walked away from it for a couple of days. After a couple of days I picked up the shirt and shook it out outside really good and then I washed and dried it again. The oil stain completely disappeared and I had saved my brand new shirt.

    this works well on grease stains as well.

  17. My hubby delivers gas to service stations and leaves me a grimmy, greasy, fireproof, light blue shirt every night. The stains cover the front part of the shirt, quite a large area. Simple Green works pretty well when I spray until it is wet and leave it for a few days, then wash & line dry outside, but it is pricey using over this large area everyday. Does anyone else have auto grease-type problems?

  18. Baby Powder has always worked for me never fails you just put the powder over the stain leave it for over an hour and the powder soaks up the grease. The stain completely disappears.

  19. Thanks for the post! My friend and I have a laundry service from our homes. Most times we just use white vinegar. Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water to remove moderately saturated stains or apply a paste of baking soda and white vinegar to muscle out stubborn stains. The mildness of the vinegar means there’s no risk of destroying the fabric or dye unlike other stain treatment products. We have come across some odd stains that causes us to search the internet. I found one site that recommended Cheese Wiz to remove oil staines!?!?!? I’ve never tried it but it’s supposed to work. Have you heard of this?

  20. I’m a teenager and I got a grease stain on a new shirt the first time I wore it. I already washed it, anything I can do now is it too late for my shirt

  21. I have used baby powder and have used feminine powder as well, which ever one I have at the time, they both work!

  22. I forgot, some ladies told me a while back you can use Pine-sol but I am not too sure about using that in my clothes.

  23. Plain old all-purpose flour works well. Leave it on the stain for at least 24 hours, then wash. My experience has been, once you dry it, stain is set in, so check for stain before putting clothing in dryer.

  24. Grace Jeffries says:

    Is it possible to get grease or oil stains out of a tafeeta formal dress?

    • Anna Marie says:

      My husband told me to pat the stain with cotton ball and rubbing alcohol. I kept a towel directly below it and it works perfectly. Saved my gown!

  25. I had a butter/oil stain on a silk tank top, and did not want to trust it to a dry cleaner. I covered it with a few tablespoons of talcum powder, (dry) left it for 3 hours, shook it off, and VOILA! The entire stain was gone! It was like a miracle!

  26. Carolina says:

    My question is: HOW CAN YOU SEE THE STAIN STILL IN THE FABRIC IF THE FABRIC IS STILL WET?????????????? I can’t discover whether the stain is still there or not until the garment is dry…

  27. I tried the Goo Gone, and it left a much bigger grease stain on my daughter’s dress. I would NOT recommend it.

    Then I tried the Dawn, and that didn’t work to get out the Goo Gone stain either. (I had tried Dawn prior, and it didn’t work then either.)

    As my last resort, I soaked the entire thing in Goo Gone. Maybe if it’s all one big stain it won’t be so noticeable?

    I have a funny feeling it’s just going to get tossed. 🙁

    • Hey that’s a pretty clever idea,soaking the whole thing in goo gone or Dawn instead of spot-cleaning.Seems as if that way it’s all going to be one huge stain,but because it’s all the same color (perhaps a shade or two darker) who’s to know?! Think I’ll try that Thanks.

  28. juliet29 says:

    When using stain removers you need to be aware of how fragile the fabric is. Goop works well on heavier fabrics, but can leave a ring on light fabric. I used Dawn green dish detergent on a blue shirt and it left a green mark. One of the best stain removers for all types of fabrics is an oxygen cleaner in powder form such as Oxy clean. Dissolve about a quarter cup in a container large enough to hold the stained item, fill with the hottest water your item will stand then soak over night. I have been amazed at the stains this will remove!

  29. Use motor bike cleaner, it has saved me some expensive clothes I thought would never look the same again. Spray the affected area, then wash straight away in the washing machine seprately with detergent, you may have to wash it twice( this is just to get rid of the motor bike cleaner smell but it will go in the second wash ). Guarantee the stains will be gone, has worked on everything from cotton to synthetic. Would not be game to try on silk though. The motor bike cleaner will not mark your clothes in anyway and is my number one product I keep in the laundry.

    Throw out the other crap, it does not remove nearly as well as motor bike cleaner and a can of motor bike cleaner will last ages, in comparison to laundry products.

  30. If the stain is fresh, rub it with chalk. That absorbs a lot of the oil. I then use blue Dawn and peroxide mix (2:1 ratio) Don’t let the peroxide dry on the fabric though, it can slightly whiten the spot if allowed to dry.

  31. There is this soap imported from Mexico called Zote, and it works very well and doesn’t fade your colors and is cheap too. Big huge bar for less than a $1.00. Found it in Walmart.

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