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How to Get Old Grease Stains Out of Clothes

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How to Get Old Grease Stains Out of Clothes

Grease stains are some of the most stubborn marks to remove from clothing. This is especially true if the stain is old and has been washed, dried, or left to soak into the fabric for an extended period of time. Makes you ask the question, how to get old grease stains out of clothes?

However, removing these tough stains is not impossible and it doesn’t require the use of any harmful, potentially toxic chemical cleaning agents. In this step-by-step guide, we are going to tell you the best way of removing old grease stains from your clothes effectively, and efficiently, and using all-natural, easy-to-find products.

Related: How to Get Paint Out of Clothes

How to Get Old Grease Stains Out of Clothes

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

First things first, you will need to gather all of the tools, products, and ingredients that you’re going to need to remove the old grease stain. Each of the ingredients on this list is completely natural and can more than likely be found at Amazon or already in your home or at your nearest store.

Here are all of the things you will need when using this method to remove old grease stains from your clothes:

Optional (for when the grease stain simply won’t budge):

Step 2: Pre-Treat the Stain with Natural Dish Liquid Soap

Before tackling the stain in this step of knowing how to get old grease stains out of clothes, place your cardboard or old towel behind the fabric to prevent any oil from transferring onto your hard surfaces or onto the back of the garment.

As an initial pre-treatment and to break down as much of the grease as possible, apply your chosen natural dish liquid soap directly to the stain.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Cruelty Free Formula, Lemon Verbena Scent, 16 oz - Pack of 3 Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap

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The soap should not be diluted beforehand and the garment should be dry when you carry out this step.

Surfactants, which are found in liquid soaps and detergents, are complex molecules that attach to grease while also being water-soluble. Oil is hydrophobic and won’t dissolve or cling to water particles, so surfactants are super useful for removing oil and grease stains.

Leave the natural dish liquid soap to soak on the stain for around five to ten minutes and then go in with your toothbrush or soft bristle scrubbing brush to really work the soap into the fabric, taking care not to spread the stain.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Most Versatile
Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint)
Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint)
  • Concentrated, plant-based, fully biodegradable & use all-natural, vegan ingredients 
  • Our products & ingredients are cruelty-free, over 70% of ingredients are certified fair trade, over 90% are organic
  • No synthetic preservatives, thickeners, or foaming agents

 

9.9
Check Price on Amazon
Eco Me Dish SoapEco Me Dish Soap
  • Fragrance-free dish soap quickly cuts through dirt, grease, and grime leaving dishes sparkling clean without a filmy residue
  • Packed with natural plant extracts and all-natural plant-derived ingredients
  • Chemical-free containing all-natural antibacterial properties so that you don't have to sacrifice sanitation for the environment and greywater and septic safe to protect aquatic life
9.4
Check Price on Amazon
Better Life Sulfate Free Dish Soap (Pomegranate)Better Life Sulfate Free Dish Soap (Pomegranate)
  • Plant-based cleaning ingredients like corn and coconut and scented with pomegranate and grapefruit extracts
  • Natural, hypoallergenic that cuts through grease without sulfates
  • Cruelty-Free: BETTER LIFE is a Leaping Bunny Certified company that never tests on animals.
9.3
Check Price on Amazon

Step 3: Use Baking Soda to Lift and Remove the Stain

Without removing the natural liquid soap, sprinkle some baking soda over the stain.

Allow this to soak for a further 5-10 minutes. If the baking soda doesn’t appear to be soaking in at all, you can also add a very small amount of water or a drop more of the liquid soap. You want to have almost a paste-like consistency by the time the 10 minutes are up.

Now, go back in with your toothbrush or scrubbing brush and really work that baking soda and liquid soap mixture into the stain.

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The baking soda will soak up the grease and is also great for breaking down dirt, so the combination of this with the liquid soap surfactants is super effective when it comes to tackling old grease stains.

After scrubbing, let this soak for another 10 minutes before moving on to the next step.

Related: How to Get Ink Stains Out of Clothes

Step 4: Wash According to the Care Label Guidelines

After treating the stain, consult your garment’s care label and wash it as is advised. The hotter the wash, the better the stain will lift but bear in mind that washing some garments with hot water will cause fiber damage and shrinking, so it’s always best to follow the guidelines laid out on the care label.

Any natural laundry detergent will do the trick here. Alternatively, you could make your own all-natural detergent using an equal mixture of distilled water and white vinegar. Like baking soda, white vinegar is great for cutting through dirt and lifting stains, so it is super useful when trying to remove stubborn grease marks.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Top Choice
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
  • Powerful triple-enzyme formula fights tough stains
  • Free & clear, hypoallergenic laundry detergent made for sensitive skin
  • Safer ingredients for human health and the environment
  • EPA safer choice certified
  • USDA certified bio based product 96% made with plant-based ingredients
9.7
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Excellent Value
Method Liquid Laundry Detergent
Method Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Featuring plant-based stain lifting power
  • For high efficiency and standard washers
  • Biodegradable and hypoallergenic formula
  • Cruelty free. Tested by people, not on animals
9.6
Check Price on Amazon
Planet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid DetergentPlanet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid Detergent
  • Works in both standard and high-efficiency washers
  • Hypoallergenic - suitable for people with chemical sensitivities and babies
  • Free & Clear formula - no added fragrances, dyes or synthetic preservatives
  • Certified 100% biodegradable; ingredients from plant-based sources
  • Not tested on animals
9.5
Check Price on Amazon

Step 5: Drying Your Garment

Before drying your garment, be sure to check that the stain is completely gone and no longer visible. Drying the garment on high heat or allowing it to dry naturally if the stain is still present will make it even more difficult to further treat the grease stain.

If the stain is gone, go ahead and dry the item as is advised on the care label.

If the stain is not gone, you can repeat the pre-treatment process, or you can try the techniques listed below…

What Should You Do if The Stain is Still Visible?

If you have followed all of our How to Get Old Grease Stains Out of Clothes checklist, then you are dealing with a particularly stubborn grease stain that will need some additional steps to remove.

Hydrogen Peroxide is a natural stain remover and degreaser. It’s not suitable for use on delicate fabrics and it can cause lightening of fabric fibers if it is left to soak, so it’s not always an option. But, if you’re working with a durable, light-colored fabric, hydrogen peroxide might just do the trick at removing the old grease stain.

Alternatively, rubbing alcohol is also a natural degreaser and can be used to treat stubborn grease stains. Again, this is not suitable for delicate fabrics such as silk or wool, but it is very effective on more durable fabrics.

Simply apply a little rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to the stain using a cloth or cue tip and allow this to soak in for around five minutes until the oil has been broken down before wiping away and washing as normal.

For delicate fabrics or exceptionally tough stains, you may need to seek professional assistance when removing the old grease stain.

Tips for Tackling Oil or Grease Stains in the Future

Here are some basic tips for dealing with grease stains that should enable you to prevent any lasting damage to your clothes in the future:

1. Treat the stain as soon as possible to allow for an easy and thorough removal. By letting the grease dry or (even worse) washing it into the fabric, you’re going to find that it becomes much more difficult to remove as the grease penetrates the fabric fibers more deeply. If you notice an oil mark on your clothes, quickly blot away as much excess as possible, and then use your natural liquid soap or dish detergent to soak and remove the mark before washing.

2. If you’re concerned about some ingredients, carry out a patch test beforehand. As we said, hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are great for removing stubborn stains, but they’re not going to work with every fabric, so if you’re unsure, carry out a small test on an inconspicuous area of the garment to test the effects.

3. When possible, wear protective clothing while working with large amounts of grease or oil. Of course, this isn’t always viable, but prevention really is key when it comes to clothes stains, particularly those as stubborn as oil and grease.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Most Versatile
Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint)
Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint)
  • Concentrated, plant-based, fully biodegradable & use all-natural, vegan ingredients 
  • Our products & ingredients are cruelty-free, over 70% of ingredients are certified fair trade, over 90% are organic
  • No synthetic preservatives, thickeners, or foaming agents

 

9.9
Check Price on Amazon
Eco Me Dish SoapEco Me Dish Soap
  • Fragrance-free dish soap quickly cuts through dirt, grease, and grime leaving dishes sparkling clean without a filmy residue
  • Packed with natural plant extracts and all-natural plant-derived ingredients
  • Chemical-free containing all-natural antibacterial properties so that you don't have to sacrifice sanitation for the environment and greywater and septic safe to protect aquatic life
9.4
Check Price on Amazon
Better Life Sulfate Free Dish Soap (Pomegranate)Better Life Sulfate Free Dish Soap (Pomegranate)
  • Plant-based cleaning ingredients like corn and coconut and scented with pomegranate and grapefruit extracts
  • Natural, hypoallergenic that cuts through grease without sulfates
  • Cruelty-Free: BETTER LIFE is a Leaping Bunny Certified company that never tests on animals.
9.3
Check Price on Amazon

Final Thoughts on How to Get Old Grease Stains Out of Clothes

If you have a tough, unsightly grease stain on your favorite garment of clothing, don’t rush to simply write it off and toss it out. Even grease stains that have been washed and dried into the fabric during normal laundering can be removed using the techniques and products detailed in this article on how to get old grease stains out of clothes.

Worst case scenario, seek professional assistance. A launderette or fabric care specialist will undoubtedly be able to remove the stain for you when all else fails.

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