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How to Remove Grease Stains from Clothes

Posted by Andres Jimenez on
how to remove grease stains from clothes

Wondering how to remove grease stains? What about how to remove grease stains from cotton specifically? 

Once the grease hits your clothing, you may be tempted to consider it a lost cause, but it's not! There is a way to get rid of grease stains (you can even try it if they're already set, but it's best if they're fresh).

Why Does Grease Cling to Clothing and Refuse to Come Out?
Because grease is a lipid and insoluble in water, it's more difficult to get out than most other stains. An average laundry cycle won't do the trick because grease grabs onto the fibers of the fabric. The answer - concentrated attention in the form of a pre-treatment (don't worry, it's not complicated or expensive)!

In this case, the baking soda draws the stain out and away from the fabric and the liquid dish soap breaks up what remains. Surfactants in the dish soap are the key when you need to remove grease stains. These affect the hydrogen bonds in the water in a way that allows it to cut through the grease stains and wash them right out.

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1 | What You’ll Need

  • Baking soda
  • A toothbrush
  • Dish soap
  • A piece of cardboard or dark towel you don't mind transferring the stain to

2 | What to Do

  1. Lay the article of clothing flat.
  2. Place the cardboard or old towel underneath the stain.
  3. If the stain is fresh and hasn't been through the washer and dryer yet, sprinkle baking soda on top of the grease. If it has set, pour enough dish soap onto the stain to cover it well. Leave the baking soda or dish soap on the clothing for about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Use a toothbrush to scrub the baking soda or dish soap into the stain, really working it in (be careful not to damage the fabric, though).
  5. If your stain is fresh, you'll notice the baking soda changing color. Scrape the first round of baking soda away and apply more.
  6. Repeat the process until the baking soda no longer turns brown.
  7. If your stain is fresh, now is the time to add dish detergent (if the stain is still there). If your stain is old, sprinkle enough baking soda onto the dish detergent to cover the stained area.
  8. Scrub again with the toothbrush.
  9. Let the mixture set for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Wash the clothing as you normally would, using the hottest water the fabric will allow. Some cotton clothing is prone to shrinking in hot water, so use your best judgment depending on the type of clothing that's stained. Mama's Laundry Talk has tips for selecting the best water temperature.
  11. Check to make sure the stain is gone before drying the garment.

3 | Expert Tips

Wear a protective apron when you're working with grease. This will protect your clothing and prevent more stains on your clothes!

Try to remove the grease stain as soon as you notice it. Letting it set will make it more difficult to remove the grease stains from the clothes.

Housecleaning Central suggests trying aloe vera on grease stains. Always try a stain removal method on a small section of the clothing first. Though baking soda and dishwashing liquid should be safe on cotton, it's always best to be sure.

If you have a huge mess on your hands and grease is on more than your clothes, Reader's Digest has some tips for removing grease stains from all sorts of surfaces.

4 | That was Easy

There's no longer any need to worry about how to remove grease stains--not even how to remove grease stains from cotton! Sure, it takes a little time, but the items you need are likely already in your home. Removing grease stains may have seemed hopeless before, but now you know it's possible to get that cotton garment looking brand new again!

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