When it comes to laundry, few things are as horrifying as a grease stain. The moment you see an oil stain, you know it will need a ton of elbow grease and multiple cycles in the washing machine to come off.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to get rid of grease stains from clothes effectively without having to purchase a commercial stain remover.
Your pantry and kitchen are filled with all kinds of ingredients that can help lift the grease off your clothes. In this guide, we'll discuss some methods to remove oily patches, be it cooking grease, motor oil, or even machine grease.
Why Is It So Difficult to Get Grease Out Of Clothes?
You might be wondering why grease stains are so challenging to remove. The reason is that grease doesn't mix with water, which means it will not dissolve in your liquid laundry detergent without a bit of help.
Time for a quick chemistry lesson. Grease is a lipid, which means it is non-polar; meanwhile, water is polar. The difference in polarity means they don't mix well.
As a result, grease clings to your garment instead of being washed away like protein-based stains. This means you need to use ingredients with a higher affinity for grease than water.
Grease also tends to seep into the fibers of your clothing, which makes getting it out even harder. Worry not, though – we'll teach you how to get grease stains out of clothes.
7 Best Methods To Get Grease Out Of Clothes
Most of the methods we tell you below won't require any specialized skill or materials. You'll most likely have these items at home. Let's get right into the methods.
Method 1: Use Dish Soap
We take off with the most ubiquitous material you probably have at home – dish soap. If you've never used it on clothes before, that's not a problem. It's safe for your garments, just as it is for your pots and pans.
The reason dish soap works so well is that it's designed to break down all sorts of oils. That's why it cuts through grease on your dishes and, in this case, clothing.
Here's how to use it:
Put your garment on a piece of cardboard or a towel.
Cover the stain with a little dish soap.
Gently rub the detergent into the stain with your fingers or a toothbrush.
Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Rinse the area thoroughly with cold water.
If the stain is gone, wash your garment as usual.
If the stain is still there, repeat the process or move on to another method.
Time Taken: The entire process should take no more than 15 minutes, depending on how long you let the soap sit.
Method 2: Use Aloe Vera Gel
You're probably surprised to see a skin product on this list. But aloe vera gel works wonders for getting grease out of clothes. It's gentle and non-toxic, so it won't harm your clothes or skin.
Aloe vera contains components of proteins called amino acids. These elements break down the oil in grease, making it easy to remove.
Here's how to use it:
Fill the sink or a tub with hot water and soak your garment in it.
Take the clothing item out and apply a generous amount of aloe vera gel on the stain.
Rub it into the stain by using a toothbrush in a circular motion.
Wash the garment as usual.
If you use this method, you should hang or air-dry your garment.
Time Taken: Expect to spend 10-15 minutes on this method.
Method 3: Try Baking Soda
You can use baking soda to remove an oil stain, provided the garment hasn't gone through the washer yet.
Baking soda works best on stains that haven't set yet. It absorbs the oil so the stain does not fully set into your garment's fibers.
Here's how you can use baking soda:
Put your garment on a flat surface like a towel.
Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the stain.
Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. You'll notice a change in the color of the baking soda as it soaks the grease.
Once it has dried, scrape the baking soda off your garment.
- Wash your garment with hot water.
If you don't see a color change, repeat the process until you see the stain fade away.
Time Taken: The method takes about 20 to 30 minutes. It may take longer in the case of multiple applications.
Method 4: Make a Cornstarch Paste
Cornstarch isn't just for cooking; it also removes stains, especially those left behind by cooking oil. It also doesn't get stuck to your garment and is a wonderful cleaner for delicate fabrics like suede.
To use cornstarch:
Make a thick paste by mixing water and cornstarch.
Spread this paste on the stain. Make sure you cover it completely.
Leave the cornstarch paste on the garment, waiting for it to dry.
Remove excess paste from the garment by brushing it off gently.
Wash your garment as usual.
Time Taken: The method can take up to half an hour as the paste needs to dry.
Method 5: Use Chalk
Who knew that good old chalk could remove oil stains? Chalk has absorbent properties that can pull out the oil from your garment.
Here's how you can use chalk:
Rub the chalk directly onto the stain, covering it completely.
Let it sit overnight.
Brush off the excess.
Wash your garment in the warmest setting possible using your regular laundry detergent.
Time Taken: The overnight method may take up to 8-10 hours. However, if you're in a rush, you can leave the chalk on for at least 30 minutes before washing the garment.
Method 6: Apply Hairspray
If other cleaners aren't available, give hairspray a shot. The chemicals in hairspray have properties that can lift oil stains.
To use hairspray:
Put a towel under the stain so that it does not spread.
Spray hairspray on the stain to dampen it completely.
Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
Wash as usual.
Time Taken: 30 minutes at most.
Method 7: Use Lestoil
For those of you who may not be familiar with Lestoil, it is a heavy-duty cleaner that is commonly used for removing grease and tar stains from the floors. Just a heads up: don't use it on delicate fabrics. Instead, limit this method to durable fabrics.
It's best to do a spot test before using Lestoil on your greasy garment.
Use a small brush or your finger to apply the cleaner directly onto the stain.
Wash as you normally would.
Air dry your clothes.
Time Taken: It takes about 5 minutes.
Want To Keep Your Clothes Grease-Free?
Whether you accidentally get an oil stain on your favorite dress or you're a mechanic who's prone to grease stains, these methods are sure to have your garment looking good as new. However, sometimes, you just don't have the time or expertise to deal with such stains.
Why go through this hassle when Rinse is just a text away? At Rinse, we know how to deal with all kinds of stains, irrespective of the fabric they're on or how tough they've become.
You don't even have to go through the trouble of bringing your greasy clothes to us for washing. We'll pick them up from your doorstep, wash them using eco-friendly products, and deliver them back to you. Simply text us or book a pick-up using our website.
Since we also offer dry cleaning services, we can get rid of that one unfortunate oil stain on your favorite dress or the suit you want to wear to your next important event.
Contact us at Rinse today to see our skill in action.
Image Source: The Clorox Company, Church & Dwight Co., Inc.