Life in Lape Haven

Tried It Tuesday: How to Get Grease Stains (Even Set-In Ones) Out of Clothing

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: How to Get Grease Stains (Even Set-In Ones) Out of Clothing - After finding grease and oil spots on my son's shirts, ones that had already been washed and dried, I decided to find a simple way to get the grease and oil stains out of his clothing.

My children are really doing wonders for improving my laundry skills and stain-treating know-how lately. First it was the hunt to figure out how to get rid of dry erase marker on my 5-year-old’s pants. Then, thanks to my 2-year-old, I learned how easy it is to remove silly putty from fabric.

This week, Elijah’s sloppy eating habits have sent me on a new quest: How to get grease stains – set-in ones, too – out of clothing.

(This post may contain affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you use the link.)

Last week my son wore a brand-new yellow polo shirt to church and at lunch spilled pasta sauce on it. My hubby used cold water to sponge it off, and I thought we might have dodged a stain bullet. I even pretreated it before washing it, just to be safe. However, I was disappointed when I went to fold the laundry and saw three very obvious oily, grease splotches on Elijah’s only-worn-once new shirt. Ugh.

Then that night as I was pulling clothes out of his dresser for him to wear to school in the morning, I picked out a long-sleeved dark blue shirt, only to toss it back down in defeat when I noticed that it had some mysterious greasy-looking stains on it, too.

Determined to salvage these two shirts, I looked for solutions online for how to remove grease or oil stains from clothing. Having tried the chalk idea in the past with little success, I skipped that, and we didn’t have any WD-40 on hand, so that knocked out a good number of Pinterest search results for removing grease spots.

Then I found one that promised that I could get the grease out, even if the item had been through the dryer, using only items that I had in my house!

It required Spray ‘N’ Wash stain treater, baking soda, dish detergent, and an old toothbrush. Check, check, check, and check!

I was ready to treat, scrub, and wash, and hopefully save two shirts.

Following the directions I had found, I treated the shirts with Spray ‘N’ Wash and used the toothbrush to scrub it in. Then I heavily dusted the treated areas with baking soda and scrub some more. (Actually, Josiah came in and wanted to help, so I let him do some scrubbing). After that I added some dish detergent, scrubbed a final time, and then let the shirts set about 10-20 minutes.  (The instructions online said you could leave it anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.)

After washing and drying the shirts as usual, I laid them out on the table for inspection.

Sadly, the yellow shirt still had some visible staining, even though it was much less than before. The blue shirt actually looked completely stain-free, however, which made me very happy. It wasn’t until I took a picture of the blue shirt, using my flash, that I could even see even a hint of a small stain or two that I must have missed treating the first time through.

Having evidence that the solution would help, I put the yellow shirt through a second complete stain treating and scrubbing, then washed and dried it again.

This time, the stains were pretty much gone. Again, it only shows up vaguely when I took a picture with my flash on. To the naked eye, it looks like a stain-free shirt again!

Tried It Tuesday: How to Get Grease Stains (Even Set-In Ones) Out of Clothing - After finding grease and oil spots on my son's shirts, ones that had already been washed and dried, I decided to find a simple way to get the grease and oil stains out of his clothing.

So, now I know that Spray ‘N’ Wash, baking soda, and dish detergent are a great combination for getting grease and oil stains out of our clothing.

I wonder what new stain my little boys will find for me to become an expert on next…

Here’s a hint: It’s grass stains! 🙂

Related Articles

About author View all posts Author website


Hi! I’m Kishona. I pour all my heart into creating a happy, Christ-centered home & haven for my sweet husband & our three little ninjas (or super heroes or Jedis…it depends on the day). I dabble in photography, concoct in the kitchen, and love sharing my adventures & the lessons I'm learning as I experience God's faithfulness through the joy & chaos of motherhood.

49 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Thank you! OMG, this worked. I am so very happy. One suggestion I’d like to offer to the evolution of our human race: Please place safety pins around the stain to create a border because one can easily lose track of where it originally was after the garment gets wet. It helps to stay focused in the scrubbing phase and also while using a hair dryer on that stain spot after washing and rinsing to see whether the stain came out. With safety pins, you don’t have to dry the entire garment to find out whether it worked. Half of my pant leg was covered in water and solution and I found it difficult to remember exactly where the stain was originally. For those who like to take pictures, you could also photograph the stain to help figure out where it was. Last tip: I threw some white vinegar onto the baking soda to rev up the process, scrubbed the back of the stain (inside out) and then added the mixture to the top of the stain (outside out) to remove large deep set oil spots the first time around. Hooray! I love these pants and may keep them thanks to you.

    • Roberta, I’m so glad this helped you! It’s so frustrating to have a favorite piece lost to annoying stains. Also, good tip about marking the area. When the stain is actually gone, at least you can remember for certain where it was. 🙂

    • Hi, Nicole! I’ve heard that WD-40 works, too. I just didn’t have any around when I needed it, so I went with what I had. Haha. 🙂

  • Would this work on wooden garments as well, making sure I don’t over scrub to cause the garment to stretch. Only wore my new top for an hour until toddler smeared margarine on me from her sandwich 🙁

    • Hi, Bella! I’ve never personally tried it on woolen garments, but I would probably try it (gently, as you said) if I couldn’t wear it right now anyway. I might hand-wash it and let it dry flat. Of course, I’m not an expert. 🙂 I’m just a mom who’s found something that worked for me so far. If you do try it, please let me know if it helps. Thanks!

  • my husbands Chap Stick went through the washer and dryer…ruined three golf shirts. Anybody know how to remove those spot So?

    • I’ve not had to deal with Chapstick stains… yet. However, this same grease stain method might work.I know I used this process on one of my hubby’s dress shirts that had a deodorant stain, and it came clean with the first try. It might depend on the fabric, though. If you try this, please let me know if it works. 🙂 Thanks, Betty.

  • I just use Greece lightning I spray it on the stain let it sit for 10-15 minutes then wash like normal. I’ve been using this for 25 years or to be exact since my son spit up all over me 25 years and 8 months ago.

    • Thanks for the tip, Dalia! I’ve never heard of Greased Lightning (the cleaner), so I looked it up. Looks like it’s mainly sold more in the south, according to their website’s list of places to buy it, but I’ll keep my eyes open for it anyway. If you’ve used it for 25 years, it must be working. 🙂

    • Hi, Nancy. I have used plain Dawn on stains when I KNOW they are there & have just happened. Catching a stain before it goes through the wash is so much easier to treat than when you find it afterward. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Wow! Another cleaner that I had to look up. Haha. Apparently it’s been around a while, too, as in since 1933! Thanks for letting me know, Nancy. I’ll have to try it, too.

    • I, too, use Lestoil. Gets it out every time. And ones that I miss and wash and dry before treating, use lestoil and it comes right out. I now have to order it from Amazon since I can’t find it in any stores.

  • I just use dish soap and a toothbrush…..99% of the time that is all it takes….sometimes there is a missed spot and then I just repeat!!

  • You can also use Lestoil for oil stains, grass, spaghetti sauce, tar, lipstick and the goo that builds up on the top of your refrigerator. It is really thick. I use a squirt bottle and rub in with a tooth brush. I discovered this product my my daughter, then 2 poured an entire bottle of oil on the kitchen floor. I first picked up the oil with newspaper and then use a diluted Lestoil to was the floor. I love Lestoil so much and cannot tell you how many things it has “saved”. My son had the cleanest football uniform on his team…grass stains gone.

  • I have had years of experience getting set in oil stains out of clothing without a problem.
    Many times my husband’s khaki pants, golf shirts, dress shirts have grease or oil stains set in after being washed and dried before noticing them. My Mother introduced me to ‘Lestoil’ in my early years of marriage and now I’m never without it. All my children and friends use it on their stains. It’s so easy to use – just pour it on the stain (no scrubbing necessary) and let it sit a few minutes before washing. It works on many other stains as well. I have used it on polyester, cotton, wool and even washable silk. I recently introduced my sister-in-law to it during her extended stay with us. She placed a bottle of it in each of her young adult children’s Christmas stockings. When I lived up North the grocery stores carried it but now living in the South, I order it online or at my local hardware store. Warning: It doesn’t have the greatest odor when using but the odor washes out.

    • Hi, Dolly! Thanks for the tip! I’ve never seen Lestoil in the store, but maybe I just haven’t been looking for it. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

  • Thank you for this!!! I just purchased a brand new 100% polyester blouse and wore it while I cooked tortillas in oil 🤦🏼‍♀️ . Tried this method with oxyclean instead and it’s spot free!!! I’m so impressed!!

  • I just purchased a brand new 100% polyester blouse and wore it while cooking tortillas in hot oil 🤦🏼‍♀️ . Tried this method but with oxyclean and my shirt is saved!! Thank you!! It’s a miracle!! I’m so flippin’ happy!

  • I have some old work shirts that are VERY heavily stained and greasy. Somewhere i read to use Go-Jo hand cleaner on stains. I rubbed it on by hand and threw in washer – – WOW! Years of stains and grime gone! Used it on old work hat, too!

  • I tried this and the stain is gone but so is the color from my sweatshirt. There is a big white spot where the stain used to be.

  • Hi! I’ve been successful with just baby powder OR cornstarch on new AND dried in grease stains. I generously sprinkle covering the stain, use my finger to lightly dab & spread. (you should only see white powder on the stain) Next, I put a clean cotton hand towel on top, add a little pressure, fold it up & put to the side until wash time. On brand new stains, say on a bedspread, same process but NO hand towel, just let it sit. After 2-3 hours, use a silver spoon, gently scoop up the used powder and toss not to letting the dirty powder drop back on the fabric. Dried in = 24 hrs, new = 2-6 hrs set time. If after you wash and it’s still viewable, redo with the other powder. I have yet to lose a garment! Good luck 🙂

  • A friend of mine shared with me THE most amazing grease stain remover on planet earth. It’s the Shout grease busting stain remover spray. Can get it at Walmart for about $3.88 and it works INCREDIBLE!! Even on grease stains that are very old, have been washed AND dried! I’ve never been so impressed with a stain remover before. 🙂

  • I soak in very hot water with lots of oxyclean powder. Let sit for a day. Then way like normal. It usually gets everything out.

  • Many years ago I had a white shirt (cotton polyester) that I loved. After I was done the laundry I noticed a whole bunch of ugly, oily looking brown spots that were not there before. I thought it unwearable but I remembered the Blue Flame Kitchen my gas company had and I called it. They told me to use a little paint thinner, let it sit for a minute then use dish soap on the spots and wash as usual. It worked excellently and all the spots were gone. I have used this method ever since. Just remember to use the paint thinner carefully, you only need to barely damped the stain.

  • I have had really good luck with equal parts of blue Dawn dish detergent, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. I put this into a tall mason jar (But not to the very top!) I stir it up carefully and apply it with a tooth brush. It does wonders on new stains as well as most stains that have already gone through washer and dryer. There have been precious few that didn’t come out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.