You enjoy your meal when… bam! Go for a new T-shirt or blouse topped with greasy butter or gravy. Ugh!
“Grease is one of the worst materials to throw out,” says Michael Silva Nash, executive vice president of Molly Maid in Greater Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas. “But it is possible if you act quickly and follow several steps to help pull the grease away from the surface of the fabric.”
Here’s how to remove grease stains from clothes:
The longer it stays there, the more difficult it will be to remove the grease stain. If this just happened, remove as much as possible with a white paper towel. (You don’t want dyes from the paper towels with the designs to transfer to the material, which makes the situation worse.)
“Pape, don’t rub the stain — because rubbing will push the substance into the fibers,” says Silva Nash. This technique also works on other items, such as tablecloths or cloth napkins.
If you are outside, sprinkling a small amount of salt or artificial sweetener onto the stain can help prevent it from settling.
Check the washing label.
Cotton can withstand hot water and frequent washing. Synthetic fabrics can be tricky because you may not know if they are mixed with other materials, but many of them tolerate warm water. If you’re not sure what type of fabric you have and are worried about the garment shrinking, cold water is your safest bet, although it may not be as effective at getting rid of the stains. If it is a silk or woolen garment, it is best to use a professional dry cleaner.
Apply dish soap directly to the stain.
Apply one or two drops of traditional dish soap, such as Dawn, directly to the stain; Avoid plant species that often don’t have the same grease-fighting power. Gently wipe the stain with your finger. Rub it in the direction of the fibers (kind of like a “grain”). The goal is to make the grease react with the soap that gets stuck in the oil and pulls it away from the fabric when you add water. You can also try this step using your favorite laundry detergent.
Rinse from the other side of the cloth.
Now wash the water (hot as recommended for the fabric) from the back – not the stained – side of the garment. Wash it for several minutes. Put it in the washing machine and wash it immediately on the highest temperature the garment can handle, using your usual laundry detergent. You can also try adding an additional stain remover or pre-treatment, but be sure to read the instructions.
Air dry it and check for stains.
The heat from the dryer will set the stains, so let the clothes air dry. Then check for any remaining residue. If there is still a shadow of the stain, repeat the process, says Silva Nash. You can make multiple attempts and you may succeed if you are patient! While this technique isn’t always foolproof, it’s definitely worth trying to save your favorite clothes from those unsightly grease and oil stains.