Have you ever tried to wash out grease stains? If so, you know it’s a challenge. The reason is, grease is hydrophobic, meaning it hates water.
And, if you’re working with synthetic fabrics, they’re also oleophilic, meaning these fabrics are attracted to grease.
To make matters more complicated, the laundry detergents we use to clean clothes contain mostly water and only a small about of detergent. For this reason, it’s difficult for the cleaning agents to penetrate grease stains.
This is why rinsing a grease stain with water before pretreating isn’t helpful for removing grease stains. The water protects the grease from the cleaning agents as the grease tries to repel the water.
Keep reading to learn more about different types of grease stains and how to remove them.
Grease stains need to be pretreated before washing. The pretreatment will depend on the type of grease (or oil). Also, don’t rinse grease stains before pretreating.
Work on the stain when the fabric is dry. Don’t rinse it with water first.
Say you accidentally brush up against a grill. You might find the stain is a mix of grease and ash. If the item is white and bleachable:
If the item is colored, pretreat the stain with Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster.
Pretreat the stain with Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster, or a small amount of liquid dishwashing detergent.
Work on the stains when the fabric is dry—don’t rinse them with water first.
Pretreat the stain with a small amount of liquid dishwashing detergent.
The key to removing crude oil is using a good solubilizer/solvent to dissolve the stains—preferably before they are wet from wash water.
Read this article for more information on how to remove crude oil stains.
Oily stains benefit from more concentrated cleaning solutions. Larger items like sheets and towels that have stains spread over them can be presoaked for more complete stain removal.
Read this article for steps on removing massage oil stains.
Pretreat the stain using either liquid dishwasher or detergent to break up the oil.
Crayons have a waxy component that doesn’t break up in detergent and water solutions—whether the crayon melted in a pocket when left in a hot car or went through a hot dryer. Get the steps to remove crayon stains.
What about lip balm? Find out how to remove it from whites and colors.
Read this article if you’re curious about lip gloss stains.
DO pretreat greasy stains before washing.
DO use a petroleum based liquid dish detergents (the kind you use for handwashing dishes) to pretreat grease stains, which get better results than plant based (natural) dish detergents.
DO consider a more powerful degreaser like Lestoil for pretreating heavy automotive grease stains.
DON'T rinse a grease stain with water before pretreating—always pretreat on dry fabric.
DON'T forget to rinse away all the dish detergent before you put the item in a clothes washer. Dish detergents can cause excessive foam in a washer, so rinse the item completely before machine washing.
DON'T (actually, never) try paint thinner to remove grease.