Tackling grease stains

Summer means time spent on the grill, and unfortunately the grill means grease. If you’ve been enjoying hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks, you may have noticed a few more grease and oil stains on your clothing than usual. 

It’s not just grill grease that can cause these unsightly stains. Any type of oil can leave a dark stain if it comes into contact with your clothing. These can be difficult to remove, and the result is often a nasty dark spot on your clothes. Getting rid of these stains isn’t easy, but with a little elbow grease and our tips, you’ll be able to say goodbye to grease stains on your favourite clothes! 

Why does oil stain so terribly?

Unlike typical stains, grease and oil stains are actually semi-solid. That’s part of the reason they’re so difficult to remove. Essentially, they solidify in your clothing and leave a permanent mark. Oil stains often appear darker than the surrounding fabric, but aren’t an entirely different colour. It can almost look like you’ve just spilled water on the area, but it never dries.

The best way to get oil stains out of your clothing is to react quickly as soon as the oil makes contact with the garment. It’s not exactly a practical solution, since this isn’t always possible, but the faster you act on an oil stain, the better. It won’t be as easy as just throwing the stained clothing in the wash—oil is hydrophobic so you will need to put in a little more work. Here’s what we recommend:


The first thing you should do is scrape the excess grease or oil off of your clothing with a knife or spoon. Be careful not to damage the fabric while you do this. If you can, use a soft cloth or paper towel to blot the stains, taking care not to spread them further. 


There are many home remedies that can help to get rid of oil and grease stains after you’ve removed the excess. What repels oil? Vinegar! Vinegar can be an excellent solution for getting rid of oil stains. Allowing some to sit on the affected area for a few minutes will help to break stains apart. Be sure to use a basic white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. 


Another option is to use the gift that keeps on giving – baking soda. One of baking soda’s many, many uses is to help pull oil out of clothing. Add generous amounts of baking soda to the oil stain. Wait for it to absorb the oil, then scrape off the damp baking soda and apply more. Once the baking soda stops drawing out oil, add one final layer and leave it for thirty minutes to an hour. 


You can even use vinegar and baking soda in combination to really penetrate the stain. Use the baking soda method, then add some vinegar to ensure there is absolutely no oil left. If you still see a stain (or if you just want to be sure), add some grease-cutting dish soap to the stain and scrub it in. 

If your stain isn’t lifting, try following these steps on both sides of the garment. Removing a stubborn stain can be more effective if you saturate both the inside and outside of the garment equally. 


Once you have followed all of the steps above, it’s time to wash your garment. Follow the care instructions on the label, as you don’t want to further damage your clothing. Selecting the hottest setting appropriate for your article can help liquify the stain, loosening it to make removal easier. 


Pull your clothes out of the washing machine and carefully inspect the stained area. If it looks like the stain hasn’t been entirely removed, repeat all of the preceding steps before drying. 


It is very, very important not to put your oil-stained clothes into the dryer. This could cause the stain to set permanently, making it impossible to ever get out. Once you’re confident the oil stain is gone, allow your clothes to air dry. It may take a longer time, but it’s worth it. When the item is dry, you’ll be able to confirm whether or not the stain has been removed entirely. Once you’re absolutely certain it’s gone, you can then wash and dry it normally the next time.

Oil stains are pesky! Getting rid of them is no easy task, but with some extra effort, it can be done. Commit yourself to proper stain treatment and careful washing, and your clothes will be as good as new. So feel free to go crazy on the grill, or indulge in any other summer activities that make your clothes messy—with our laundry tips, we have you covered, no matter what happens. 

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