Here’s How to Never Worry About Grease Stains Again

Jolie Kerr is a cleanse technical and advice columnist. She ‘ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty ? Email her .
About a year ago, I dripped some pizza grease on my favorite shirt. I applied dish soap to the spot, lathered, and rinsed it with cold water in the sink before throwing the shirt in the wash. It came out stained. I tried washing it once more to no avail, and when that didn’t work I put it aside to take to a dry cleaner. But it never made it there, and after catching sight of it for weeks (months) and feeling shame/guilt about my clumsiness and inability to deal with the stain, I got rid of it.
Fast forward to last night, when after a long day I sloppily dropped a greasy take-out noodle on my latest favorite shirt. I once again immediately took it off, applied soap to the spot, added a bit of water, and worked it into a lather with my fingertips. I left it for about 20 minutes before rinsing it and hanging it to dry.
Not sure why I expected different results from doing the exact same thing, but of course I woke up this morning to find that the dark stain is still there, as is a lighter patch around it, where I guess the soap didn’t rinse out all the way. 

Jolie, what am I doing wrong? What do I do now, with my no-longer-fresh stain? Should I just take it to the dry cleaner? What do I do the next time I get grease on my favorite shirt, because I’m clumsy and it will happen again? A magical solution to stop getting grease on my favorite shirts would also be appreciated.
I have a charming solution ! actually, I have, like, five charming solutions ( for getting grease out ; ca n’t help you stop the grease there in the first station, good-for-nothing ). But before we get into what they are, let ‘s speak about the dish soap approach for a second .
You did n’t do anything amiss. You used a tried-and-true and oft-recommended method acting for treating a newly grease mark. It barely did n’t work for you ! That ‘s fair a thing that will happen, I ‘m regretful to report. That ‘s a general morsel of advice to bear in mind when it comes to stain removal and even other kinds of cleaning—sometimes a product or method acting that one person swears by simply wo n’t work for person else. Who knows why ? possibly it has to do with differences in the water supply, possibly a merchandise is old and has lost some of its efficacy, possibly the scent is just blowing in the ill-timed direction or you ‘ve been cursed by a knock-down enchantress. The instinct to try something else ( in this subject, dry clean ) was spot on. I am, however, a small implicated that in the path of laundering your pizza-befouled shirt, you may have put it in the dry hush stained, in which sheath it was probably a goner because estrus will set a stain, making it unlikely to come out even with repeated treatments. so, the fact that you never made it to the dry clean does n’t much matter .
That brings us nicely to one of the most perplex things about grease stains : Of all the stains in all the lands and all the seas, it ‘s the one most likely to look like it ‘s been removed in the slipstream, even if it ‘s still there. The nature of grease stains is that they generally darken the fabric they ‘re soiling, which means when you take, say, a grease-stained shirt out of the laundry, the wet fibers can obscure the remaining stain. This is an wholly infuriate fact of life and the reason why I want to powerfully encourage you to constantly allow a dress that ‘s been stained with oil or grease to breeze dry post-washing, rather than tossing it in the dry. Better to be safe than deplorable .
With that general advice out of the means, let ‘s talk charming solutions .

Lestoil or Pine Sol

This is my personal favored, and the one that I personally use when a dirt stain sullies an item of dress in my care : Dab the mark with a act of or Pine Sol, and then launder as common, remembering to pull the dress out of the wash to air dry before transferring the stay of the cargo to the dry .
It ‘s wyrd, to be sure, to use a intersection most of us think of as the stuff with which we clean the floors, but both Lestoil ( which is my poison ) and Pine Sol ferment extremely well as grease- and oil-stain removers. Both are made by the lapp company ( Clorox ), and they are alike but not identical degreasers. I swear by Lestoil but it can be harder to find than Pine Sol, then if you ca n’t locate Lestoil grab a bottle of Pine Sol and stash it with your laundry supplies .


Cornstarch is another great solution to your grease-stain woes, and can be used effectively even on older, more set-in stains. I have personally witnessed a atomic pile of cornstarch remove an older oil blot caused by a samosa from a silk sari, so I speak to this from a topographic point of deep understand.

Read more: Who Invented Pizza?

To use cornstarch as a stain removal agentive role, lay the dress flat in a put where it can sit, undisturbed, for at least an hour. Pile cornstarch atop the tarnish and walk away. That ‘s all ! After an hour, or more if you feel like it/have left the house/are faineant or unmindful, brush away the cornstarch and remove any remainder powderize using a damp sponge or tabloid. If there ‘s silent a trace of the stain, cover that using a good grease-cutting cup of tea soap like Dawn, Palmolive, or Seventh Generation—or just use any one of the other options presented here .


God bless WD-40, badly. The stuff does everything and if do n’t presently have a can in your base you should run out right field now to get one. I ‘ll wait .
OK, everyone ‘s got their WD-40 in hired hand ? marvelous ! For grease stains, spray the WD-40 on the tarnish area ( using the straw will help you control how much you ‘re applying to the fabric ) and allow it to sit for 15-30 minutes. Next, rub a little measure of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap into the stain and allow that to sit for another 15-30 minutes, then launder as common and air dry to ensure that the stain is wholly gone before the garment sees the home of a dry .

Shampoo for Oily Hair

much like grease-cutting cup of tea soap, shampoo that ‘s designed for function on greasy hair can be put to dependable use when it comes to removing grease and oil stains from clothing. This trick works good on a fresh mark, and is arsenic simpleton as massaging a bit of shampoo into the stain with your fingers, flushing with cold tend body of water, and then laundering as common .

Mechanics Soap

You know what mechanics frequently find themselves needing to clean up ? good ! Grease and anoint. So it stands to reason that mechanics soap will work wonders on those kinds of stains ; some brands to look out for are Lava and GOJO. To use them, apply to the tarnish and allow the product to work for 15-30 minutes before laundering offprint of other clothes ( this is a good fourth dimension to wash clean rags or old towels ) so that the mechanics soap does n’t cause an integral load to smell of that product. This is an specially good merchandise for people who ride bikes or motorcycles to know about, as it will treat those atrocious black stains caused by dirt on chains .
all right ! So there are all of my charming tricks, or at least some of them—I mean, I did n’t even mention the one about the Coca-Cola .
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