How to Remove Grease Stains from Clothes

This is a miracle method that WORKS, even if you have already washed and dried the garment. Let’s change your life and learn how to remove grease stains from clothes.

Where does this method come from?

I learned this trick from my mother-in-law (hi, Tammi!) who has been married to a farmer for most of her life. As you can imagine, farmers are around grease, oil, and all sorts of other mechanical goop all day long. When I asked her if she knew a way to get grease from my husband’s clothes she immediately taught me this trick.

How do clothes get grease stains?

There are many ways your pants or shirt might get big old blotches on them from grease. I have ruined (or thought I ruined) so many blouses from grease splatters while cooking.

I’ve also made the terrible mistake more times than once and let a tube of chapstick go through the dryer. All those melting oils splatter and set right into the fabric as the clothes tumble around, drying the grease in place.

Machinery or cars are other ways to get grease on you. Might have started on your hands but ends up on your shirt or trousers.

My husband’s biggest grease culprit comes from eating in the car. He drives a lot for work so is often eating on the go. The laps of all his nice work pants inevitably end up with grease stains and he buys more pants. Not anymore though!

removing a grease stain with special recipe rough and tumble farmhouse

How to Remove Grease from Clothes Even After Drying

Let’s not beat around the bush here and dive straight into how you do it. If you are interested in the science you can read more about that below.

Ingredients for DIY Grease Removal

  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Baking Soda

That’s it! And your life will now never be the same.

Steps for Removing Grease Stains

  1. Pour approximately one quarter cup of baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Squirt in 3-4 Tablespoons of Dawn dish soap. Yes, it must be Dawn. Give it a good stir
  3. If a paste-like consistency is reached it is ready. If it still dry and lumpy add another shot of dish soap.
  4. Using a spoon, old toothbrush, or your fingers, spread the paste over the grease stain. Really work it in from different angles. Allow to set for 15-30 minutes.
  5. Wash and dry the garment as you normally would.
  6. Marvel at your grease-free garment!

Why this Grease Removal Method Works

baking soda and dish soap rough and tumble farmhouse

Baking Soda and Grease

Baking soda, also called bicarbonate soda or sodium bicarbonate, is derived from naturally occurring minerals, nahcolite and trona. These are then refined down into soda ash, which is then further refined into baking soda. It’s really a fascinating process!

Baking soda is alkaline and grease is acidic. Thus the baking soda neutralizes and breaks down the grease particles. The grit of the soda itself also helps in breaking down the grease stains.

Dawn Dish Soap

Dish soap removes grease by breaking down grease into tiny particles that can be carried away by water.

I have tried using just Dawn dish soap to remove grease stains but have not had any luck. It is only when combined with baking soda that magic happens.

grease removal paste rough and tumble farmhouse

Does it have to be Dawn dish soap?

Yes. For my everyday dishes, I use Method or Seventh Generation, gentle hippie-type soaps. But when it comes to really fighting grease, there is no substitute for Dawn. This article from NPR explains how boat captains and clean-up crews from oil spills use it as their go-to degreaser.

Watch and Learn

Don’t believe this miracle fix will remove grease stains from clothes? Check out this video where I tackle a PILE of stained clothes and put the soda/soap trick to the test.

YouTube player

Looking for more cleaning tips?

Check out Five Natural Cleaning Recipes!

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rough and tumble farmhouse stain remover

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  1. So I’m always getting oil stains on my clothes and made sure I got some Dawn last week. Sure enough, yesterday I spilled some MCO on my t-shirt. A big blob of it. But I thought I would try your recipe and sure enough, it works!! My t-shirt is clean – no residual oil stain!! Hooray!!!!

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