How to get old grease stains out of clothes

Found an ancient stain on a favourite item? Salvage it with our guide on how to remove old grease stains from clothes.


Hands washing out oil stains

Key steps

  • Lay the stain flat over a piece of cardboard or an old towel.
  • Rub washing-up liquid into the stain.
  • Wash your clothes on the hottest setting recommended on the care label.
  • Always test products in an inconspicuous area.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions if you opt for a commercial stain remover.

Oil stains are easy to miss, and it's not unusual to pull an item out of the dryer or the wardrobe and discover a grease stain you didn't notice before. These can be tricky to remove, but not impossible. Here we'll provide a step by step guide for how to remove old oil stains from clothes using simple, household products!

Did you know that household products are perfect for removing grease from clothes? For fresh stains use baking soda, for dried stains use washing-up liquid or aloe vera.

How to get old grease stains out of clothes: a step-by-step guide

With this simple step-by-step guide, we'll show you how to remove old grease stains from clothes with ease.

Do you use powder, capsules or liquid to wash your clothes?

What do you need?

  • Baking soda
  • A toothbrush
  • Washing-up liquid
  • A piece of cardboard OR an old dark towel

How to get oil stains out of clothes after drying

  1. Start by laying out your stained clothing, ensuring it is flat and the stain is visible for you to work on.
  2. Lay the stained area over a piece of cardboard or an old towel.
  3. If you have already dried your clothes, spread washing-up liquid over the top of the stain. Ensure it is completely covered. If you have it available, aloe vera is a great alternative to washing-up liquid.
  4. Leave the washing-up liquid for around 10 minutes.
  5. Using a toothbrush, scrub the stain. You want to be gentle enough to not damage the fabric, but scrub firmly enough to work the baking soda or washing-up liquid into the stain.
  6. Now it's time to wash your clothes!
    • Use a normal wash cycle.
    • Ensure you use the hottest water recommended for the fabric. Check this on the care label.
  7. Once you have removed your clothes from the wash, check the stain is fully removed.
  8. If you notice there are some stubborn stain marks left behind, repeat steps 1-6.
  9. This should leave your garments stain-free. Now you can dry and wear them as normal!

How to remove grease stains from clothes after drying: the dos and don'ts

Now you have the steps for how to get oil out of clothes after drying, it's important you remember these dos and don'ts too.

  • DO always follow manufacturer's instructions on the label if you opt for a commercial grease stain remover.
  • DO test any product you choose on an inconspicuous spot first to ensure it doesn't affect the material.
  • DO wear an apron or other protective clothing gen dealing with the stain. You don't want to accidentally transfer any oil to more of your clothing.
  • DON'T leave stains to set into the material. Whilst the above steps help you understand how to get old oil stains out of clothes, dealing with the stain ASAP is key. Read our guide for how to remove grease stains from clothes for more advice.

So, whether you want to know how to get cooking oil out of clothes after drying, or have spotted an old grease stain on something you've pulled out to wear, we've got you covered. You now have all the steps you need to deal with these stains and wear your clothes with pride.

Originally published