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How to Get Grease and Oil Stains Out

Grease and oil stains are often difficult to remove from clothing, but you don’t have to live with dark stains on your clothing or toss out your favorite shirts.


Persil is able to cope with a broad variety of oily and greasy stains during the laundry process.

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Differences Between Grease and Oil Stain Removal

Grease and oil are often used interchangeably in homes as lubricants to friction and for cooking. There are a couple of distinct differences between the two, however. The first is their physical appearance. Oil is typically found in liquid form, while grease is semi-solid. Their origins also make them different. Both may be derived from animal fats, but oils may also come from plant sources. The similarities between the two mean that the same methods may be used for removing an oil stain as for grease stain removal.

Types of Grease and Oil Stains

Grease and oil stains can come from a variety of sources, including common cooking oils like olive, coconut, vegetable and pickle oil. Certain types of food have high oil content as well, such as peanut butter and butter, and they may create dark stains if they come in contact with clothing. Hair products, Vaseline, and lotions all contain oil as well and can stain your clothes.


Removing Grease and Oil Stains: Step by Step

Have an oil stain on your pants or shirt? Here’s what to do to remove the stain:

  1. Choose the right Persil for your type of clothing; check the maintenance label on your shirt or pants for specific instructions from the manufacturer.
  2. Blot gently to remove excess grease.
  3. Wash the fabric as quickly as possible for the best chance at grease stain removal.
  4. Check the grease and oil stain after washing to see if it has been completely removed.
  5. Repeat the process as necessary.

Choosing Your Detergent and Stain Remover

Commercial Manufacturers of laundry detergents and stain removers, like Henkel, have developed detergents and stain removers that are specifically designed for treating grease and oil stains.

If the garment is washable and white, consider a product like Persil Universal Powder or Gel. For colored clothing, choose Persil Color Powder.  With each of these, you’ll follow the dosage for ‘heavily soiled’ garments on the product’s instructions. Please be always aware about the care instruction of your laundry and following these instructions carefully.

With colored garments, always test the stain remover in an inconspicuous area first to check for color fastness.


Before you toss the clothing in the washer, always take the time to pre-treat the stain. Blot it gently with a paper towel or clean white cloth to remove excess grease.

If the garment is washable, you can use a small amount of Persil Universal Gel and apply it directly to the stain, gently rub in and let sit for 5 minutes.

Wash and Rinse

Check the instructions on your detergent and stain remover for the next step. You may need to rinse the oil stain remover off the fabric under hot water before washing the clothing. Pay attention to the maintenance label on your clothing and rinse, then wash the clothes in the highest possible wash temperature for that particular fabric most suitable with Persil Universal Gel by following the directions for ‘heavy soiled’ garments on the package.

It’s important to wash the clothing immediately. Doing so lets you remove grease stains more easily.

Check the Grease and Oil Stain

If the grease and oil stain hasn’t completely disappeared, repeat the process of pre-treating and washing the fabric. Do not dry the clothing; high heat can set the stain and make it very hard to remove.

Remove Grease and Oil Stains from Different Fabrics and Types of Laundry

Removing grease stains and oil stains from everyday clothing, like jeans, shirts, sweaters, polo shirts and blouses requires only the steps above. The same steps can be used when removing these types of stains from cloth, cloth napkins and bed sheets as well.

When caring for oil stains on delicate garments, like blouses made of silk or sweaters made of wool, carefully read the manufacturer directions on your stain remover of choice.

Don’t be tempted to use natural grease removers on clothing that can only be dry cleaned, like suits and dresses. While many natural removers may help effectively remove stains on your clothing, certain delicate fabrics that are dry-clean only may not react well to the mixture of oil, grease and your chosen stain remover. The result may be changes to the clothing’s color. Save your clothes and visit the dry cleaners instead.

Grease and Oil Stains Still There After Washing and Drying?

The hot temperature of the dryer can set grease stains, making them harder to remove. However, that doesn’t mean all is lost. You can still remove grease stains from clothes after drying. First, apply a small amount of grease to the stain. This may seem odd, but it actually helps revive the stain. Then, follow the steps above, pre-treating it and washing at a high temperature. Do not dry again until the stain is completely gone.

Make your next laundry day hassle-free and get rid of those tricky grease and oil stains.

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