May 26, 2009

How to Get Oil and Grease Stains Out of Clothes!


How To Get Oil And Grease Stains Out Of Clothes!  I can wear the other half of my wardrobe again!

I brought a few shirts to the dry cleaners about a year and a half ago because they had some grease stains on them and I had tried and tried to get them out without any success.

I was fully prepared to pay the $2.00 per shirt at the dry cleaners (much less than buying a new shirt, right?) but the very nice lady at the dry cleaners said, “Oh, you can just use some Dawn Direct Foam on that and it will come right out!” Well not only did she create a customer for life (or at least as long as we are living in this city) but she gave me some knowledge that has saved MANY shirts from ending up in a garage sale or at a thrift store (or at the dry cleaners).

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grease oil stains on clothes

So when your shirt looks like the shirt pictured above, just put a little Dawn Direct Foam (or another similar product) on each spot, let it sit a few minutes, and then wash as usual! The grease stains disappear like magic!

This also can come in handy if you are garage sale or thrift store shopping and you find shirts with oil or grease stains. You can pay the 10¢ to buy the stained shirt with confidence, knowing that the shirt will look as good as new after you’re done with it! 🙂

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I heard that it also works as a flea shampoo for your dogs, and it’s safe to use.

  2. I have been using the Dawn direct foam for grease stains for quite some time now, it works great, however I tried using a cheaper brand on a few stains, and it did not work as well as the dawn did. It got some of the stain out, but you could still slightly notice where it was on the shirt.

  3. I use lemon Joy and it works too!

  4. The Nordgren Family says:

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard this before! I don’t usually buy Dawn, but I’m totally going to buy one now to keep in the laundry room! I wish I’d known this before now. Do you think this works on shirts that have already been washed/dried?

    • Yes it does work on clothes already been washed and dried in the dryer. Just remember to let it sit with the Dawn on the stain for a few minutes.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Regular dawn works just as well too and is less expensive than dawn direct.

    • Dawn Direct is just regular Dawn, diluted! I bought a Dawn Direct when they first came out. You need the pump that comes on that bottle. Since then, every time it gets very low, I put about half an inch to 3/4 inch of Dawn in the bottle, then fill it to the line with water. Shake a little or tip it side to side several times, and you’ve got Dawn Direct. SUPER cheap!!

  6. Love this tip, and love your blog! Thanks for the heads up!

  7. Thanks for the tip!
    My dh is a rigger & comes home covered in God knows what & you name it.
    I have tried everything & can not get out the stains.
    Will try this.
    Off to get some Dawn Foam!

    • Margaret Rose says:

      Meghan, have you tried a product called Zout? I have even found it at the dollar store at times, but you can buy in most supermarkets. It is wonderful with all kinds of stains, even after the article has been washed and dried. I am going to try the Dawn myself too, but Zout has always been my go-to . Probably Dawn would be cheaper to use if it really works.

  8. Thanks for this fabulous tip! Now I’ll be able to wear the other half of my wardrobe in public again!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have always used regular dawn dish soap. If it doesn’t work the first wash I put dawn on it and let it sit on the shirt a few days. I learned it from my husband who always gets grease on his clothes from working in the garage.

  10. Monique says:

    I use regular Dawn. Works great on ALL grease stains I have encountered so far. I leaned against some pipe elbows that had plumbers grease on them one night at work. I didn’t realize it until I had gotten it all over my hands. I wiped the excess off then left the pants to sit while I researched a good product to use. Dawn seemed to be the over-whelming choice for tough grease stains so I used the bottle in the kitchen and rubbed it in from the inside to help the fabric release the grease. It worked GREAT! I saved my favorite pair of jeans and was so happy.

  11. I use Lestoil. It stinks but it gets the grease out!

  12. Do you rinse the shirt to get the soap out before you wash? I put Dawn on some perspiration stains and it worked like a charm but my frontloader filled up with soap bubbles while they were washing.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have the same success with Lestoil, but it is getting harder and harder to find these days.

  14. Tina Parker says:

    Any Dawn dishsoap will work. My friends mother told me this when I got Taco grease stains on my favorite dress. And it usually works even if the item has been washed and dried. Like others have said I to keep a small bottle of Dawn in the laundry room too.

  15. Actually, you can do this with regular Dawn dishwashing liquid too. There’s a small pre-treatment step of putting cornstarch on the spot, rubbing it in and then shaking off the excess. I actually give the clothing a good sharp smack, and the spot will be highlighted plain as day. Apply liquid dish soap and rub in, let dry, launder as usual.

  16. Jennifer D says:

    I’ve been doing this for over 20yrs with regular Dawn dish soap. It’s always worked!

    • Chris C says:

      I find that the longer you have the Dawn on the stains before you wash the item, the better. This works like a charm even on grease stains in clothes that have been previously washed and dried in the dryer.

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  18. I have a ball point ink stain on my car cloth seat …any suggestions??? HELP…

    • try using old fashioned hair spray. Spray it on, wipe it off.

      • Brendaelaine Waddell says:

        Absolutely use hair spray! My girlfriend had just bought a brand new trench coat one day and called me the next days in tears saying she had ruined her brand new coat. The Dry Cleaners had refused to even try to get the stains out there were so many (her pen had leaked).

        Anyways, a few hours later, she called me and said that she tried it cuz she had nothing to lose since the Cleaners wouldn’t try and she showed me the coat looked brand new again.

  19. If it is a small stain and you need to wear it NOW put powder on the stain, let it sit while you shower then brush away the powder with a stiff bristle brush (I have a dedicated shoe brush for this purpose). Works like a charm.

  20. where do you buy Dawn Direct Foam?

  21. My granddaughter got eyeliner on the inside head liner in my Van. Any suggestions on how to get out. Black liner on light gray head liner

  22. Another product that works well on getting greasy or greasy stains out of clothing is: Orange Cleaner with Degreaser that you can buy at the “Dollar Tree” for $1 a bottle. I spray it on the stains directly, rub it some, let it sit for 15 minutes and then wash in warm water. Seems the warm water works better than a cold water wash. I learned that. This cleaner is also great to clean in the kitchen with. You can also pour 1/2 cup of it into 1 gallon hot water for mopping kitchen floors. Leaves them clean with a bit of shine and they smell great. For those who have chemical sensitivity like I have, this cleaner does not seem to bother me or give me Migraines like bleach and so many other cleaners do.

  23. Be sure and use plain Dawn on colored fabrics, if it contains oxi (can be use on white) it will lighten the fabric. Also use shampoo on collars to remove “ring around the collar”, shampoo is designed to remove body oils.

  24. I have used coca cola on grease/oil stains for almost 30 years. Just pour some on the stain and the rest of the can in the laundry, works miracles. Also works on greasy hubcaps from brake dust.

  25. Pamela Brock says:

    So it won’t discolor the shirt or blouse?

  26. Kim Landon says:

    I have read this tip before and it sounds great…but buying or rather finding Dawn Direct Foam is no easy feat! Hard to least in Omaha, NE

  27. Dawn Str8 says:

    I left a tube of lipstick in a pair of jeans but didn’t find out until I took the jeans out of the dryer. The lipstick had melted and left many stains on the jeans. I sprayed Greased Lightening on the spots and immediately before my eyes the lipstick started lifting. I sprayed the spots let it sit a few min and rewashed them. They came out good as new.

  28. Will this work for chapstick as well? Even after washed and dried? This chapstick is on a slick fabric jacket (like a blas jacket type). They are 2 of my husbands favorites and I didn’t realize the chapstick was in the pocket until after they were both washed and dried

  29. Anonymous says:

    Lestoil also works great for getting oil, grease, coffee, grass stains, and all sorts of stains out of your laundry.

  30. I jus squirt the stain with blue dawn and throw in the hamper until I have a full load.

  31. I have also used it on car grease stains, you just rub the clothes and let it sit for a few minutes. Depending on the stain you may need to repeat treatment.

  32. My son washed and dryed a tube of neosporin and got grease stains on an entireload of clothes. I tried this but it didn’t work.

  33. melody snyder says:

    I tried this on a fresh grease stain (1000 island salad dressing) but to no avail. Any other suggestions?

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