How To Remove Tough Grease Stains From Clothes

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Remove Grease Stains From Clothes

I work in food service so learning how to remove grease stains from clothes is a must. My working solution for grease stain removal is a soap-based paste.

I’ve pretty much always worked in food service and some of the worst stains I’ve come across have been food stains. Most will come out with a little coaxing, but grease stains, well, they’re here to stay. Until now!

Tip: have an oil stain? Learn how to remove oil stains from clothes.

Soap-Based Grease Stain Removal Works

In working with grease stains, I noticed two things. They occur more in cotton and cotton blends and they seem to last forever. After trying a few stain removers I began to conclude that most couldn’t budge the grease stains. However, soap-based cleaners DID work! Soap? Yeah, I’ve got that down pat!

How to Remove Grease Stains From Clothes

  • 1 cup grated soap base, must be natural, not synthetic or a syndet
  • 1/4 cup water, maybe a bit more or less
  • 20 drops lemon or grapefruit essential oil
  • pint jar with lid
  1. Start your grease stain cleaner by placing the grated soap in a bowl and cover with enough warm water to barely cover the soap and let sit for a few hours.
  2. Mix well and add more warm water to make a paste. The paste will not form right away because the soap needs to be softened by the water over time. Depending on the size of the shreds, this process could take a few hours or a few days. When you mix it, do so gently. Too much mixing can cause air bubbles. While this may be fun, it takes a while for the foam to die down.
  3. When the soap and water is a semi-smooth paste, add the essential oil. The paste won’t be smooth, but it will work well anyway. Lemon and grapefruit essential oils are grease fighters on their own, but together with the soap, they make for powerful grease stain removal.[1]
  4. Store the paste in the pint jar and be sure to seal it well. To explain, any air that gets in will dry out the paste and you’ll need to start over.

How to Remove Grease Stains With This Cleaner

This stain fighter is very easy to use. Simply spread over the stained area and rub together. If you can let it sit for a few hours, it will work better. You can just toss the garment into the laundry, but you may need to treat the stain more than once. If the stain is old, again, you may need to treat it a few times. I wear cotton polo shirts at work and even with the oldest stains, they only needed to be treated once or twice.

If you let the garment sit for a few days and the grease stain removal paste gets dried out, you can either wash it as normal or you can spray it with plain water and let it soften up before washing. Because natural soap retains its natural glycerin, you may not need a fabric softener. Or you can use this one which won’t leave a waxy residue on your clothes as many commercial fabric softeners will.

A Note on Essential Oils

If you prefer another scent, any essential oil will work as far as smell. But not all essential oils are grease cutters. The grease stain removal paste works well on its own, but the added oils make it work better.

If you are a soap maker, you don’t need to use the bars that you give away or sell. I use all the scraps I have from trimming my bars, and I have lots! But odd shaped bars or colors that don’t turn out right are perfect for this. Unless the soap is a very bright or dark color, the paste will be much lighter than the soap itself. And if it sits in a hot place, the soap paste could gel on you. I had some at the tailgate market last weekend and it gelled to transparent. It works the same either way.

Do you know how to remove grease stains from clothes? Tell us about it!



  1. Everything you Need to Know About Cleaning with Essential Oils!

About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Catherine Holland says

    Hello, thanks for this. Do you have to use slid soap or can you use castille liquid soap?

  2. Karin says

    I always keep a squeeze bottle of dish soap handy so I can dab a little on the grease stains right away. Let the clothes treated that way sit right a while and launder in the warmest water permissible for the garment. Works like a charm! You could add a drop of lemon essential oil on each stain. I wouldn’t premix the dish soap and oils in the plastic squeeze bottle, though, as the lemon oil degrades plastic.