There are no dearth of laundry offenders around us but oil and grease stains are probably the worst of the lot. They are like an eyesore on your favourite shirt and blouse. Not only that, these oil stains are pretty hard to remove too.


Now, you might be wondering why in the world are oil stains so tough to remove. Well, you can thank basic chemistry for that! Most grease and oils are found in a solid or semisolid form at room temperature which translates to the fact that you definitely need hot water for removing these stains. Moreover, it also depends on the type of fabric. For example- it is harder to remove oil stains from synthetic fibres rather than from cotton fabric. However, everything depends on timing. Read on to know more about how to remove oil stains from clothes.          


Procedure to remove oil stains from clothes without any wash


Removing grease stains effectively depends a lot on the timing. Needless to say, you will get the best results if you remove the stains as soon as they are made. Once the stains set in, they are a lot harder to remove.


  • Baking soda- For small grease splatters that you might get during cooking or binging on street food, experts recommend using baking soda. You can use this method for small grease dots or set in stains. Here’s how to go about it:


  • Blot out excess oil with the help of a paper towel/cloth.
  • Sprinkle some baking soda on the affected area and let it sit for 24 hours.
  • Then vacuum/brush away the baking soda.
  • Prepare a vinegar and water solution and spray this on the affected area.
  • Scrub with soap and brush and follow it up by rinsing well with water.
  • Repeat this process if the stain still remains.



  • Chalk- Chalks, just like baking soda, works by pulling out the oil from the fabric and attracting it towards itself. However, chalk methods cannot be used on large or old stains. Just follow a few simple steps to effectively remove the oil stains from clothes:


  • Take a clean paper towel or cloth and blot out excess oil from the affected area.
  • Cover the entire affected area with chalk and leave it on for a few minutes. This time is needed so that the chalk can completely absorb the oil.
  • Now, rinse the affected area with cold water.



But, how to remove old grease stains?

A lot of the time we discover the oil stains after running the clothes through the washer. What do you do then? Rewash? Nope. It won’t do much since the grease stains have already settled themselves comfortably on your clothes!  Needless to say, these stains will need some extra work. But anything for your precious clothes, right? Let’s go step by step:


  • Start treating on dry fabric- Oil and water do not mix. That is why, there is no need to wash your clothes before starting the treatment. It will be much more effective if you treat the stain on dried fabric.
  • Place cardboard- This is to ensure that no oil transfer happens in between the layers of garments. Don’t have a cardboard box? Upcycle some old cereal cartons or a delivery box.
  • Blot and blot some more- Take a clean dry cloth and carefully remove the excess oil from the affected area. Take special care to ensure that the oil does not spread to the other unaffected areas of the fabric. If you don’t have a cloth, you can also use a tissue or a paper towel.
  • Apply some dish soap- Liquid dish soap can cut through greases very effectively. Apply a few drops of liquid dish soap to the affected area and let it soak in. Rub gently with fingers and then scrub with a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush. Make sure that the dish soap soaks in for at least 5 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water-Now rinse away the soap with warm water.



After you are done rinsing, check if the spot is really gone. Once you have made sure of that, air dry the item.




  • Should I treat oil stains on washed clothes?

It is advisable to treat oil stains on dried fabrics.Oil and water do not mix. On washed items, the water forms a coating around the oil and hence treatment methods would be much less effective.


  • Which one is a better treatment agent- baking soda or chalk?

Both of them are good for treating grease spots on clothes. However, these methods might not work on old oil/grease stains.


  • How to remove old grease stains from clothes?

Start by placing cardboard underneath the affected area. Make sure the fabric is dry. This is to ensure there is no transfer of oil elsewhere. Now blot away excess oil with a clean cloth/ paper towel and then follow it up with some dish soap. Gently rub it with fingers or with a soft bristled toothbrush. Lastly, simply rinse the affected area with warm water.


  • What is the one thing that we should keep in mind while selecting our treatment process?


Timing is everything when it comes to grease removal. The faster you act, the better. That is why different treatment methods are available for newer stains and older grease stains.


  • How to treat oil stains after washing?


Well, no doubt this is a tricky business. But you can still remove oil stains from fabrics after washing and drying them. You need to do one additional step. Treat the stain just like you would normally and then follow it up with an enzyme based cleaner.


Wrapping up


We are sure by now you know how to remove oil stains from clothes without the hassle of rewashing your clothes. Choose your treating method based on how old the stain is and also if it’s a large stained area or a few greasy spots. And yes, you can also treat your clothes to an enzyme-based cleanser in case you have missed the grease spots during the original wash. So, which one are you choosing?