Written by Seraine Page. Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.
Oil stains can leave the most unsightly marks on your favorite clothing.
Whether it’s pizza grease or coconut oil, you don’t have to toss your best blouse into the trash just because of a little stain. Below, we share how to remove oil stains from clothes. It’s not as tricky as you may think!
Why are Oil and Grease Stains so Tough?
If you’ve ever tossed a grease-stained shirt in the washer and dryer and then removed it, you probably groaned when you noticed the stain was still there. Oil and grease don’t mix or break down with water since both are hydrophobic, which is tough since the main way we wash our clothes is in water. Oil stains are also hard to see on wet clothes, so you may not be able to tell if it’s really gone after washing.
One of the more trying parts of removing a stain is if you need the clothing right away. A little patience here is a must since running the stained fabric through the dryer before fully getting the stain out makes it harder to remove.
How to Get Rid of Oil Stains
Pretreating your stained fabric is the name of the game when it comes to getting out tough oil stains. To remove the stain and keep your fabric looking new, you’ll want to use these quick tips for getting rid of oil stains without having to make a trip to the dry cleaner:
- Treat as quickly as possible -- the longer it sets, the harder the removal.
- Work on the stain while it’s dry. Don’t rinse with water first!
- Blot the stain; don’t rub!
Follow these four steps to remove oil stains from clothing and other washable fabrics:
Step 1: Spray with Puracy Natural Stain Remover.
Fully saturate the stain with Puracy Natural Stain Remover. It uses a plant-based enzyme called lipase that is extremely effective at breaking down and eliminating stains from fats and oils. Our proprietary formula is also naturally-derived, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable, making it safe to use around children and pets.
Step 2: Wait.
It’s hard, but you’ll want to wait at least 15 minutes to let the stain remover do its thing. For tougher stains, use a soft brush to work Puracy Natural Stain Remover into the fabric and then let the solution sit for at least 8 hours. The longer you wait, the better your results will be.
Expert Tip: Looking for a convenient strategy to save time? Pre-treat the stain as soon as possible, then simply toss it in your hamper. As long as your item of clothing isn’t silk or wool, you can wash it several days later. Or if you need the item sooner, simply pretreat, toss in the washer, then set your washing machine on a time delay so it starts up in one hour.
Step 3: Launder.
Always read the fabric care instructions before tossing your garment into the wash. Wash in the warmest water your fabric allows. For tough stains, launder normally with an extra rinse setting.
Step 4: Let the garment air dry.
Sometimes a single wash won’t take the stain fully out. Air dry to ensure the stain is out. If the stain isn’t removed, then repeat the above steps.
Expert Tip: Don’t run your clothing through the dryer until you are sure the stain is out! Air drying can seem like an unnecessary step, but what’s more annoying: Losing your favorite t-shirt to a grease stain due to being impatient or waiting another day to wear it?
Can’t put your fabric in the washing machine? Follow these steps:
Step 1: Use the same instructions as above for “normal use” on fabrics.
Step 2: To rinse, fill a bowl with warm water, then saturate a clean cloth with the water.
Step 3: Gently wring the fabric, then press into the stain and move back and forth with light pressure. This will pull the stain remover from the surface, mimicking a rinsing effect.
Step 4: Rinse your cloth and repeat the same steps until the stain remover is "rinsed" from the surface.
Myths About Removing Grease Stains
There are a lot of myths about getting grease stains out of clothing. Here we put those myths to rest once and for all.
Myth #1: Grease stains are impossible to remove once set
Truth: Even if you’ve run the fabric through the dryer, it’s still possible to remove the stain. However, it might be more difficult and could take several washing cycles.
For old stains:
- Spray with Puracy Natural Stain Remover. We worked with our lead chemist -- who holds a PhD in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) -- to perfect this formula, so we promise it works well! And as we mentioned earlier, our natural formula uses a special enzyme called lipase to remove fats and oils from clothing.
- Next, agitate the affected area gently with a soft-bristled brush (a paint brush or makeup brush will work here), or by massaging the fabric together.
- Let it sit overnight, then wash the garment in the warmest water the fabric instructions recommend.
- If the stain is stubborn, repeat this process. Don’t put the garment into the dryer before the stain has been completely removed!
Puracy Natural Stain Remover has more than 3,000 reviews on Amazon. Here’s what one happy reviewer had to say about how effective our natural enzyme-powered formula is at removing set-in grease stains:
“I'm always skeptical of these kinds of products, but I went ahead and decided to give Puracy Natural Stain Remover a chance because I have clothes with small grease spots from cooking that I never notice until after I've already washed them. I used this on those items (which have already gone through the dryer several times). I sprayed it on the stains pretty generously, let it sit for a few hours, and then washed them as I usually do. When I took everything out of the dryer, the stains were gone! I have never seen such results from anything I've used before, including all of the big name stain removers that claim to be the best. This product will remain a staple in my laundry room forever!”
Myth #2: Oil stains require a dry cleaner to remove them
Truth: Some fabrics and stains may require professional services, but not all. If your fabric care instructions read “dry clean only,” then you’ll want to take your garment to a pro. If not, then try the tips above first to see if they eliminate the stain.
Myth #3: After a regular wash, the stain must be gone
Truth: Grease is not water-soluble, so washing with traditional laundry detergent might not remove all of the grease and the stain can remain on your beloved clothing. For best results, use Puracy Natural Stain Remover according to the guidelines above to eliminate the grease or oil before washing.
We also recommend washing your fabrics with a laundry soap like Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent that includes lipase in the ingredient list. Enzymes are proven to be the safest, most effective ingredients to remove and eliminate stains and odors, and our proprietary blend of plant-based enzymes and natural minerals cleans just as well as synthetic brands, all without bleaching or discoloring fabric.
Myth #4: Delicate fabrics are ruined once a grease stain sets
Truth: Since washing isn’t the most important thing to do when it comes to removing the grease, your delicate fabric may not be a lost cause. Apply Puracy Natural Stain Remover to get the toughest of stains out. Be sure to test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous area first. Don’t leave on silk or wool for more than one hour.
Do Different Types of Oil Need to be Cleaned Differently?
Generally, you’ll find most oil and grease stains will be cleaned the same way. Follow the instructions we mentioned above, and make sure you use a stain remover that includes lipase.
If it’s a solid fat, like avocado or butter, carefully scrape away the food with a spoon or spatula before pretreating the fabric with Puracy Natural Stain Remover. The less of the oil source you have on your clothing, the easier it will be to get past to treat.
And, of course, remember you may need multiple treatments to remove all of the stain, so a little patience is key!
Now that you know how to remove oil stains from clothes, you won’t have to throw away your favorite t-shirt next time you get a little grease on it. Best of all, you can use natural products like Puracy Natural Stain Remover and Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent to ensure you’re only using eco-friendly, safe cleaners on garments that come in contact with your family’s skin.
Prefer to switch to a natural laundry detergent now that you know how to remove oil stains from clothes? Check out our recent post on the Best Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin: No Harsh Chemicals, No Synthetic Fragrances.
Pizza grease get on your carpet, too? We have a special formula that cuts and cleans up carpet grease as well. Read our step-by-step instructions here: The Best Way to Clean Carpet to Remove Stains, Odors, and Other Stubborn Messes.