How to Remove Grease Stains on Already-Washed, Stained Clothes

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Greasy stains can be some of the most difficult to remove, especially if you tossed your favorite outfit in the washer without realizing it had a grease stain. Getting old grease out of clothes can take more work and require different methods than fresh grease stains on your clothing. Try multiple methods until you can remove all of the grease remnants.

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Why Grease Stains Are Difficult

Since grease is a lipid, it's insoluble in water. That means you can't just wash it out with soap and water. If you're dealing with old grease stains, they're likely more set-in than fresh stains, which adds to the difficulty. That's especially true if you dried the clothes since the heat from the dryer essentially bakes the grease into the fabric.

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Before trying any cleaning methods, check the care label for the clothing. Don't use these methods on dry-clean-only clothes. Delicate fabrics might also become damaged with various cleaning methods.

Prepare the Clothes

It's sometimes easier to work on removing an old grease stain while the fabric is still dry instead of wetting it before applying your selected stain remover. Slip a piece of cardboard inside the clothing, such as in the leg of grease-stained jeans or in the arm of a shirt, to keep the grease and stain remover from soaking through to the other side. This helps contain the grease stain.

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Soak and Wash

Using a grease-fighting dish soap is one of the easiest methods to try with a set-in grease stain. Cover the greasy area with the soap, rubbing it gently into the fabric to help it penetrate the fibers. Wait at least 10 minutes before scrubbing gently with an old toothbrush. Rinse the dish soap out of the fabric and wash the clothing based on its care instructions. Check for any remaining traces of grease after the clothing air dries.

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Try Aloe Vera

Pure aloe vera gel, either from the store or from an aloe vera plant, can help break up a grease stain. Rub the aloe vera gel over the old grease stain. Let it sit for five minutes or more and then wash it with cold water. After the item air dries, inspect it closely for any remaining grease stains.

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Grab Your Hair Spray

The hair spray you use every day could also help ease out the grease stain. Saturate the grease-stained area of your clothing with the hair spray to dampen it. Wait 20 to 30 minutes. Following the care instructions, wash the garment in the washing machine. Check for any remaining grease after it air dries.

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Reactivate the Stain

If no other cleaning methods work, reach for WD-40 to reactivate the grease stain. Spray the lubricant on the stain and wait 15 to 30 minutes. Then, try the previous cleaning methods again, starting with dish soap to help ease out the grease.

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Keep in mind that these types of lubricants can be flammable, so it's best to hand-wash the clothing. Fill your sink with laundry detergent and water and then soak and rinse. Continue this process until you can no longer smell the lubricant. The safest option is to always wash this clothing or any clothing that has had flammable materials on it by hand to avoid the risk of fire in your washer and dryer.

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Air-Dry After Washing

No matter which cleaning method you choose, always air dry the grease-stained clothing until you're sure you've removed all the grease. It might look like the grease is gone while the fabric is wet, but you won't know for sure until it's dry. If you toss it in the dryer and there's still some grease there, you'll make it even more difficult to remove.

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