Regardless if you’re grilling outside or making hamburgers inside in your own kitchen, getting grease stains on your clothes can happen. There’s nothing like the first, big bite of that juicy hamburger piled high with your favorite toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mustard, or ketchup, sandwiched between a perfectly fresh bun until the grease from the hamburger patty dribbles down the front of your favorite Hawaiian shirt or cotton sundress!
Soon, we hopefully will begin to return to normalcy in our lives post-pandemic. That means returning to situations where you wouldn’t want a dribble of grease down your favorite silk blouse at a business meeting with clients or a glob of grease on your best dress shirt at an office potluck. Unfortunately, though, grease stains happen.
How in the world do you go about getting out grease stains from clothes? Is it even remotely possible to get those ugly grease stains out? What are some really great cleaning tips for removing grease and oil stains not only from your clothing but also on surfaces all around your home?
Read on to discover how to go about getting out grease stains from clothes and what products work the best to remove grease and oil as well as removing grease stains from a multitude of other surfaces in your home.
First Things First: What is Grease?
Simply put, grease is a thick, oily substance used as a lubricant and/or oil or fat used or produced in cooking. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word grease means “oily fat of land animals.” The English version of the word “grease” is thought to have originated in the 14th century from the Angelo-French word grece. Then, etymologists believe the Anglo-French word grece was followed by the Old French words of gresse and craisse which both have meanings of “grease, fat.”
The word’s roots may also have come from the Modern French word graisse, and possibly even from Vulgar Latin crassia, which meant melted animal fat, grease,” from Latin crassus which means “thick, solid, fat” (source also of Spanish grasa, Italian grassa), which etymologists believe is of unknown origin.
The term grease paint, used by actors, crept into the English language in 1880 and the term grease monkey “mechanic” is from 1918, just when the more common use of automobiles was taking off following World War I. Regardless of how grease came into our vernacular, it’s tough and oily and can most certainly damage your clothing, if you aren’t very careful. It’s also extremely difficult to remove.
Why is it so Difficult to Remove Grease Stains from Clothing?
Grease is very difficult to remove from clothes and fabrics of all kinds, especially after it has been allowed to set because grease is a lipid—an organic compound that is chiefly made up of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Grease doesn’t dissolve in water which only compounds the problem. It also sticks to fabric exceedingly well so you just can’t throw a grease-stained garment into a regular laundry cycle, rinse with warm water, and hope for the best.
Remember, time is your enemy when it comes to waiting to treat a grease stain because a delay will set the stain. It’s very important to not give the stain a chance to dry.
Getting grease stains out of clothes isn’t impossible, however, if you’re willing to apply—well—a little elbow grease and little know-how in the form of pre-treatment with a dab or two of baking soda and some liquid dishwashing soap.
The baking soda, perhaps one of your mother’s or grandmother’s favorite go-to cleaning agents, draws out the grease from the fabric and the liquid dishwashing soap helps take care of the rest of the grease or oil stain. Getting out grease stains from clothes couldn’t be easier. Just be sure to use a paper towel to clean up any spills right away. You might also want to wear an apron to make sure you don’t get grease on anything else you are wearing!
Getting Out Grease Stains from Clothes
What Supplies are Needed to Get Grease Out?
It’s really easy to get started with getting out grease stains from clothes the old-fashioned way using baking soda and liquid dishwashing soap, but the results really aren’t guaranteed.
Here’s what you do: To begin with, gather all of your supplies which you will probably already have around your house. You’ll need some baking soda, an old, soft toothbrush, some liquid dishwashing soap, and a piece of cardboard or an old scrap towel you don’t mind getting dirty.
First, lay the stained clothing out flat on the piece of cardboard or old, scrap towel, making sure that the area of the stain is actually on the cardboard or old scrap towel so that the grease doesn’t stain your countertop or wherever you are working.
If the grease stain just occurred and you haven’t yet laundered the clothing item or tossed it into the dryer, simply sprinkle a little baking soda onto the stain. If the grease stain has, unfortunately, already set into the fabric, squirt a little dishwashing liquid onto the grease stain and let the soap and the baking soda set on the grease spot for roughly 10 minutes.
Next, carefully scrub the baking soda and liquid dishwashing soap into the stain using an old, soft toothbrush. A word of caution: For very delicate fabrics, use an extremely gentle touch. If the grease stain is fresh, the baking soda should change its color from its signature white to a brownish color.
Working carefully, gently repeat the process until the baking soda on the stained area is no longer a brownish hue. Then, using the soft toothbrush once more, gently rub the area again and let the baking soda and dishwashing liquid mixture sit for about another 10 minutes.
Then, it should be safe to throw the clothing item into the washing machine and wash it as you would normally do. Remember, cotton and some other fabrics will shrink in hot water, so use care. Read all labels on clothing to see the laundering instructions!
Once the clothing item comes out of the washing machine, take a look to make sure the stain is gone before drying the garment. You don’t want to permanently set the stain by drying the item until the stain is completely gone.
What About Using a Delicate Wash Product for Stain Removal?
Using the old-fashioned combination of baking soda and liquid dishwashing liquid with a soft toothbrush usually works on sturdier fabrics; however, there is a better way to get out grease stains from your more delicate garments.
Champion makes an American-made Delicate Wash, which is specially designed to soak and care for fine fabrics like chiffon, linen, crepe, silk, organza, velvet, and satin. Champion’s Delicate Wash works extremely well in cold water loads which makes it an ideal choice for delicate fabrics.
In addition, Champion Delicate Wash is perfect for washing lingerie which, these days, can be especially pricey.
Be sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions on the fabric instructional tag about how to remove stains before using and when your garments come out freshly washed and perfect, you’ll be glad you did.
What About Using Champion’s Ultra Concentrated Degreaser as a Laundry Detergent?
Champion also makes an Ultra Concentrated Degreaser which not only makes a great surface cleaner for all kinds of cleaning tasks in the kitchen and other areas of your home, but it also can be used as a safe degreasing agent for your clothing in the laundry. You can simply pour a small amount of the Ultra Concentrated Degreaser onto the grease stain on a piece of clothing and wait a few minutes and then launder the item as usual.
You can also add about 1/8 cup of the Champion Ultra Concentrated Degreaser per load in your washing machine which will give your regular detergent a great deal of extra cleaning power.
Both of Champion’s products—the Ultra Concentrated Degreaser (used with your favorite, regular laundry detergent) and the Delicate Wash both contain the best surfactants on the market, which makes both of these products truly the best for getting out grease stains from clothes.
What are Surfactants?
Surfactants are mixtures (compounds, if you will) that are found in many products that are used for cleaning. Surfactants help the surface of water lose some of its punch—in layman’s terms—so that it will better react in getting the grease and oil out of clothing. The surfactants also help lift stains and dirt from a variety of surfaces.
Why Use Champion Products?
Champion uses only the best surfactants available on the market which makes their products simply the best. Champion doesn’t water down its products so that you are required to purchase products more frequently like some common cleaners found on the market today.
Champion Supplies believes in giving its customers only the best ways to solve their cleaning issues. The company offers only products that are high-performing such as the Champion Delicate Wash and the Champion Ultra Concentrated Degreaser.
For 40 years, Champion Supplies has provided customers with solutions to their cleaning problems through the use of unique high-performance products, the majority of which are made in the USA. Our philosophy has always been to custom make, source, and market products of the highest quality that are typically not available in stores.