How to Never Worry About Grease Stains Again

Lestoil or Pine Sol

This is my personal favorite, and the one that I personally use when a grease stain sullies an item of clothing in my care: Dab the stain with a bit of Lestoil or Pine Sol, and then launder as usual, remembering to pull the garment out of the wash to air dry before transferring the rest of the load to the dryer.

It’s weird, to be sure, to use a product most of us think of as the stuff with which we clean the floors, but both Lestoil (which is my poison) and Pine Sol work exceedingly well as grease- and oil-stain removers. Both are made by the same company (Clorox), and they are similar but not identical degreasers. I swear by Lestoil but it can be harder to find than Pine Sol, so if you can’t locate Lestoil grab a bottle of Pine Sol and stash it with your laundry supplies.


Cornstarch is another great solution to your grease-stain woes, and can be used effectively even on older, more set-in stains. I have personally witnessed a pile of cornstarch remove an older oil stain caused by a samosa from a silk sari, so I speak to this from a place of deep understanding.

To use cornstarch as a stain removal agent, lay the garment flat in a place where it can sit, undisturbed, for at least an hour. Pile cornstarch atop the stain and walk away. That’s all! After an hour, or more if you feel like it/have left the house/are lazy or forgetful, brush away the cornstarch and remove any residual powder using a damp sponge or rag. If there’s still a trace of the stain, treat that using a good grease-cutting dish soap like Dawn, Palmolive, or Seventh Generation—or just use any one of the other options presented here.


God bless WD-40, seriously. The stuff does everything and if don’t currently have a can in your home you should run out right now to get one. I’ll wait.

OK, everyone’s got their WD-40 in hand? Marvelous! For grease stains, spray the WD-40 on the stained area (using the straw will help you control how much you’re applying to the fabric) and allow it to sit for 15-30 minutes. Next, rub a small amount of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap into the stain and allow that to sit for another 15-30 minutes, then launder as usual and air dry to ensure that the stain is completely gone before the garment sees the interior of a dryer.

Shampoo for Oily Hair

Much like grease-cutting dish soap, shampoo that’s designed for use on oily hair can be put to good use when it comes to removing grease and oil stains from clothing. This trick works best on a fresh stain, and is as simple as massaging a bit of shampoo into the stain with your fingers, flushing with cold running water, and then laundering as usual.

Mechanics Soap

You know what mechanics frequently find themselves needing to clean up? Right! Grease and oil. So it stands to reason that mechanics soap will work wonders on those kinds of stains; some brands to look out for are Lava and GOJO. To use them, apply to the stain and allow the product to work for 15-30 minutes before laundering separate of other clothes (this is a good time to wash cleaning rags or old towels) so that the mechanics soap doesn’t cause an entire load to smell of that product. This is an especially good product for people who ride bikes or motorcycles to know about, as it will treat those horrible black stains caused by grease on chains.

Written by: JOLIE KERR