Tricks of the trade: how to erase grease stains from clothes

October 30, 2014

Tricks of the trade: how to erase grease stains from clothes

Grease stain removal tips

  • Sponging a fresh stain is an absolute must.
  • First, apply a stain removal solution (either natural or chemically modified), let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the garment as directed.
  • Do not put it in the dryer until the stain has been completely removed, otherwise the heat may "bake" the grease into the fibres causing permanent damage.

Remedies for grease stain removal

  • Sprinkle flour, talc or baking soda over the grease spot. Allow it to dry and absorb the stain, then simply shake off excess residue and wash as normal.
  • Use baking soda and water to create a paste, and apply it to the stain. Gently rub the surface of the stain with a soft brush or old toothbrush. Let it sit, then rinse and wash.
  • For coloured fabrics, absorb the stain with talc powder, then cover the area with a stack of paper towels and press it with a heated iron. The paper towel will soak up the oil and grease.
  • For butter and cooking oil, gently rub a little dish soap on the spot and rinse. Your laundry detergent will do the rest in the wash.

Removing grease stains from leather

  • Grease spots on leather are usually quite noticeable and difficult to clean, so forget the soap!
  • In this case, flour or talc is your best bet. Once you’ve covered the stain in powder, let it stand overnight then brush it off the next day. If the stain persists, repeat the process as necessary.
  • If the stain is still wet, be sure to sprinkle powder on the garment immediately.
  • If the spot is already dry, try warming up the oil with a hair dryer (but not too close or too hot). Once the oil-based stain becomes more liquid, apply powder.

Other fabrics

  • Ammonia is effective on synthetic fabrics. To treat coloured cotton, dilute the ammonia with water. On light cotton, you can use a more concentrated mixture, but for linen or denim, use a solution containing no more than 28 per cent ammonia.
  • Removing stains from delicate fibres is a challenge; however silk and wool can withstand talc, cornstarch and sepiolite (mineral clay).
  • The absorption technique using an iron and a pile of paper towels is also suitable for satin and velvet, but caution must be exercised to protect the material and avoid further damage!

Stains often happen without us even noticing. No matter if you’re dealing with massage oil, cooking oil or motor oil, the secret to effective stain removal is to treat it as quickly as possible.

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