We all know the dreadful feeling we get when we get oil or grease on something and think it’s ruined. Do not despair, though, as there are steps you can take to remove oil and grease stains that are proven to work and don’t need to be difficult or expensive. If you’re stressing over a stain, try the following five ways to remove it.
Remember when there was a major oil spill and emergency personnel were cleaning oil off birds with Dawn dish soap? This was because petroleum-based liquid dish detergent soap is great for removing grease and oil stains! Using dish soap is especially useful on clothing, and barely takes any time or effort at all. Simply pour dish soap onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes.
You can then run the item through the washing machine as instructed on the item’s label. While this works well on clothes, it may also work on other surfaces so it is worth a try. Simply pour, wait, and rinse!
Liquid Laundry Detergent
Another great option for removing oil and grease stains is your typical liquid laundry detergent. As with the dish soap, you can simply pour a generous amount of the detergent onto the item and let it sit for a while before rinsing off. If the stain is on a piece of clothing, leave the detergent on the item when you load it in the washing machine for extra cleansing. If you’re trying to get stains out of upholstery, this is a great method to try before attempting to clean it with some other sort of chemicals that may ruin it because laundry detergent is gentle yet oftentimes effective.
Baking soda is great for, well, baking, but did you know it also has many other household uses? This includes getting oil and grease stains out of surfaces and clothing, and luckily it is very inexpensive at your local grocer. Best for fresh stains, pouring a nice chunk of baking soda on top of the item can draw out the stain and not allow it to set any further. Even some stains that seem older can still benefit a bit from this method, so you may want to sprinkle some baking soda on any stain before taking other removal measures.
Bonus Tip: Cat Litter. You read that right – inexpensive cat litter can be very valuable if an oil or grease stain is still sitting on the surface of whatever it is staining. The cat litter will soak up the excess oil or grease instead of pushing it farther into the surface like blotting or drying it with a towel can do.
Club soda is also an easy way to remove oil and grease stains, as the carbonation can help draw out the stain as well as clean it up. While the exact mechanism of action for why this works is not known for sure, the acidity of the club soda may have something to do with it.
Club soda has a low pH, which has been found to help in removing stains. If you have some club soda on hand and want to try it on your stain, pour some of it on the stain without dousing it too much and then blot the spot until it is dry or almost dry. This method is great if you are trying to remove an oil or grease stain off of carpet, but you could also try it with clothing and other items.
Hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes have various options of pre-mixed solutions in a bottle or container that you can use to attempt to remove oil and grease stains.
Retailers sell products specifically for degreasing and others for removing oil. These are typically under $20 and they also sell grease and oil removers for specific surfaces (e.g., clothing and concrete). If you go this route, be sure to read the instructions on the container to make sure you dilute it enough, if necessary, as you do not want to make your stain situation worse.
Keep in mind that as with many other household cleaning and fixing tasks, do-it-yourself methods like the ones outlined above may work better than pre-mixed solutions and can save you a trip to the store. Good luck!