For anyone who has wondered how to clean car grease stains out of clothing, there are several things you can try that are known to remove such stains. Whether a sudden car problem forces you to check under the hood while in one of your best shirts, or you spill grease on your favorite shorts while trying to empty an oil can, most of us have had a moment where we’ve gotten grease on a piece of clothing that we now worry is ruined. Even the least laundry-adept person knows that grease and clothing don’t usually mix. Is your clothing salvageable, or should it be tossed out?
Table of Contents
- How do you get car grease out of clothes?
- How Do I Remove Car Grease Stains From Clothing?
How do you get car grease out of clothes?
Here are 4 different things you can try when you need to remove a car grease stain from your clothing:
- Purchase a professional de-greaser
- Use a household absorbent powder
- Try some WD-40
- Use shampoo or dish detergent
If you like spending time working on your vehicle, it’s inevitable that at some point you are going to get a grease stain that is hard to get out. Even if you aren’t a big auto enthusiast, cars use oil, and we use care, so the chances of a spot of oil showing up on a favorite shirt or pair of slacks is pretty common.
And anyone who knows anything about grease, knows that this is one of the most difficult products to get rid of. But never fear – I’ve got a great list of some options to rid your clothes of those annoying stains.
I like tinkering around under the hood but hate the mess that sometimes accompanies it. Learning to avoid oil spills is almost impossible since I like to spend time in my garage. So, instead of avoiding it, I’ve learned to combat it. Let me show you how.
How Do I Remove Car Grease Stains From Clothing?
Grease and cars go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is no way you can have a car, and not worry that at some point, you will have a grease stain or two.
All cars and most moving vehicles use some form of grease as a type of lubrication for the different parts that keep the vehicle running.
Grease has a high resistance to water as well as to many cleaning products, which is the main reason it is so difficult to get rid of once it has adhered to clothing, appliances, other products, or skin.
What makes grease a great lubricant can also make it a real pain to get rid of. But there are ways, if you are persistent (and sometimes a little creative!)
1. Purchase a Professional De-Greaser
If your budget allows, your first line of defense against a car grease stain would be to try a professional de-greaser on the clothing that has been affected.
Professional de-greasers contain alkaline and surfactant, two chemical compounds that are known to break up the bonds that are found in many grease products, such as greases produced by not only cars but also many food products, such as oils and animal fats.
By breaking down the compounds in grease, alkaline and surfactant can lift the grease by-products from the surface it has attached itself to.
Profession de-greasers can be very effective for the most stubborn car grease stains you may find on your clothing, but take care with these products.
Professional de-greasers have been known to cause harm to the environment, as they tend to leave contaminated residue in wastewater and can be harmful to household appliances.
They are also toxic to humans and pets if swallowed.
If you decide to use a professional de-greaser, make sure to dispose of it properly and store it in a place that children and animals can’t reach.
Make sure you follow the directions on the packaging as to how best to use the professional de-greaser to remove car grease from your clothing.
2. Use a Household Absorbent Powder
If you want to try something that is less toxic and easier on your budget, you may want to first try some common household items before you purchase a de-greasing agent.
Some of the best household items to use on your clothing that has been stained by car grease are products like baking soda, corn starch, or talcum powder.
Baking soda, corn starch, and talcum powder all have an absorbing property to them that makes them great contenders for stubborn grease stains.
Because these products have agents that allow them to respond well to the acidity in grease, they can neutralize it and weaken its bonds to the clothing or other item that it has attached itself to.
These products also tend to be slightly abrasive, so after the grease bonds begin to weaken, they work to absorb it off the surface material.
The best way to use baking soda, corn starch, or talcum powder on your clothing stain is to first mix the product with a bit of water, usually 1 part product to 2 parts water.
As the mixture forms into a paste, spread it over the affected area. Let it set, until the paste begins to harden, then wash the piece of clothing until the rinsing water runs clear.
If the paste worked to lift the grease, you should notice it as soon as your clothing dries.
3. Try Some WD-40
Here’s a great trick that many don’t know about, even those of us who are the most dedicated garage gurus.
WD-40 has long been a staple in most people’s homes. Used for everything from ridding a door of an annoying squeak to removing a growing rust spot on a piece of metal, WD-40 is an important staple to have on hand for all sorts of repairs or fixes.
WD-40 stands for “water displacing 40th formula” and – though its ingredients are a trade secret – we know it works by dissolving substances from a surface that are otherwise hard to remove.
When using WD-40 on an item of clothing that has car grease stains, make sure you lay down cardboard or newspaper on a hard, non-porous surface first, so as not to affect the materials below the clothing.
Lay the affected article of clothing on top of the cardboard or newspaper and spray the WD-40 liberally across the stain.
You can blot the liquid with a dry towel, then wait until the product has dried.
If the WD-40 has done its job, you should be able to wipe the clothing and watch the grease transfer to the cloth and off the clothes.
Make sure to discard the used cloth, or store it in an appropriate place to use again the next time you have a stubborn stain.
4. Use a Shampoo or Dish Detergent
Finally, one of every household’s most common products can also be a great solution to a car grease stain, especially if it’s caught early and treated quickly.
Shampoo and dish detergent have long been known as effective products for ridding things or grease, from the hair on our heads to the dishes in our sinks.
In fact, for over 40 years, dish detergents have helped in the rescue and care of wildlife after oil spills have affected their environments and threatened their lives.
Shampoo and dish detergent both have chemical compounds that work to lift grease off the surface of an item while also working to wash it away. And since we use these products on everyday items around our home, they are safer than many professional de-greasers or other items that are specifically better kept in the garage.
Apply the shampoo or dish soap directly to the grease stain on the affected clothing. Use some warm water and your hands to gently rub the material together, helping lift the grease particles off the material. Make sure to wash the clothing by hand afterward until all soap residue has disappeared.
Don’t ever put an item that’s been exposed to car grease in a clothes dryer until you are convinced all grease particles are gone. It’s best to hang the clothing to dry, then check and see if the grease stain has disappeared.