We all know grease stain is the hardest to get out of clothes, no matter how much you are careful and try not to get your clothes dirty, stains are inevitable.

And no, it is not a small issue, after all, clothes are directly related to your confidence and having a permanent stain on your favorite dress can really bring it down. This is especially true for people working in auto shops changing engine oil and related industries. Usually, they just designate one suit for the messy work and sacrifice it when it is all covered in grease.

An Easy-to-follow Guide on How to Remove Car Grease Stains Out of Clothes

But now, throwing away clothes isn’t the only option you have. In this article, we’ll explain all the methods there are to clean car grease stains regardless of how stubborn they are. So, next time, try one of these.

1. Using Baby Powder Should Be Your First Method

One of the easiest ways to remove car grease stain from clothes and minimize damage to the fabric is by using baby powder. Baby powder absorbs the oil and makes the stain malleable. You can also use cornstarch in place of baby powder.

Materials Needed

  • Baby powder or cornstarch – $15 to $20 –anything readily available at your local drugstore or
    lying around at home
  • Toothbrush – $5 – it is preferable if you buy a new one but a used one is also fine, provided its bristles are in good condition
  • Warm water and detergent


As soon as you notice the stain, take off that item of clothing and sprinkle baby powder on it. Like I said before, you can use cornstarch as well in case you don’t have baby powder. Make sure to sprinkle it liberally on the stain and leave it overnight. If you urgently need to wear that item of clothing or don’t have that much time, 4 to 5 hours is enough. The key here is to let the powder absorb as much of the grease as it can. After sufficient time has passed, rub the baby powder gently with a toothbrush one last time before dusting it off. Wash the fabric in warm water and mild detergent. This method works best for fresh stains.

2. Using Soap Or Shampoo To Remove Grease Stain Out of Clothes

Grease Stain on Shirt

Common soap bars are also effective against fighting oil stains. Similarly, you can use shampoo as well. Since these are made to clean body oils, they work best as grease removing agents.

Materials needed

  • Soap bar – $2 to $5 – regular household soap is fine
  • Shampoo – $15 to $20 – anything lying around in your bathroom works
  • White vinegar – $5 to $10 – dilute it with two parts water


Grate the bar of soap or rub it directly on the grease stain. Keep rubbing until it forms a lot of foam and bubbles. Gently massage the stains. You can use a toothbrush to accelerate the process too.

In case, you’re using shampoo, take a little amount of it in a separate bowl. Add a little water in it and mix well to start the foaming action. When it forms a homogeneous mixture, pour it over the stain and rub. Keep rubbing until all the grease is removed. Wash the fabric with warm water. You can repeat the process two or three times if the stain still persists.

For further cleaning, take a small amount of white vinegar and dilute it with water. After using the soap or shampoo, wash the stain with this mixture. Vinegar has cleaning properties and brightens clothes.

3. Use Dishwashing Liquid If Soap Doesn’t Work

Alternatively, dishwashing liquid can also grease stain out of clothes. Some might say, it works better than shampoo or soap because it is specifically made to fight off oils and grease from pots and pans.

Materials required

  • Dishwashing liquid or soap – $3 to $8 – anything you use regularly in your kitchen
  • A toothbrush or small scrub brushes – $2 to $5
  • White vinegar or ammonia – $4 to $7 – diluted with water

Method to follow

Pour the dishwashing liquid directly on the stains and wet it with a little water. You can also make a
mixture separately by adding two parts dishwashing liquid, one part white vinegar or ammonia and one part water. Pour this mixture onto the stains and rub well until it forms a thick lather. Use a toothbrush as ammonia can damage the skin. After considerable rubbing, rinse the stain with warm water.

4. Detergent Is Very Effective Against Oil Stains

Regular laundry detergent also works very well when it comes to removing car grease stains. You can apply any of the above-mentioned methods on the stains before sending it to the laundromat too.

Materials you need

  • Laundry detergent – $5 to $10 – buy one with the stronger cleaning action
  • Scrub brushes – $3 to $5 – easily available at any drugstore


This method works best for bigger stains that require a lot of cleansing agents. Using soap or dishwashing liquid will be expensive in such a case. Take a liberal amount of laundry detergent and mix it with water in a large tub. It is preferable if you use a washing machine but hand washing works too. Soak the fabric in the mixture for an hour. After that, use a scrubbing brush on the stain until thick lather forms. Keep scrubbing until the stain is removed and wash it with water as usual.

Methods To Use Only if The Grease Stains Are Stubborn And Old

If you ignore the stain for some time, it can set in the fabric. It is advisable that you clean it as soon as possible but even if the stain has become old, no need to worry. Here are some methods that are guaranteed to work against a tough and stubborn car or bike grease stains.

5. Using Spot Remover Spray

There is a variety of spot cleaners available in the market that clean stains by targeting it specifically.
Spot removers work best when there are a lot of small stains scattered all over the clothes.

Materials Required

  • Spot Cleaner – $10 to $15 – such as Shout and Oxiclean
  • A toothbrush or small scrub brush – $3 to $5
  • A large tub
  • Boiled water

Procedure to follow

Boil a large quantity of water in a big pot. While it comes to a boil, spray the spot remover liberally over the stains. Let it sit for the to fifteen minutes before scrubbing it with a toothbrush. Make sure you don’t scrub too hard as it can damage the fabric. Put the fabric in a tub and pour the boiled water over it from high above. This will break the oil bonds and wash away the grease as water travels through the fabric. After the stain is gone, wash the fabric regularly with detergent.

Caution: Since you’re using scalding hot water, you need to take the utmost care when performing this method. Do it in a washbasin where you can handle the water carefully. It is better if you transfer the boiled water in a non-conducting pot. In case, you get splashed with hot water, cool the burn down under cold water and apply for medicine promptly.

6. WD-40 Or Any Lighter Fluid Also Remove Tough Oil Stains

Another common cleaner that works best in removing tough grease stains is WD-40 or lighter fluid. You might remember it as a common item used in cleaning hacks for cars but it is also perfect for clothes. However, you need to be very careful when using it as it can damage your clothes. Always, perform a spot test on an unnoticeable area of your clothes to see how it reacts.

Materials you need

  • WD-40 or lighter fluid – $15 to S25 – available at any automotive shop
  • Latex gloves – $2 to $5 – to protect your skin from irritation
  • Warm water
  • Scrubbing brush (optional)

Method to follow

If the spot test doesn’t result in any damages, then proceed with this method. Pour a large amount of lighter fluid on the stain and let it sit for about 20 minutes. You can also pour WD-40 in a small bowl and soak the stain in it. After some time, but the fabric in a tub of warm water. Wear latex gloves and scrub the stain a little while keeping it in warm water. If the stain is removed, wash it regularly with detergent. If not, repeat the process.

Things To Keep In Mind While Using Any Of These Methods

  • In place of baby powder and cornstarch, you can also use baking soda as it is an excellent
    cleaning agent.
  • You can also use salt to remove the stain as it is a common absorbent.
  • Make sure you don’t use beauty soaps as they contain additives that hinder the cleaning action
  • If you’re using shampoo, make sure it is white and not colored, such as certain flavored
    shampoos because it can stain your clothes further.
  • Ammonia also helps remove stains. You can replace vinegar with it, however, make sure to dilute it with three parts water before using it on fabrics.
  • Do not use a dryer to dry the clothes after washing them because the hot air can melt the grease and set it permanently within the fabric.
  • While using the spot cleaner method, you should pour the water from as much height as you can. The goal here is to let the water hit the stain forcefully and wash it away.
  • Some people also swear by using petrol to remove grease stain out of clothes. If you decide to use that instead of lighter fluid, make sure to use a small quantity and wash it off as soon as possible.
  • Moreover, you can also utilize alcohol or acetone-based products as spot cleaners too, such as hairstyles and nail polish remover.
  • Always make certain to read the label on your clothes and how to clean them before using any of these methods.
  • Do not use liquids described in this article on “dry clean only” clothes.


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