The calendar year is winding down. The days are getting shorter. The holiday season, with all its delicious food, is almost here. If you’re partaking in any holiday festivities, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll be making/eating something that contains oil, butter, or something else greasy. Which means there’s a chance you’ll need to know how to get out grease stains.
Whether it’s cooking oil that splashed on your apron, dribbles down your kiddo’s holiday clothes, or those fancy fabric napkins that are now covered with turkey gravy, knowing how to get out grease stains is a must for whoever does the holiday-season laundry in your house. Do you have a foolproof way to do this?
I discovered how to get out grease stains from laundry years ago, thanks to my own mama’s secret weapon. This technique works on oil, butter, gravy, and even fresh stains from other oil-containing foods like pasta sauce. I’ve also had good luck getting out older grease stains from, say, that adorable satin dress that I couldn’t resist from a children’s resale event. (Or, for that matter, removing those grease stains we missed from own kiddos’ clothes, when I’m prepping items to sell at a consignment sale.)
Ready to learn my secret? Then read on.
How To Get Out Grease Stains
The secret weapon:
My secret weapon is actually not a laundry tool per se. It’s a product that is most often found with floor-cleaning supplies. (If your store doesn’t carry it, you can find it here).
Lestoil is great for removing grease from all sorts of things, not just laundry. It’s a concentrated cleaner that, when diluted in water, you can use to clean grimy floors, or wipe down your kitchen cabinets.
But I love it for getting oil-based stains out of all our laundry. So much so that, when we travel as a family, I always take a small bottle with me. That way, I can get out greasy stains from our capsule travel wardrobes.
What sorts of greasy stains?
I’m talking food-based greasy stains, mainly. Such as
- cooking oil
- peanut butter (scrape off any solids first)
- salad dressings
- residue from foods cooked in these ingredients (snack chips, cookies, eggs, pasta, etc.)
- grease stains from cheese, pizza, etc.
- the greasy/oily parts of sauces like spaghetti sauce, chocolate sauce, etc.
- those greasy spots on your kids’ pants when they wiped their hands there after eating a bag of potato chips
For greasy stains that also involve another kind of stain (tomato, chocolate, etc.), Lestoil may get the entire stain out, especially if the stain is fresh. OR, you may have luck getting the greasy part out, but still have residue from the other stain ingredients. In that case, you can retreat/rewash the stain with your favorite general-stain-busting ingredient. (Depending on the stain type, my go-to’s are Shout Advanced, Motsenbocker Lift-Off #1, or Zote Laundry Bars; see this post for more of my laundry-room stain hacks and how-to’s.)
The basics of laundry stain removal still apply when you’re trying to get out greasy stains. Specifically,
- the sooner you can treat the stain, the better. (Even if you can’t launder it right away.)
- you DON’T want to risk setting a stain by running it through the dryer.
The good thing about Lestoil is that it’s safe to pretreat clothes and then let them sit for awhile before you launder them. The bad news is, Lestoil has a strong odor. While it’s not necessarily unpleasant, you should be aware of this before (say) pretreating a shirt and then leaving it in the hamper next to your bed for a week.
Lestoil is easy to use on laundry that is washing-machine-safe:
- Put a small amount of Lestoil onto the greasy stain, enough to saturate the area.
- Let it penetrate the stain for at least 5-10 minutes. For tough stains, stains that aren’t fresh, or stains that have already been heat-set by running through the dryer, I recommend letting it sit for several days to a week before laundering.
- Toss it in the washer, and launder in the hottest water recommended for that clothing type. (Check the manufacturer’s tag inside.) I recommend using an extra rinse cycle, both to get out any remaining oil residue and to help rinse out the lingering odor from the Lestoil itself.
- LINE DRY (do NOT run through the dryer yet!). Once the item is completely dry, check to be sure the stain is gone. If not, then repeat the Lestoil treatment.
Additional tips and tricks:
- The best way I’ve found to make sure that stains-in-progress don’t accidentally go through the dryer is to wash them in mesh laundry bags for delicates. This helps to remind me (or whoever else is emptying the wash into the dryer!) that the items inside the bag are line-dry only.
- For stains that are already set or aren’t fresh, I often need to repeat the Lestoil process a second time to get out the rest of the oil/grease.
- If you have an oil-based stain that also has other elements in it (e.g., tomatoes, as in pizza or spaghetti sauce), then it’s all the more important to treat it with Lestoil ASAP. Otherwise, you may have to treat the remaining tomato portion of the stain with a separate stain-removal product to get the rest of the stain out.
What about you? What’s your secret for getting out tough laundry stains? Let us know in the comments!
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