Stain Removal: How to Remove Food Grease Stains

Greasy Bacon

Food grease stains are some of the easiest – and cheapest – stains to remove.   What’s the hard part?  Catching the stain before it is washed and dried in the dryer.

So your husband has dropped part of his sausage biscuit onto his lap.  What do you do next?

With a paper towel, wipe off all of the stain that you can.   When you are ready to wash the pants, follow these steps:

Blue Dawn Dish Soap

  1. Saturate the stain in Blue Dawn Dish Soap. While it has never happened to  me, I understand that some of the other scents of Dawn can stain clothes.  So I always stick with Dawn Original – the blue one.
    Place enough Dawn on the stain to cover it completely and then gently rub it in with your finger.
  2. Wash the garment as you usually would. If it can tolerate washing on a normal cycle, then do so.  The agitation of the washer will help eliminate the stain.  If it is a garment that can only be washed on a delicate setting, try using that setting first.
  3. Hang the garment to dry – do not dry in the dryer! This step is vitally important to removing grease.  Your eyes will play tricks on you.  While the item is wet, you’ll be certain you don’t see the grease stain any longer.  But once it’s dry, it can possibly ‘reappear’!  So please remember to hang dry.
  4. After the item is dry, examine the grease spot in a bright light. Is the stain gone?  Can you see any traces of it?  If not, great!  If you can still see the stain, go on to the next step.
  5. Re-wash the garment using these same steps all over again. I know this seems a little ‘high-maintenance’ but if you’ll hang with me, you can get rid of the stain! (hopefully).  If you washed the garment on the delicate cycle, try washing it on a ‘normal’ cycle this time.  If you washed it on ‘normal’ the first time, you can try increasing the agitation of the cycle, washing on a ‘heavy-duty’ cycle or whatever your washing machine offers.
  6. Continue this process until the stain comes out.

Stain Removal is not necessarily labor intensive, but it can definitely be time-consuming.  My question always is: Is it worth my time to get rid of this stain?
If it is my daughter’s brand new Easter dress, you’d better believe I am going to do everything possible to get it out!   But if it is just my son’s play shirt, I’ll try once and then leave it if it’s stubborn.

Does your family acquire a lot of food grease stains on their clothes?  What method do you use to remove them?


  1. Awesome tip!! My family is totally stain ridden! Does it work on other stains or mainly grease stains? Cannot wait to try it. THANKS

    • mamalaundry says:

      Just greasy stains. Since dish soaps are formulated to clean greasy dishes, it’s also a good laundry grease remover too.

      For most other stains? An Oxi Clean soak is the most effective, in my experience. I’ve got a post in the works about it. Maybe next week I’ll be able to get it up!


  2. I make my own stain remover spray, but for the really tough stuff I still use a stain stick and let it sit for a few hours (or maybe days…).

  3. Sheila Gregoire says:

    Hi there! Thanks so much for that tip. I find what’s really a pain is grease stains on T-shirts. Somehow they always show more!

    Can you give help me with something else? I’ve recently made my own laundry detergent using washing soda, borax, and grated sunlight laundry soap. I’m finding it doesn’t get the stains out well, though. Should I just add a little more powder to the wash?


    Sheila from To Love, Honor and Vacuum

    • mamalaundry says:

      Well, Sheila I might not be much help! But…

      If you like the recipe overall (except for the stain issue), I would keep using it and add Oxi Clean to each load that has extra stains. Especially whites, loads of children’s clothes, etc. It wouldn’t up the cost of the homemade detergent, and you can modify how much of the Oxi Clean goes in. Meaning, you can use a big scoop for big, stained loads and a smaller scoop for lesser stained, smaller loads. If you added it straight into your recipe it would be much less cost effective, in my opinion.

      I admittedly am not very seasoned in the realm of homemade laundry detergent! But hopefully this could be an option for you!

      Thanks for commenting!


  4. Thank you so much for this! Since I’m a stay at home mom I cook at home a lot. I’m also very busty. I tend to get a LOT of grease stains on my shirts and none of them are stain free any more. I’ve been taking to pre treating them ASAP, but having a washer in my apartment is going to end soon as we’re going to be moving to an extended stay hotel for a year and a half (paid for by my husband’s company, so we’re doing it to save money to pay down debt). Since right now we’re so broke, saving money by not having to purchase clothing because my current ones have stains is very important. This will help me out a lot! Thank you again.

    • mamalaundry says:

      Oh I’m glad it will help!

      As soon as you know they are on there, you can go ahead and put the Dawn on there. It can sayl on for days (or weeks) until you get the item washed and still be just as effective!

      Blessing in your move!


  5. Have you ever tried putting a little blue dawn just in the wash load? The lighting in my laundry area is very poor and I usually don’t see grease stains until they come out of the dryer. I’ve often thought about putting a tablespoon or so of dawn in the wash in hopes it’ll do it’s grease-fighting business! However, I have a front loading machine so I’m afraid about too much sudsing. And I didn’t know if just putting in a little if it would find the grease.

    On another note, I LOVE the Tide Stain Release that is formulated for grease stains (except I’m sure it’s pretty harsh chemically). All those grease spots that show up after the dryer…I just hit them with the Tide, let it set 15 min and wash – most of the time they come out first try. I’d just rather catch them before rather than having to rewash 2-3 shirts per load!

    • mamalaundry says:

      Bonnie, I have never tried just putting Dawn in the washer because my machine seems to like the SUD cycle. 😉 But I have thought of trying it many, many times! If I had a traditional top-loader, I would definitely give it a go and see what happens. My guess is that it would really help with catching those grease stains that you can’t really see pre-wash. My laundry room doesn’t have great lighting either – such a pain.

      I’ve never tried the Tide Stain Release formulated for grease stains. I’ll have to give that a whirl! Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. Alexandra says:

    A very important jersey as since aquired a nasty orange chili grease stain. In the haste of getting this stain out the jersey was put in the dryer…before the stain was completely removed. Naturally, the stain is mostly located on the large crest located on the front (also happens to be a white crest).

    Is all hope lost for removing this stain? Is it worth dry cleaning or attempting to bleach only the white?

    • mamalaundry says:

      Have you tried The Soak? Since it’s been dried, you probably aren’t going to have great luck in removing the stain. But if anything will lessen the orange color, it’s Oxi Clean.

      So sorry. Been there, done that. That orange chili grease is a toughie to remove.

    • If the OxyClean soak doesn’t work, try the Tide Stain Release spray for grease. I have used it quite successfully with stains that have gone through the dryer (a lot actually – I never notice them until after they’re dry!) I can’t vouch for chili on white but it’s gotten out tomato based grease stains on my colors.

  7. Oh, does this EVER work! I spilled this oily fruit salad dressing on a pillowcase and it is also RED. I was so ill about this, but I found the Dawn solution here. I’ll bet I put an ounce of the stuff on that stain (which was huge!) and rubbed it in and washed it. It came out spotless! The fabric is ivory in color, so you know it would be obvious if the stain hadn’t come out. Just the plain blue Dawn did the trick!
    Thanks, MamaLaundry!

    • mamalaundry says:

      Chicky – Thanks so much for letting me know! I love to hear good stain removal stories 😉 Glad you got such wonderful results.

  8. Gary Grant says:

    I have the same problem with my T-Shirts in particular. I’ve tried soaking them for days in Oxy-Clean and other “miracle products” without any success. I remember a few years ago trying 409 on some grease stains on my cars beige carpets. It was the only thing I could find in my garage so what the heck, I tried it and it worked! I have in my closet about 20 T-Shirts that aren’t being worn because they have stains on them from food spilling on them while eating. Some of these have been like this for years, washed and dried a dozen times. I recently tried 409 by spraying it on fairly heavily then rubbing it in with my fingers. I let them soak for several hours then ran them trough the automatic washer using the hot water setting and of course using a regular detergent. To my amazement, they all came out looking like new. I was a little concerned about messing up the color on the shirts but they all look fantanstic, from black to white and most of the colors in between.


  1. […] Stain Removal: How to Remove Food Grease Stains – Mama’s Laundry Talk I don’t know about you, but I think the rule at our house is that a minimum of 50% of stains have to be from something with some grease factor. […]

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