Natural Grease Stain Solution

When I began to make changes to detox my life as we moved towards more natural living, one thing that I had trouble with was finding a good option for removing grease stains from clothing. None of the crazy expensive all-natural stain removers worked and the toxic synthetic ones just weren’t an option I was comfortable with using. After much trial and error, I finally found a safe, natural and effective solution!

So, what is a natural mama to do when a big ol’ grease stain ends up on one of her favorite shirts?? I gracefully dribbled grease down the front of my shirt while biting into a sausage, which you can see in the photo on the left. Here’s what I did to save my shirt from the grease stain without dousing it in nasty toxins.

  1. Dab off as much grease as possible.
  2. Apply real eucalyptus essential oil to the stain. This stain only required a few drops- most stains need just one or two drops.
  3. Let it work for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Wash in whatever temperature is best for the material. For this shirt, I could only use cold water. If the material can handle it, warm water would work even better.
  5. DO NOT put the clothing into the dryer- just air dry. If the stain isn’t completely removed, apply eucalyptus oil and wash, again.

Most of the time, it only takes one application. For this stain, there is still a tiny hint of the original grease stain, so I’ll reapply and rewash. Always be sure that the stain is completely gone by air drying before putting the clothing through the dryer. The heat from the dryer can “set” the stain.

There you have it! This method works even better than those toxic sprays and gels, and eucalyptus oil is something we keep on hand, anyway. I have never had the oil fade the fabric, but you might want to test in an inconspicuous place, first.

*Warning! Somebody mentioned that it can fade the color on synthetic materials (polyester). We only buy natural materials, so I can’t say either way about this. Just be careful if your clothing is not made from cotton, bamboo or other natural materials, since it may fade.*

If you like this, be sure to check out my favorite all-natural homemade cleaning spray!

81 thoughts on “Natural Grease Stain Solution

  1. Renee says:

    Have you tried it on a set in grease stain? I have several shirts that have been “ruined” by grease stains. Tried everything but didn’t know about eucalyptus essential oil.

  2. Yeah thanks for sharing. I have many a shirt stained with grease. Being a cook, I manage alot of greasy stains. It is my trademark. I will give it a good shot and see what happens.

    • I know what you mean! When I first learned about this trick I had several of my favorite shirts “ruined” by grease stains. This saved all of them! 🙂

  3. jul says:

    Hi, just another solution for you to try out: Gently wash the greasy area (to wet it) and then thickly pat talcum powder on the greasy stain and on the underside of the garment/stained area. Then, let it air-dry completely (overnight or whatever) before brushing off the powder. It usually works like a miracle! if the grease is coloured, like say red or yellow (food stains), gently wash the fabric with soap and water to remove most of the colour before pressing in the talcum powder. Repeat the procedure twice or thrice for stubborn stains.

  4. This is great, but what about shirts that have already been washed? I got a new shirt, accidentally got olive oil on it while cooking, and its been washed and the stain is still there. I was about to throw it out, but if you think it works on older stains ill try it. Thanks!

    • It may take two or three applications, but I got old “set” stains out of a bunch of our shirts when I first learned about this trick! It’s certainly worth a try. 🙂

  5. Where do you get the euculptus oil at? I have so much trouble with grease stains on my husbands shirts. Also does it work even thought the stain has been there a while and has gone through the wash and dryer many times before I realized there was a stain there?

    • When I first learned this trick, I used in on about ten different shirts with old grease stains. Some were my husbands plain, old cotton t-shirts and some were my nicer blouses. It took two or three applications, but they all came out! All of those stains had been “set” for weeks or months and had been through the dryer. We had given up on them, since the expensive store-bought stain remover hadn’t worked. 🙂

      In step two, there is an affiliate link to the eucalyptus oil that I use.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing. I have been looking for a solution to oil stains. It is so frustrating to drop salad dressing or bacon grease onto a new shirt. With two children we have this happen a lot in my house. I will be giving this method a try this week!

  7. Norma says:

    Someone else told me that if you use regular old chalk on the stain… that works wonders also. I haven’t tried it yet, but others swear by it.

  8. Sally says:

    The grease remover I have used all my life is baby powder. I sprinkle it on the grease stain, roll up the piece of clothing and let it sit over night. Next day I brush off the excess powder and put some of my liquid detergent on the spot and scrub a little. Then add it with the rest of the laundry and wash. This was passed down to me from my mother and from her mother. The powder extracts the grease from the cloth and always works with only one application.

  9. Mary says:

    Eucalyptus oil is magical and a great natural oil.
    I have been using the oil to get rid of any marks from clothing from grease to sticky stuff and it works. I just dab on the oil to the spot. Let it sit for a few minutes and then pop into the wash.
    The oil is great for any sticky gummy residue if I am cleaning and reusing jars with labels that wont come off after soaking in hot water.

  10. Aprille says:

    That was exactly what I needed … I can not wait to try it. Thank you sooooo much. That was my very worst problem with my laundry as well – grease.

  11. susan says:

    I have used corn starch for years, my Grandmother taught me to use it. Apply a heaping amount to the grease stain and make sure it is covered well then let it sit over night. Brush off with a paint brush in the morning, if stain is still do repeat, after brushing off again soak in warm water with laundry soap before washing. This has always worked for me.

  12. This is great! I have eucalyptus essential oil, and definitely plenty of toddler grease-stained shirts to try this out on. I have been trying to find a natural remedy for those stains, so I am glad to find one!

    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

  13. Isabelle says:

    I tried this and it made an even bigger stain. I used pure eucalyptus oil. I let it sit 15 mins and then rinsed it and there was a stain even when wet. Before when wet you could not see the grease stain.

    • You aren’t supposed to rinse it, you’re supposed to wash it. 🙂 What brand did you use? Many cheaper brands will dilute “pure” essential oils with other oils to make a bigger profit. Also, what is the material made from? As I mentioned, sometimes it take two or three treatments (washing after each one) for the stain to come out.

      • Isabelle says:


        We put spray n wash on it after and then pout it in washing machine and now it’s fine. Not sure if it would have been ok with just soap and washing? Spray and wash did not work alone but the eucalyptus with it worked great! And now my shirt smells great!! Is it ok to put a few drops in with a load int he wash? I love the smell. Thanks for the info.!!

        • Jen says:

          You can add essential oils to the wash, but don’t be surprised if you can’t smell it after. I know a lot of people (myself included) have tried adding EOs to their laundry, only to be disappointed when the scent disappeared with the wash water.

          • Yes, not much scent sticks around from the washing machine, but I have had more success with putting a few drops on a rag in the cool-down cycle of the dryer. It’s also easy to put a few drops of essential oils on a cotton ball in each dresser drawer.

        • That’s great! It always comes out with just laundry detergent, for me. I use Babyganics, since I’m allergic to most other kinds.

          The scent doesn’t usually stick around very long, but you can add a few drops to a rag when you put the clothes in the dryer. It lasts awhile that way. I also like to put a few drops on a cotton ball and put it in our dresser drawers, like a natural version of scented drawer liners. 🙂

    • Hey friend! 🙂

      Once essential oil is in water, it begins to lose potency. I don’t know how long it would last and how effective it would be. Maybe if you just did a small amount at a time and kept it in the fridge? It would be really great for bigger stains, since it could be sprayed on a larger area… I might have to test it!

      Thanks so much for sharing!!

  14. Robin Lambert says:

    What about machine oil stains. The Ole Guy is a machinist and I have the worst time getting those stains out.

    • I did get some grease from machine gears on a shirt once, and it took it out. It was only a tiny smudge, though, so I don’t have much experience with it. I’d love to hear back, if you try it! Sorry I’m not more help.

  15. Linda says:

    I just rub shampoo into the grease stain, wetting with water if necessary. Then, throw the garment into the hamper and wash when you get to it. Yesterday I removed a large, splattery set-in mineral oil stain this way. It seems to do it every time (my husband is a machinist– it takes out shop grease too). I used to use the all natural shampoo that I have for my hair, but now I keep a bottle of cheaper shampoo near the washing machine and it works just as well.

    • The thing about it is that essential “oils” aren’t actually oils, for the most part. I do know that there are oil-based soaps that can remove/break down oils, but the eucalyptus oil isn’t actually an oil, at all. Interesting, isn’t it? 🙂

    • Hmm… I haven’t tried that, but if I had a grease stain in my carpet, I’d certainly give it a whirl! I’m thinking that putting the eucalyptus in a spray bottle with a little water and then letting it work for ten minutes, or so. Then, either using a hand-held steamer or maybe a damp rag with an iron to heat the carpet a bit before blotting up the moisture.

      I’d love to hear back if you figure out a way to make it work, Barb!

  16. I’ll be giving this a shot.. It’d be great for it to work.. Im afraid I get a lot of grease spots on my favorite concert tees.. They sat in a basket in my basement till I could find something that would work.. Even all the name brand stain removers didnt work and neither did Dawn.. All had been set with throwing them in the dryer.
    I finally gave up & decided to try Totally Awesome from the Dollar Tree (or Dollar General) full strength. It works but its some kinda chemicals.. It chokes me up when I use it.. but it removes all the stains anyways.. I’ll be trying the E.EO next.. Thanks so much!

    • Yay! So glad that I was able to give you a natural alternative! I can’t handle the chemical stain removers without reacting to them, either. Bleck! Thanks so much for the comment, Kim!

  17. Gayle says:

    I have known & used this hint for years & I thought I would let you know an added trick, if you rub in some ordinary dish washing liquid after the eucalyptus oil it will remove the lot in the first go. The eucalyptus oil can need something to break it down as it can leave an oily ring.

    • Thanks for the tip, Gayle, but I am extremely chemically sensitive and can’t use regular dish soaps or stain removers. The petroleum-based and synthetic chemicals are also often toxic, so I avoid them for our general health, too. 🙂 I have found that on the rare occasion that the stain isn’t completely removed the first time (or it there is a “ring”) I can easily reapply and it will be gone with the second wash. 🙂

    • Many people do, but Dawn and similar dish soaps aren’t natural. What I really love about this method is that I can avoid toxic and irritating ingredients which are in stain removers and many dish soaps. Being extremely sensitive to synthetic chemicals, this is the only method I can use without having a reaction. 🙂

  18. carlene says:

    I wanted to know if anyone had a Natural way to get oil and grease( from a car) out of cloths. My husband is a mechanic and because of his high exposure to chemicals in his work we try to live natural at home.

  19. Penny Oosterman says:

    I hope this works well. I have so many shirts that are ruined because I could not get the stain out. Thanks for the tip.

  20. Tesa Jordan says:

    curious..I have an item that cannot be laundered (furniture) that has an auto grease stain on it.. do you have a solution for that?

    • You could try spritzing some white vinegar with a some eucalyptus oil in it on the stain and blot it off. That would be my first thought, but I haven’t tried it myself.

  21. Tesa Jordan says:

    it is helping! I may be able to disassemble the piece and launder it, which I’m sure would help. its a needlepoint that is on a little sitting mom made the needlepoint and I was heartbroken when I saw the grease stain. looking at the condition now of the wrought iron bench, it needs sand blasting, and I can remove the bench from the wrought iron, and I know she mounted the needlepoint on it when she finished it…(or had it done)

  22. Tesa Jordan says:

    I finally got some eucalyptus oil, and it is helping! I may be able to disassemble the piece and launder it, which I’m sure would help. its a needlepoint that is on a little sitting mom made the needlepoint and I was heartbroken when I saw the grease stain. looking at the condition now of the wrought iron bench, it needs sand blasting, and I can remove the bench from the wrought iron, and I know she mounted the needlepoint on it when she finished it…(or had it done) thanks!

    • Hi Tamara,
      Vick’s is mostly just petroleum “jelly” which is a nasty sludge that was found in oil rigs. They didn’t know what to do with it so they decided to market it as skin care! It’s not something I’d ever recommend using on the skin, but it will certainly make the stain far worse on your clothing. Real eucalyptus oil can be found pretty inexpensively at health food stores or online and a small bottle with last for a very long time. Plus, you can mix a little with some healthy oil (olive oil, coconut oil, etc) to use in place of Vick’s when you have a cold! 😉

  23. Indigo says:

    Beware! I tried this yesterday (using organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil) and it has taken some of the colour out of the garment (70% Cotton and 30% Polyester). The patch is worse than the original grease mark which I was removing little by little with washing-up liquid. I am unable to ‘remove’ the patch of stripped colour though 🙁

    • I’m so sorry to hear that! We only buy natural materials, so I didn’t have any experience with polyester. Thanks for the tip! I’ll update the post to let people know to be careful with synthetics.

  24. Peta says:

    I live in Australia & we have been using eucalyptus oil for a lot of things for a long time. This definitely works. If you put the oil on with a ball of cotton wool (uses less oil) you dampen the cotton ball first so it can’t absorb the oil. I once got black,engine oil out of a very expensive pair of white jeans for my sister-in-law who didn’t believe it could be done. Warm water is best to remove the oil, because it is a volatile oil & dissipates with heat, or the sun. Our suns certainly got some heat in it at the moment. Eucalyptus oil will take off stickers & gummed labels. Another wonderful use for this oil is keeping cockroaches out of your house. The last time I had the insect guy, which was a yearly thing (we get tiny tropical cockroaches that can infest your house in know time flat & can hide in tiny crevices really well) I thought there has to be a better way & a cheaper way. I read that cockroaches hate eucalyptus oil, so every time I mop my house I put a capfull of eucalyptus oil in the water. I haven’t had the insect guy back in 20 years & your house smells fresh. Not exaggerating.

    • Oh, no! I haven’t actually had to deal with that (shocking, since we have tons of pine on our property!), so I’m not sure. Maybe a natural stain remover that uses enzymes to break down the resin?

  25. Quite surprising way of removing grease stains. Never heard of using essential oils to remove grease stains.

    Is it only eucalyptus that works ? Or do other essential oils like lemon and spearmint also help remove grease.

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