How to Get Grease Stains Out of Jeans

Grass stain on jean leg being cleaned with soapy water and sponge

The Spruce / Jesi Lee

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 3 - 6 hrs
  • Estimated Cost: $15

It's never fun to get a stain on your clothes, but no stain is worse than a grease stain. One moment you're enjoying a delicious slice of pizza, the next, you're staring down at a big oil stain, wondering if you'll ever be able to wear these jeans again.

Have no fear—there are lots of simple methods for getting grease and oil stains out of clothing. Plus, most of them can be done using items you already have in your home. So kick back, reach for that second slice of pizza, and read on to find out how you can get grease stains out of clothes.

How Soon Should You Clean Grease Stains?

The rule of thumb with cleaning grease stains is: the sooner the better. If you can start treating the stain right away, take the opportunity. Grease stains get worse as they sit and dry. The longer grease sits in your denim, the harder it will be to lift the stain from the fabric.

If you're out and about when the grease monster strikes, resist the urge to throw your jeans in the hamper once you get home and leave the stain to set overnight. Get to washing them as soon as possible, and you'll thank yourself later.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Cleaning Tools

  • 1 Toothbrush
  • 1 Washing machine
  • 1 Roll of paper towels

Materials

Cleaning Supplies

  • 1 Mild dish soap
  • 1 Baking soda

Instructions

How to Remove Grease Stains from Jeans

  1. First, Dab the Stain

    Before you do anything else, grab a paper towel, fold it in half, and gently dab the stain. This will help to remove any excess oil or grease that might seep into the denim. Starting with this step will make the entire process of removing the oil stain much easier.

  2. Treat the Stain with Baking Soda

    Sprinkle the stain with some baking soda, and let it sit for a few hours. Baking soda absorbs the oil, lifting any grease that you couldn't pick up with a paper towel out of the fabric.

    Once a few hours have passed, if you have a small vacuum or vacuum with a hose attachment, vacuum the excess baking soda away. If you don't have a vacuum handy, carefully brush off the baking soda. Again, the less oil you have to scrub out, the easier the cleaning will be.

  3. Follow Up With Soap, Water, and a Toothbrush

    • Next, add a drop of mild dish soap directly to the stain. Dish soap is better than laundry detergent here—it works wonders on breaking down and dissolving grease.
    • Next, grab an old toothbrush or soft sponge and gently scrub the stain so it gets sudsy. Two to three minutes with a gentle hand should be adequate.
    • Finally, rinse off the soap or throw your jeans in the washing machine.

    Tip

    For an extra line of attack, you can use a color-safe laundry booster before running your washer.

  4. Air Dry Instead of Using Your Dryer

    Often when dealing with grease and oil on jeans, it takes multiple tries to get the stain out of the fabric. Additionally, treating the stain with any kind of heat can actually cause it to set deeper into the denim, making it more difficult to remove.

    Your best bet is to avoid using your dryer altogether and opt for line drying or hang-drying your jeans until you're certain that the stain is out. If a spot remains, repeat this process until your jeans look good as new.

Tips For Getting Grease Stains Out of Your Jeans

  • If the baking soda and dish soap method doesn't work, try spraying a bit of vinegar on the stain after removing the baking soda. This can also help break down the grease before washing.
  • Already threw your jeans in the dryer? Don't panic. You can still repeat the cleaning process if the stain is still there, but this time, add an enzyme-based cleaner as part of the pretreatment on the stain before washing.