How to Remove Grease Stains From Carpet

person removing grease from carpet

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins - 4 hrs, 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Grease seems to be everywhere—on the sidewalk, on the garage floor, on your bicycle chain—and it gets tracked inside on your shoes to the carpet. Even when you drop a piece of butter toast on a rug or carpet, the odds are great that it will land butter side down leaving a greasy, oily stain. Whether the carpet is dark or light, the grease stains are very noticeable and they attract even more soil.

Most stains can be removed with cleaning supplies you probably have on hand. It's time to remove grease stains from carpet.

 Stain Type  Oil-based
 Detergent Type  Enzyme-based stain remover, absorbent powder, dishwashing liquid with grease cutter, ammonia
 Water Temperature Hot to warm

What to Consider

If the grease stain is on an area rug on a hardwood floor, move the rug to a tarp or washable floor before treating the stain. If the wood floor beneath the rug becomes wet during cleaning, remove the rug completely to allow the floor to dry or dark stains may appear.

If the grease stain is larger than a dinner plate, sprinkle with it cornstarch, block it off from foot traffic to prevent spreading the stain, and call a professional carpet cleaning service.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 dull knife or spoon
  • 1 to 2 clean, dry cloth
  • 1 old toothbrush or soft-bristled nylon brush
  • 1 vacuum
  • 1 set measuring cups and spoons
  • 1 small bowl


  • 1 box cornstarch or talcum powder
  • 1 bottle ammonia
  • 1 bottle dishwashing liquid with a grease cutter
  • 1 roll paper towels


How to Remove Grease Stains From Carpet

Grease stains are easier to remove from natural wool and cotton carpet fibers than from synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers, particularly olefin, attract and hold onto oily stains making them more difficult to remove.


The same cleaning techniques and products recommended for carpet can be used to remove grease stains from upholstery. If you need to use the wet cleaning steps, be careful not to over-wet the fabric because excess moisture in the furniture cushions can cause mildew to form.

Before cleaning any furniture, always follow the manufacturer's care label on cleaning upholstery. This tag can be found under the sofa cushions or fabric skirt with letter codes that indicate how to clean the furniture. If the upholstery is vintage or silk, sprinkle with cornstarch and call a professional before attempting to remove the stain.

  1. Remove Any Solid Matter

    Never rub a grease stain with a cloth. Rubbing will push the grease deeper into the carpet fibers possibly making it larger and always making it harder to remove. Use a spoon, a dull kitchen knife, or the edge of a credit card to lift away as much of the greasy blob as possible.

  2. Sprinkle the Stain with Absorbent Powder

    The first step to remove any grease stain from carpet is to absorb as much of the oily stain as possible. By using an absorbent powder, depending on the size of the stain, you may not have to do any additional scrubbing.

    • After removing any solids, sprinkle the stain liberally with cornstarch or talcum powder to absorb the oil.
    • Work the powder into the carpet with a soft-bristled brush (an old toothbrush works great).
    • Allow the absorbing powder to sit on the stain for at least fifteen minutes, but up to an hour is better.
    • Vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove the powder. 
    • Check the stain. Reapply the powder and repeat the steps if the stain still feels greasy to the touch.

How to Use a Homemade Carpet Cleaner to Remove Grease

After removing any solids and trying an absorbent powder, use the cleaning solution to remove any remaining traces of the grease stain.

  1. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    • Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with a grease cutter in two cups of hot water in a small bowl.
    • Add one tablespoon of household ammonia.


    Always read product labels when mixing ammonia with another cleaning product, to make sure that chlorine bleach is not an ingredient. Never mix ammonia and bleach as the combination produces a toxic gas.

  2. Treat the Grease Stain

    Work from the outside edges toward the center of the stain to prevent it from becoming larger. Gently scrub the stain with a soft-bristled brush dipped in the cleaning solution, then blot with a dry paper towel until the stain is removed. 

  3. Rinse the Area

    Rinse the freshly cleaned area with a cloth dipped in plain water to completely remove any soapy residue. Any residue left on the carpet or upholstery will attract more dirt. Blot dry with a clean cloth. Repeat the cleaning steps until no more stain remains.

  4. Dry the Carpet and Vacuum

    Allow the area to air-dry away from direct heat and avoid walking on that area of the carpet until it is fully dry. Vacuum to lift any matted fibers.

How to Remove Grease Stains With a Commercial Carpet Stain Remover

  1. Follow Label Directions

    • Select a commercial carpet stain remover that contains enzymes that will break apart the grease molecules so they are easier to lift from the fibers. Check the ingredient label for the enzyme lipase, which degrades fat-based stains.
    • Follow the product label directions for application.

Additional Tips for Handling Grease Stains on Carpet

  • Allow the freshly-cleaned area to air-dry away from direct heat. Avoid walking on the damp carpet. When the carpet is dry, vacuum to lift the fibers.
  • Don't rub the grease stain—blot instead. Rubbing pushes the grease deeper into the carpet fibers and can make the stain larger.
  • Don't ignore the stain. It won't go away. Treat a grease stain as soon as you possibly can.
Article Sources
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    1. Cleaning and Sanitizing with Bleach After an Emergency. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.