Those of you who want to know how to remove grease from carpet are probably dealing with a situation that everyone dreads. Anyone who has ever tried to remove grease or oil stains knows that this is one of the toughest jobs that one can take on when doing any kind of laundry, let alone cleaning a carpet.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that many of us are looking for online tips and tricks on how this can get done. One of the first things you should know is that natural fibers are usually easier to clean. For instance, linen and cotton can have stains removed rather easily. However, when it comes to synthetic fibers, it’s a completely different story.
Materials such as nylon or polyester are made using, among other things, petroleum. In turn, this means that grease molecules have a different type of surface that they can adhere to, and they create a very strong bond with this type of fiber.
Therefore, no matter if we’re talking about motor oil, cooking oil, or any other type of grease, you will most probably need to take special measures to remove the stain from the fabric. The truth is that even in the case of natural materials, this is not an easy task, so let’s see what you should do in order to get the job done.
Before you try out anything, you should know that a key aspect of removing grease stains from any type of fabric is to use a special type of detergent, namely an enzyme-based and ideally heavy-duty one. You can also try to use a stain remover, as this does the trick many times as well. Moreover, it’s important to use the hottest washing temperature that won’t damage the entire fabric.
As you can imagine, grease is temperature-sensitive, so this helps the process along as well. If the stain includes any grease solids as well, then the first thing you need to do is remove these using either a spoon or a dull knife. However, make sure that you don’t rub the stain with anything else, as this will only make the problem bigger, as it pushes the grease even further into the fabric.
In case the grease is liquid, you can tap it with a regular paper towel that’s dry to remove as much of it as possible at this stage. In this step, you can also use either cornstarch or talcum powder sprinkled over the stain, as these have the ability to absorb a large part of the grease.
If you go for this intermediary step, then make sure that you leave the powder sprinkled on the stain for several minutes (the general rule is around 15), and then you can simply brush it away.
Pretreating the Stain
Once all of this is done, you should go to the laundry room or another room in your home in which you can retreat the stain using a solvent-based substance. A spray usually does the trick.
In case you don’t have such a product in your home and the stain is rather large, so there’s little time to spare, you can always use some heavy-duty detergent that’s liquid and that you can easily apply on the stain. The important part here is to make sure that the detergent you use has the necessary enzymes that are able to break apart molecules, especially grease ones.
Either the spray or the detergent should be applied directly to the stain and gently worked in rubbing the fabric using either an old toothbrush or your fingers. Powdered detergent can also be an option, as long as you use some warm water to make a paste that you then apply onto the stain.
From this point on, you’ll have to be a little bit patient, as the stain remover or the detergent needs to be left on the stain to work between 15 and 30 minutes. The chemicals do their job, and they start breaking apart the molecules during this time, which means that they will be much easier to remove from the fabric fibers afterward.
Once the pretreatment phase is over, you can proceed to wash the fabric using the hottest water that it can sustain without being damaged. If you are trying to remove grease stains from garments, you can simply add the piece of clothing into the washing machine and then add the amount of detergent that you would in a normal load of laundry.
Since we’ve mentioned garments, there are a few things that you should know about grease stains on pieces of clothing. While it might be very tempting, you should never place a grease-stained item in the dryer. The heat will only make the problem bigger by setting the stain even more in the fabric.
However, if upon inspection, the stain is still not completely removed, you can repeat the process, as long as there is no risk of damaging the fabric’s structure or color in that particular area.
And since we’re onto the topic of removing tough stains, it’s also very important to mention that you should never try to mix chlorine bleach and ammonia in the same load of laundry, as toxic fumes can occur, and you will be dealing with something a lot more dangerous than a grease stain.
Carpets That Cannot Be Removed
We all know it. There are small and convenient carpets that you can simply throw into the washing machine once in a while to keep them fresh, and then you have those big beautiful ones that cover the entire floor. The bad news is that if you stain large carpets, you will need to act quickly because they cannot be washed as easily as small models.
Whether we’re talking about food dropped on the carpet or grease stains from the garage, you want to act as quickly as possible. The necessary steps are similar to the ones described before. The first one is to remove as much of the solid grease as possible, using either a dull knife or a spoon.
In this case as well, you want to refrain yourself from rubbing the stain, as this will only make the matter worse. Using sprinkled baking soda, talcum powder, or cornstarch can work wonders in such a situation, so be quick about it in order to allow the powder to absorb as much grease as possible right away.
You can use a vacuum cleaner to efficiently remove the powder allowing it to work for several minutes. Then you should use a dry cleaning solvent or a special carpet cleaning product to remove the stain, using a clean paper towel in the process as well. If you don’t have such a cleaning product in your home, you can make your own recipe, that’s actually quite easy to mix.
You want to use dishwashing detergent (one tablespoon) mixed with two cups of water that’s really hot. Adding a tablespoon of ammonia is also necessary and using this solution and a sponge, you need to blot the stain and then dry it using a paper towel. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until you get rid of the stain.
Once you are done, you should also rinse that particular area with a clean wet cloth, as if there’s any soapy residue left behind, it can end up attracting even more soil.
Grease Stains on Upholstery
We’ve been talking about carpets and garments, but given that grease stains have a way of ruining our beloved furniture as well, it’s important to take a look at this aspect as well. The good news is that you can use the same techniques, tricks, and cleaning products if a grease stain is on upholstery.
However, there are a few things that you should be aware of. The most important one is to avoid over-wetting the fabric, as this can lead to excess moisture, and when it comes to cushions, this is not really such a great idea. It can pose other problems, in the long run, so make sure you use only the required amount of water.
Also, it’s important to know when you need to call in a professional in the battle with grease stains. In the case of upholstery, this is when you have to remove a stain from vintage or silk fabrics. You can always sprinkle the cornstarch or talcum powder, as this is always a good idea, but this is where the adventure stops, and you call a professional.
It’s very difficult and risky to remove such a stain, given that the entire fabric could end up being ruined. Therefore, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so don’t try to do this on your own. Of course, for other types of fabrics or for upholstery that you’ve cleaned before, you can safely try all the tips and tricks described in this article.
Make sure you don’t overdo it, as rubbing too hard or using products that are too strong can still end up destroying the area.