The Perfect Laundry Hack For Pretreating Grease Stains Is Already In Your Kitchen

Getting grease stains out of clothes can be a cumbersome task, especially if the oily mark has had time to dry or set. Whether you've splattered grease all over your shirt while cooking or happened to drop some food into your lap, dish soap is great for pretreating stains before you throw your clothes in the wash. While most know you should avoid using this popular cleaner in your washing machine as a replacement for detergent, dish soap is an extremely helpful tool for eliminating stains from clothing. Additionally, you'll rinse the dish soap off your clothes before throwing them in the washer, so you won't need to be concerned about the suds harming your machine.

The chemical makeup of dishwashing liquids is designed to fight grease while being gentle enough to touch your skin as you wash dishes. This is part of the reason why dish soap can remove grease stains from fabrics, though it can be too harsh for delicate materials like silk.  

Why dish soap is an effective pretreatment for grease stains

One of the main ingredients in dishwashing liquids and other cleaning detergents is surfactants, which act to bind to grease and oil particles and wash them away once rinsed. Surfactants also create the sudsing action of the dish soap, helping to pull away dirt and grime. Since the surfactants in dish soap are rather mild, using a small amount to treat a stain before washing the garment shouldn't harm the fabric, though it will be tough on the stain.

Dishwashing liquids also contain enzymes, such as proteases and lipases, that work to get rid of proteins and fats. Even if the surfactants in dish soap aren't quite enough to get that week-old tomato sauce stain out of your white shirt, the enzymes in the detergent will also help eliminate stains. This combination of ingredients makes dish soap great for getting grease off pots and pans or your laundry. Since pretreating stains will only require a few drops of dishwashing liquid, this is a simple, easy, and cost effective way to remove grease stains from your laundry, especially since you probably already have this kitchen essential on hand.

How to pretreat grease stains with dish soap

To start, you can either dampen the fabric with cold water where the stain is before treating it with dish soap or apply the dishwashing liquid right onto the greasy spot. Carefully rub the soap into the stain, making sure it covers the entire affected area completely. This will help to start lifting the stain. Allow your pretreated clothing to sit for about 5 minutes before gently rinsing the soap out of your fabric. You can do this multiple times for stains that have dried on, or you could let the soap sit longer to help give it time to fight the stain. Be sure to rinse out the dish soap well to prevent it from becoming sudsy when you run your next load of laundry.

Even if you're not ready to wash a load of clothes, pretreating a tough, oily stain with dishwashing liquid right away will help prevent the stain from setting and keep your clothes fresh. Additionally, dish soap sprays, such as Dawn's Powerwash, work just as well as the traditional liquid. Just spritz the soap onto the fabric and follow the same method as above.