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Gather ‘round kids: I had a coworker mention to me this morning that it’s impossible to get grease stains out of fabric. As a former chemistry minor who worked two years under the table doing housekeeping and who generally tends to be a fucking disaster, I am here to tell everyone that it absolutely is not impossible, in case this is a widespread belief. Here are a few of my favorite cleaning stain removers that I always have at home.

Here are some options:

  • A Tide™ pen.
  • I’m a generic kinda lady. I hate promoting brands 99% of the time. BUT if you catch absolutely any kind of stain before it gets ground in, you can get most of it out with one of these babies. I’ve tested it on blood, chocolate, coffee, guacamole, pizza sauce, red wine on, on that one time i accidentally slopped some oil I was supposed to be using on antiques onto a fancy rug (also an antique but not the one I was gunning for). If you’re washing something delicate, pump it onto your finger a couple of times and gently rub it in. I’m not sure what they put in these things but I’m pretty sure it’s an arcane secret.
  • Dish soap
    • Granted, this is a little trickier for upholstery/carpet, but it can still be done using a rag, some water, and some patience. But for clothing, just pour some soap on the stain and rub it in under cold running water.
  • Absolutely any clear alcohol is your new best friend
    • You know the old “white wine to clean red” trick? Well, this is its updated sister I like to call “you, too, can use coconut rum to get red jello shot out of your nice white dress”. It’s a nice party trick. Straight vodka works even better. For every day situations involving any kind of alcohol-related spills (including markers)–and especially work situations–rubbing alcohol is ideal. To quote another adage, this one from every chemistry teacher you will ever meet, “like dissolves like.”
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
    • It can get blood out of absolutely anything, including your mattress. It reacts with the iron in hemoglobin, which breaks down the molecule, causing it to lose its red color. So make sure you’re not using a cast iron skillet to wash your period underwear in.
  • Vinegar
    • This will dissolve lime buildup overnight. Fill a bag, tie it around your showerhead, and presto. You can also use it to scrub the area around your sink and to break up any buildup in pipes. (Limeaway™ is for rich people.) 
  • Baking soda
    • This is great if you have a pet or child who peed on the carpet. Just cover the area, wait until it dries, and vacuum it up. The longer you leave it, the better it will do at removing the smell. It’s also good removing mild odors from a small space, like a fridge or a laundry hamper. 
  • Charcoal
    • This is your heavy duty odor killer. A little goes a long way. In chemistry, activated charcoal is used as a purifier in reactions, and in medicine, it can be used to treat mild poisoning/overdoses. In your car that smells like someone died because you forgot you had potatoes in the trunk for six months? All you need are regular old charcoal briquettes. Stick a couple handfuls in a flat box and the smell will be gone overnight. Guaranteed. For larger areas, just use more charcoal.

    Baking soda is also good for stuff stuck on pots pans and your stove top. Add a little bit of water and elbow grease and it’s like magic


    Baby shampoo will get oil stains out of clothing even if it’s been washed and dried several times.  Shampoo is formulated to remove oil from organic stuff.

    Fabric cleaning tips. good to know for sewers.

    Don't be the product, buy the product!