How to Get Grease Out of Pillowcases

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Hang bed linens outside to dry for a fresh smell without the use of waxy softeners.
Hang bed linens outside to dry for a fresh smell without the use of waxy softeners. (Image: chameleonseye/iStock/Getty Images)

With a pretreatment product and a hot soapy water wash, tough grease stains will come out of a pillowcase. You can use a spray-on product, a powdered detergent mixed with water to make a paste, or an enzyme detergent, but don’t use chlorine bleach to treat grease stains. Chlorine yellows white linens; it can fade or bleach out portions of colored bedding and just does not work to remove grease. To remove motor greases and oil, pretreat the pillowcase with a petroleum-based solvent spray.

Things You'll Need

  • Enzyme or heavy-duty detergent
  • Enzyme spray
  • Petroleum based-solvent spray
  • Talcum powder or cornstarch
  • White chalk

Pretreatment Options

Pretreat the grease stain on pillowcases before washing. Apply a liquid heavy-duty or enzyme detergent, a powdered detergent paste, or an enzyme or petroleum based-solvent spray directly to the stain.

Work the agent into the stain by rubbing the fabric together. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before placing it in the washing machine.

Set your washer to its “hot wash” setting and choose the option that allows for a longer cleaning. Wash the pillowcases thoroughly.

Examine the pillowcases for evidence of any remaining grease stains before hanging them out to dry in the sun. If any grease remains, repeat the pretreatment and washing until the stains are gone.

Fresh Grease Stains

Dab a fresh stain with a bit of talcum powder or cornstarch to absorb the oil.

Rub the talcum powder or cornstarch into the stain to pull the grease from the pillowcase. Brush off excess.

Repeat these steps until the stain is gone.

Rub white chalk into a grease stain if you don’t have any cornstarch or baby powder as a pretreatment, before washing the pillowcase on the hot setting with a heavy-duty detergent.

Repeat as necessary for stubborn grease stains before laundering.

Tips & Warnings

  • Enzyme and petroleum-based spray-on products are available in the detergent aisle of grocery or superstores.
  • White chalk also works for greasy ring-around-the-collar stains in collared shirts or blouses.
  • Cornstarch also removes grease stains from carpets when left to sit for at least 6 hours.
  • Chalk, cornstarch and powder, when left on greasy fingerprints covering wallpaper and left to sit for 30 minutes, safely remove these stains.
  • You can substitute baking soda for talcum powder.
  • Read the labels of petroleum-based spray on products as they may not work on all fabric types.

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