Grease stains are the last type of stain anyone wants on their upholstery or carpets. They’re notorious for their stubbornness and being hard to remove. Because grease is a lipid that is insoluble in water, its molecules can form strong bonds with fabric fibres. These bonds make grease difficult to break down. That’s why your first instinct may be to contact a professional or even dispose of the grease-stained furnishing. Before you do either, you should know that the right technique and products can remove even the most stubborn stains.
In this article, we’ve put together a comprehensive practical guide on how to remove grease stains from upholstery and carpets from our professional carpet cleaners. So, be sure to stick around!
Step 1: Prepare the Necessary Materials
To effectively and completely remove a grease stain, here are the materials that you’ll need:
- Clean towels or cloth rags
- A dull knife (if the stain is dry)
- A soft bristle brush or a toothbrush
- Baking soda, talcum powder, or corn starch
- Extractor vacuum (if possible)
- Dry cleaning solvent
- Dishwashing detergent
- Household ammonia
Step 2: Blot the Grease Stain
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll catch the grease stain before it dries. You’ll need to act fast because grease can set in almost immediately. Using a clean, dry towel, blot up as much grease as possible. To avoid pushing the grease back into the fabric, rotate the towel every now and then. Whatever you do, don’t rub the carpet until you’ve gotten most of the stain out! Rubbing a fresh grease stain only pushes the oil deeper into the fabric, making the stain larger and more difficult to remove. In case the grease has dried, take a dull knife and scrape off as much as you can.
Step 3: Cover the Stain With Baking Soda
Just blotting the stain with a towel won’t remove the grease. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the stain, making sure to completely cover it. Then, with a soft bristle brush or a toothbrush, gently work the baking soda into the fabric. The baking soda will absorb all of the liquid grease. In addition, because baking soda is alkaline, it can neutralize and break down the acids in grease stains. It’s also a mild abrasive, which can allow you to clean off the grease stain without too much effort.
If you don’t have baking soda, you can use talcum powder or corn starch. Both household items are as effective at absorbing grease as baking soda. What’s more, all three household items can eliminate any odours associated with grease. After at least 15 minutes have passed, use a vacuum to remove the powder.
Step 4: Test the Fabric
Each cleaning solution has unique chemical properties. Similarly, each fabric reacts differently to various treatments. As a result, you should test the dry cleaning solvent before you apply the solution to the grease-stained upholstery or carpet. Apply a small amount of the dry cleaning solvent to a concealed area of the grease-stained furnishing. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then wipe it off with a clean, dry towel. If the solution doesn’t alter or damage the fabric, you can move on to the next steps. However, if it reacts in any way with the fabric, you should use a different dry cleaning solvent.
You should make sure to test the new dry cleaning solvent first.
Step 5: Blot With Dry Cleaning Solvent
Following the product instructions, apply the dry cleaning solvent to the grease stain. If you don’t have access to a dry cleaning solvent, you can create your mix by combining:
- 1 tbsp of dishwashing detergent
- 1 tbsp of household ammonia
- 2 cups of hot water (the hottest recommended for the furnishing)
Next, allow the cleaning solution to sit for two to three minutes. Then, blot the spot with a clean, dry towel or cloth rag. Continue blotting until there’s no more grease transferred from the fabric to the towel.
Step 5.1: Repeat the Process
Grease stains are one of the most stubborn stains to deal with. So, don’t be disheartened if the stain doesn’t come out completely the first time. You may have to go over a couple of applications of baking soda and cleaning solution before the grease stain completely lifts off. Ultimately, if the stain persists, you can call in a professional to take care of this task for you.
Step 6: Remove Any Residue
Lastly, you want to rinse off any residue from the now-clean furnishing. Using an extractor vacuum, rinse the area with clean, cold water. Then, vacuum it until you’ve removed all of the moisture from the furnishing. You may need to repeat this step several times before the residue is completely removed. The upside of this situation is that it further ensures that any grease residues are removed, too. After you’ve ensured that no residue remains, you’ll need to ensure that no moisture remains. Place the palm of your hand on the area and check if it’s completely dry or not.
If it still feels damp, you should continue vacuuming as many times as it takes to dry. If you don’t have an extractor vacuum, your other option is to blot the moisture with a dry towel. This method will take you longer, but it’ll save you from getting water stains on your upholstery and mould in your carpets.
Keep in mind that hot water can shrink and even damage carpets made from natural fibre. Luckily, grease stains are much easier to remove from natural fabric than synthetic fiber. So, if you’re cleaning a carpet made from natural fibres like cotton or linen, use cold water to rinse it.
Tips for Removing Grease Stains
Not all is lost if a grease stain finds its way to your upholstery or carpets. Just make sure you follow these tips to minimize damage as much as possible.
- When dealing with grease stains, always use blotting and dabbing motions
- To avoid further embedding the stain in the furnishing, don’t scrub, spread, or smear
- To prevent dirt accumulation, make sure to remove any cleaning material or moisture residue
- Before cleaning any grease-stained fabric, remove as much of the grease solids as possible with a dull knife
Now, next time you come across a grease stain of any kind, you’ll be prepared. Following the steps listed above, you can say goodbye to both fresh and dried grease stains. Most importantly, stay patient and persistent when approaching a grease stain. You may need to repeat the same steps a couple of times before the stain fades away completely. That said, if the stain persists or you’re unsure about removing it yourself, you can send the grease-stained carpet to the dry cleaner or call an upholstery cleaner. Experts from both services use the proper materials and know-how to remove grease stains from upholstery and carpets.