It is a problem encountered globally, yet we still haven’t come to a consensus. What is the best detergent for removing grease and oil stains?
Everyone from a mechanic to a masseuse will understand the most frustrating laundry nightmare of how to remove oily substances from your clothes permanently.
The majority of detergent brands will claim they are effective at removing every stain, but oil-based substances are particularly challenging and require a more assertive approach. Fortunately, some detergents do not fall short and will tackle grease and oil head, leaving your clothes smelling and looking fresh.
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Why Are Grease and Oil Stains So Challenging
There is no debate that grease and oil stains are some of the most stubborn and toughest stains to remove from your favorite clothes. The problem is that oils hold on tightly and deeply to the material of your garment, taking only seconds to permeate.
The best you can hope for is that your stained garment is already opaque, or ideally black to begin with. Unfortunately, oil and grease stains tend to be rich and dark.
Frustratingly they become more intense over time, which makes them readily noticeable on most other colors or patterns.
Even if you tackle the stain as soon as it is made, blotting frantically with cold water, but that’s oil. When your garment is wet, it will make you think it has been defeated, but that unsightly stain will reappear as it dries.
The primary reason oil and grease stains are so difficult to remove is that they are naturally hydrophobic. This is because of the polarity of the two substances, which prevents them from emulsifying.
This is combined with the difference in density of the two compounds. An excellent example of this is a bit like how oil will pool on the top of your soup.
We encounter oil and grease pretty much every day. From fine Italian cooking oil to bike grease, we encounter these garment-ruining substances regularly, so it is vital that when these nasty stains arise that we know how to get rid of them.
What Are Detergents
Water requires help, usually in the form of your favorite detergent, to get grease and oil stains moving. However, as you may have already noticed, not all detergents have the desired effect.
Detergents work by using something called surfactants. This is a compound that is effective at eliminating the tension between two substances.
Basically, it is how detergent separates waste particles like soil away from the material.
More significantly, detergents contain specialized enzymes which are designed to take brake up oil and grease particles. They operate by attracting the particle out of the material due to their stronger chemical attraction.
It is what is impressive about detergents is they use chemical rather than scrubbing power to remove stains which is far more effective.
Detergents typically come in three forms; Powder, liquid, and pods. Each of them does the same job, but they tend to have different benefits and drawbacks, as explained below.
Powdered detergents are the most common and economical of the three. They are the most cost-effective and typically have the most extended shelf life.
Due to their naturally more abrasive form, they are often considered the most effective at tackling dirt and grime. Additionally, they are the most universally accepted detergent form for washing machines.
The drawback is that they require heat and time to dissolve and work correctly. This means they are less effective than their counterparts at short cycles or for more delicate garments which require colder cycles.
A pre-measured and concentrated version of detergent can be a very suitable option. Pods/tablets can be an excellent option for a busy household as there is no danger of overusing detergent per load.
In addition, they are the most convenient method; you can count how many loads you have left.
The drawbacks, however, are that they are the most expensive option to use per load. Which, over time, should be a serious consideration.
There have also been reports of children eating the toxic capsules because they resemble candy.
Liquid detergents are a more costly option but offer some great benefits. Firstly, they can operate at any temperature or cycle time because they dissolve so readily.
Often they are considered the more robust option for taking on stubborn grease and oil stains too.
However, there can be some issues associated with them. Most notably, the cap measurement size is often hard to interpret accurately, leading to overuse, which can be costly.
Also, overuse can cause residue to remain on clothing after the cycle, replacing one stain with another.
The Best Detergent for Oil and Grease Stains
It is easy to fall into the typical consumer trap that the more expensive the product, the better it is. The best rule of thumb is to look at the back of your detergent packaging and assess the best one for you.
As described above, the most significant factor in the proficiency of detergents is the quality, quantity, and variety of enzymes and surfactants. Only by assessing these components can you confidently decide on the best tool for the job.
Of course, the more compounds within the detergents more expensive it gets. But, as with most products, you can often pay for the brand rather than the product.
Often, the detergent packaging will advertise what it does. This can be an excellent initial indicator of what you can expect.
However, the claims can often be diluted regarding their actual results.
After conducting some research, however, some excellent options are available that specialize in decimating even the most stubborn of oil or grease stains. So, after diligent assessment, here are the results!
Percil Pro Clean Power
A reasonably priced, easily accessible, and recognizable brand would be the Percil Pro Clean Power liquid laundry detergent. It is a concentrate that has the ingredients list to match its reasonable and desirable claims.
For around $25 you can get a bottle capable of taking on 82 total loads. It also contains the necessary enzymes and surfactants, which will be great at meeting your average household stain removal needs.
Not only will it be a great detergent, but the German-engineered compound also gives you an added whitening and brightening agent.
Tide Pods Original
Tide is a well-renowned cleaning brand with an excellent reputation and a brand leader. Their three-in-one pods offer several benefits, which are excellent at taking on grease and oil stains.
They have an ingredient list that packs a punch. This formula has multiple crucial components that eliminate odor, obliterate oil/grease stains, and operates effectively in cold and short washing cycles.
They are a more expensive option, coming in at $43 for 81 washes, or about 0.50 cents a load. This can be frustrating when you have a smaller load or accidentally overfill, but ultimately, it is still a perfect option.
Prematex Mechanics Laundry Detergent
For a more heavy-duty approach, there are few better options than the Prematex laundry detergent, which is purpose-made for mechanics. Old mechanical grease is often considered the most stubborn, to the extent that it can stain a mechanics’ hands for days.
Although this is a purpose-built formula for mechanics, it still has its place in a home. It is perfect for heavily stained laundry for those unexpected occasions.
It might be slightly too expensive to use for every load, but it should be considered as an emergency precaution.
OxiClean Stain Remover
One of the best powder detergents on the market would be the versatile Oxiclean remover.
It is unique as it possesses the best chemical composition for removing stubborn grease and oil stains but also ensures a chlorine-free and color-protecting barrier. This powerful agent also acts as a robust pre-soaking compound to take on even long term stains.
Grease and oil stains are renowned for how tough they are to remove. Luckily, there is a plethora of detergents specifically designed to do the job for you.
Taking a chemical approach over the traditional elbow grease, it is our best weapon again stains.
Whether it is a liquid, pod, or powder, you are guaranteed to take on even the most demanding oil and grease stains if you consult the list above. So best of luck, and remember that nothing is a lost cause.
Last update on 2023-06-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API