Husband’s Greasy Laundry

My husband works 12 hour shifts frying potatoes in a factory. His laundry not only STINKS like old oil, it is also greasy and sometimes batter-splattered. I’ve been giving them a double wash in hot water, using Arm and Hammer detergent, Dawn dish soap, Febreze Laundry, and rinsing with vinegar. It helps, but we’re still going to have to toss his clothes soon (not to mention the Febreze is $$). They still stink – though not as bad, and though not as greasy, it tends to build up. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. says

    There’s a product called Lestoil, comes in a bottle on the cleaning/laudnry aisle that will work wonders for that. You’ll just put about a 1/4 cup in each load with your detergent.

  2. Pamela says

    Try rubbing the really greasy spots with pinesol and then soaking them in a solution of pinesol and hot water, a lady who’s son was an auto machanic told me this one time and it really does help

  3. janice says

    Presoak with LOC and then wash. My husband gets axel grease on his clothes and this takes it out and leaves the clothes clean and smelling fresh.

  4. Lisa says

    I also have bought engine degreaser from the auto parts store and put it in a empty spray bottle. Spray it on the greasy spots and then throw them in the washer immediately. Takes out the grease and smells like orange!

  5. Carly says

    Washing with hot water is good. I don’t think perfumy products like Febreze is necessary.

    Do you have a presoak option on your washer?

    My suggestion is to place the work clothes in the washer with hot water, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax, 1 cup vinegar and let it soak before washing.
    The vinegar will react with the washing soda and borax and will kill odors as well as cut fry oils.

    Next, during the wash cycle, use detergent as usual with 1/2 cup baking soda.

    Use a good quality fabric softener in the rinse cycle and it well put a coating on the work clothes that over time will help prevent so much oil absorbtion.

  6. Arlene says

    I’ve not tried it but another frugal list I’m on suggested pouring a bottle (can) of coke in the washer along with your detergent. I wonder if any cola drink would work? It’s supposed to cut the oil/grease…. Let us know what works!


    I once read a post where a lady gave suggestions as to how to make bathing suits last longer. what she did was to wet them and soak them in a bucket of half fabric softener and half water. Then wring out and let drip dry without rinsing. Her theory was that no chlorine molecules could gather between the fibers as they were already saturated. Maybe if you pretreated his new clothing before they were ever worn, it may be effective? The wives who have dealt with this will still be your best resource. Good luck.

  8. Nancy Michel says

    @Jan, LOC is Liquid Organic Concentrate an all purpose cleaner made by Amway. It is very good and so safe that you can use it for a bubble bath ut yet will clean grease from clothes and diluted in different ways is a cleaner for just about everything.

    My suggestion is like Barb, 1st response with one difference, I actually put the lestoil on any greasy spots as well as adding it to the wash. Pretreat with Lestoil and scrub into the stains, let set about 15 minutes then wash and use a vinegar rinse to get out the additional cleansers/detergent used.

  9. says

    My husband is a diseal mechanic and we deal with his greasey clothes all the time. There are a lot of great suggestions and I am going to add one more. My husband and I use different combinations depending on what he’s working on and what we can find on sale. The one constant is baking soda. We always add 1 cup to every load. My husband likes using 1/2 cup of Dawn and/or 1/2 of diswashing powder (Cascade). Both cut grease and oil really well. The baking soda makes everything work better. Good luck and just experiment!

  10. Debi says

    Try a can of Coca cola along with your regulas washing detergent. I used this on my husband’s greasy army uniforms when he worked in the motorpool. Then use your regular fabric softener.

  11. says

    What about automatic dishwasher detergent? It is made to be a greas cutter and I’ve used it as a presoak for many different organic stains like grass stain, etc and it has worked wonders. Also, hot water can cut grease if it is hot enough. Typically, hot tap water is not hot enough for this. You might try actually soaking the clothes in near boiling water to which automatic dishwasher detergent has been added. You can soak them right in the washing machine but will need to carry boiling water to it. Only try boiling water if his clothes will tolerate the heat- you don’t want him thinking he’s gained weight when in reality his clothes shrunk! LOL

  12. Julie W says

    I used to work at a well known fast food place a long time ago. I was forever in charge of everything fried…which is like….everything. My uniform was that horrible polyester that absorbed grease, oil, and every odor. My mom found that Lestoil was the only thing that would cut it. She would also use it on my dad’s garage know…dad trying to fix the car before he finally let the mechanic have it. She would pre soak and then wash with it. The first few times she would use it strongly..1 cup or so in the wash and then was able to back it down to half or a quarter cup. Hope this helps

  13. Kim says

    While cleaning a very dirty oven range hood (we’re the superintendants of our building, and chlorine bleach makes me feel sick), I discovered that Oxyclean does an amazing job of attacking grease! I would suggest soaking overnight with really hot water and a couple of scoops of Oxyclean, then wash with the regular amount of Oxyclean and your regular detergent. Expect a greasy foam or scum to be on the top after the overnight soak, so you might want to do that in a large bucket.

    Hope this helps!

  14. Ruth says

    I’ve used PineSol (store brand works too), sprayed directly on clothes, to deal with motor oil. It doesn’t take everything out, but a lot. If the grease is all through his clothes, maybe use the PineSol as if it were the laundry detergent (probably too much suds if you use both)

  15. Jana G says

    My husband suggests getting uniforms from a uniform company. They will give him a weeks worth of uniforms, then launder them for him. The expense of the rental is offset by not having to purchase his own clothes and ruin them. I believe he can also write off the cost of them at the end of the year on his taxes, if you itemize. Plus you don’t have the additional cost of all the different detergent concoctions. My husbands brother works for a plane manufacturer and he gets very dirty and greasy, and this really works for him. Plus, every so often, they completely replace the uniforms for new ones. You can negotiate the contract.
    Also, please be careful if you decide to continue laundering his clothes, my dad used to have a restaurant and he would wash and dry the grease rags, that got soaked in grease from the fryer. Well, since the grease doesn’t completely get washed out, it caused our dryer to catch on fire. So please handle with care, or hang to dry if possible.

  16. Eva says

    Baking soda… mix up some hot water with baking soda and some DAWN dish detergent(just a few drops will do it) and soak the clothing in a 5 galon bucket for a few hours. I would just have him toss the clothing straight into the bucket and add the three ingredients over top. just put a lid on and shake it then let it sit overnight. I use baking soda for ALL of my cleaning. baking soda and a few drops of dish detergent works wonders on a smooth top stove too!

  17. Michelle says

    Second (or third or fourth!) the Lestoil recommendation; my DH was a mechanic and pre-soaking his overalls with Lestoil was the only way to get out both the oil stains & the motor oil odor!

  18. deanna says

    I used to add a capful of Pine Sol to the wash along with detergent when cleaning my son’s “frycook” clothing. It did leave a slight pine tree scent, but cleaned incredibly well. Pine Sol comes in other scents, but I only used the pine. I highly recommend.

  19. Mo says

    My husband gets a lot of oil and grease on his clothes. I find that if I use Murphy Oil Soap it works very well to remove oil and grease and leaves a nice scent.Also it doesn’t fade the colorers like other stain removers like Shout. I put it in a spray bottle and dilute with water,this makes it very frugal to use.The heavier the stain the stronger the solution.I have used it straight on really bad stains.You may want to add a little to the wash water.I use it on all my laundry stains.Just spray on let sit if you have time and wash as usual.I have also used it in my carpet cleaner on the high traffic areas. Works great. I don’t know what I would do with out Murphy Oil Soap. I hope this is helpful.

  20. Angelia says

    Use Greased Lightning on your toughest laundry stains from ink to makeup as well as a great degreaser . Spray Greased Lightning directly on to stain and throw into wash. For tough set in stains, let Greased Lightning penetrate fabric for 5 minutes before washing. I buy it at the home improvement store in the gallon container. I would suggest to pretreat with Greased Lightning and follow up in the washer with hot water, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax, 1 cup vinegar and let it soak before washing.

  21. Maiya says

    My mother-in-law used to swear by 409. You know, the stuff for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom… She would just spray it all over on the clothes and then let them sit for a little while, and then wash them in hot water. She would use a toothbrush on any really gross spots and it worked amazingly well. It’s a little unconventional, but it’s worth a try.

  22. Becky says

    i live in Oklahoma. We have a lot of oil field workers amd their clothes get very greasy. They add a can of Coke to the washer. It removes the greae from their clothes. You might try that.

  23. Jane says

    On the uniform rental deal…you should check an accountant before you do this…if the clothing is not “marked” has his name and the comapany name on it, it can not be deducted…the rule is if you can wear it without being identified at being an employee of a certian company…i worked at a bank that had uniforms and we were unable to deduct because the clothing did not have the company logo or name on it…just haveing uniform pants and shirts will not cut the tax code…unless you are a memeber of congress that is…LOL

    • Jess says

      That’s true, if you want the deduction it needs to be industry specific or have a logo, for instance an electrician buys boots with shock absorbing soles. The general rule of thumb is “could I use this in everyday life, or do I have a legitimate excuse to offer that I would only use it for work”.

  24. Kathy says

    Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps All-One! 1000’s of uses, Trader Joe’s sells a private label version really great on grease

  25. Amy says

    When first married my husband worked as a paver. Talk about grease! Tar is impossible. It was suggested that I use a scoop of Spic n’ Span with his things (only his though). It worked everytime.

  26. CountryGirl says

    AMMONIA is the ticket! Fill the washer with hot water. Pour in two cups of ammonia put the clothes in leave the lid open while it agitates let them soak over night. Drain and then wash with any laundry soap. Works for me. And ammonia is really cheap at the dollar store. Sometime’s I add more for the wash. Hope this works for ya!

  27. says

    It was interesting that it pointed out that some clothing/rags caught fire in the dryer. Detergents are made from petroleum products and on their own can be flammable. I would recommend homemade laundry soap, more pure than detergents, and pre-soaking. I have read that if you use Fels-Naptha soap as a pre-treater it works great. You just rub in on the clothing with a tiny bit of water. I have a recipe for soap on my blog:, you can try this and see if it works.

  28. Mrs Koehn says

    I looked for the Lestoil and they don’t sell it up here I guess. What I’ve been doing is filling the washer up with hot water, a hefty scoop of Arm and Hammer with Oxyclean, a squirt of Dawn, and a cap of Febreze laundry stuff. I leave the lid open and let it sit at least 2 or 3 hours. Then I let it cycle though, adding vinegar to the rinse. I wash again in warm water with the Arm and Hammer only and use my homemade fabric softner. It doesn’t stink or smell of grease anymore BUT it doesn’t get out the “occasional spots”. His clothes are saturated. His shoes, after 2 months of wear, could ring oil out of the laces. GROSS. He’s put in for a new position which would be WAY more stress on him, but out of the fryer room supervising. I almost hope he gets it…. Lol

  29. Mary says

    My dad worked with motor oil and grease. My mother would fight fire with fire and pretreat his greasy clothes with unsalted lard, rubbing it thoroughly into his over alls, then put them in the hot sudsy water. Many times she would grind up bars of Ivory Soap, using the meat grinder, or when we had some extra money she would use Tide. I don’t recall my father having old stains on his clothes, just fresh stains. His overalls were well worn, often patches on top of patches until they were ready to become patches.

  30. Thia says

    Back in the automotive section of wal mart is a product called Simple Green. I have used it on my husband’s clothes for years through deliveries of various fuels as well as working at an oil change place. This product also works when the kids have accidents and their clothes smell of urine. Spots on the floor from child/pet accidents. For the laundry, you just add a few splashes (or the recommended amount haha) to the washer tub with your usual soap. The scent is very mild.

  31. susan pickle says

    tried your way helped some, but I bought some Clorox fraganzia, multi purpose cleaner frost dew scent. I fill the washer with hot water run though cycle, after they rinse I fill washer again with hot water, wash and when you get to your rinse cycle for the second time add downey in the purple bottle and the smell is gone. my son is a fry cook a chilis, that smell was horrible. hope it works for you.

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