Whether you're dealing with massage oil, car grease, or spaghetti sauce, the best laundry detergents for grease make short work of an otherwise difficult cleaning task. That said, while most brands state that they're suitable for all stains, oil and grease are more stubborn than most, meaning the majority of formulas will fall short. The picks below are backed up by serious research to find you the detergents that are truly best at fighting grease.
First, the best laundry detergent for you is largely going to depend on the type of washing machine you have. High-efficiency (or HE) washing machines use less water than standard machines, and as a result, require detergents that clean with less suds. Nowadays, HE detergents (even those that fight grease) are available in liquid, pod, or powder form, but these options are just a matter of personal preference.
To find a detergent that's powerful enough to fight grease, it's important to understand the nature of grease. Grease stains are especially stubborn because of the lipid molecules, which are insoluble in water and great at clinging to cloth fibers. In order to remove a grease stain, a solution has to effectively break that bond. Given the competition between detergent manufacturers, brands don't always disclose their exact formulas, but ingredients like baking soda, bio-enzymes, alcohols, and concentrated solvents will be most effective.
All six of these detergents contain one or more of those bond-breaking grease-fighters, and all work in any machine (including HE).
1. The Overall Best Laundry Detergent For Grease
Reviewers say they keep their laundry-room shelves stocked with Persil ProClean so they never run out. This concentrated, German-made formula with stain-fighting enzymes is designed to fight stains, prevent odors, brighten whites, and provide long-lasting freshness — but it's also shockingly effective when it comes to removing grease and oil stains. It works with all types of machines (including HE). On top of that, it has a scent that buyers call "mild" and "pleasant," and it costs just $10 for a 32-load bottle. No wonder it's the top pick.
Reviewers say: "Doubt I'll ever use another detergent. LOVE the smell; that's a big change for me because I always got no-scent products because the odors were offensive, off-putting, or chemical. And the smell is secondary to the excellent cleaning power. Lots of even old grease stains have disappeared."
2. The Most Affordable Option
If you're looking for a grease-fighting bargain, this is it. Arm & Hammer liquid laundry detergent comes in a massive 1.6-gallon bottle for just $8. The low-sudsing formula works in any machine and utilizes the power of baking soda and special cleansing agents, which, together, extract and trap dirt, odors, and oil stains. Needless to say, buyers have been thrilled — especially with the price.
Reviewers say: "I accidentally bought my husband and grandson the same gray long sleeved T-shirt but could easily tell them apart [because] my husband's had a grease stain on the front that Tide could not get out. Imagine my surprise when in my first load using A & H, the two shirts were exactly the same — the stain came out the very first time I used it. So cheap and an excellent detergent!"
3. The Best Laundry Detergent Pods
For those who prefer the convenience of laundry pods, Tide PODS Ultra Oxi detergent pacs are especially well-equipped to tackle grease stains because of their four-in-one formula. Each individual pack features a pre-treatment solution, a detergent, a stain remover, and a color-protector. The film dissolves in both hot and cold water, and the pods can be used in both HE and standard washing machines.
Reviewers say: "[My mechanic husband knelt] down on our brand new, pristine white bath mats and proceeded to get black grease all over them [... This detergent] completely took out the stains without the aid of bleach! I was in shock! I’ve never in the 10+ years I’ve been cleaning my husbands clothes or stains had a detergent perform so well."
4. The Best Detergent For Allergies
Most grease-removing detergents contain synthetic chemicals that may be agitating for people with sensitivities. Luckily, Charlie's Soap unscented laundry detergent is hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and non-toxic. It's also safe for septic tanks. Still, even though it's gentle, the concentrated, alcohol-based formula removes trapped odors and stains — even from oil or grease. And, even better, this option also works for all washing machines.
Reviewers say: "I found this product by chance when I was looking through sites for natural products. I decided to give it a try and love it. I have challenges with my laundry with farm clothes that are very dirty and often with grease stains from heavy equipment. I use only cool water and this soap works."
5. The Best High-Efficiency Laundry Detergent
When it comes to high-efficiency washers (and therefore high-efficiency detergents), the less suds, the better. Boardwalk HURACAN40 is an industrial-strength concentrated powder solvent — and it's cost-efficient, too. This 40-pound tub will last you quite a while, especially considering you only need a few spoonfuls per load. Whether you're tackling food stains, mechanical grease, or dirt, buyers (especially those in larger households) say this is the way to go.
Reviewers say: "I'm a massage therapist and have had a hard time getting the oil and the funky old oil smell out of sheets. I've tried a lot of different things and am SO happy with this product!"
6. The Best Enzyme Laundry Detergent Booster
Add Nature's Miracle laundry booster to your existing detergent to break down the most stubborn stains. This bio-enzymatic formula uses phosphate-free enzymes, which permeate deep into the fabric to actually remove odors, grease, oil, urine, and blood. It also doesn't produce suds, so it's safe for HE washers.
Reviewers say: "Two and a half years ago I got grease stains on [a shirt I loved] helping Dad in the shop. It's been washed AND dried about a hundred times since then, though I no longer could wear the shirt out in public. Well, today I put on OxyClean and Nature's Miracle, then scrubbed it with a brush for a few seconds and tossed it in the wash [...] It looks brand new!"
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