Sludge-Oil-Grease-Grime Removal from Laundry?

Anyone have any ideas about how to get dirty grease sludge out of laundry once and for all?

The history: some pool toys got caught in the pool skimmer, which was ringed with a black slimy residue (which was probably a mixture of dirt/sunscreen/body oils, etc) and these toys were wiped clean with an old towel. My wife should have thrown the old towel out, but instead she put it in the laundry (by accident). In the washing machine, the black sludge ended up transferring to other towels, and we can’t get the spots out. Also, other loads of laundry were done and black sludge spots have appeared on shirts, socks, etc.

If you attack the black spots while the clothing is still wet, using Goo Gone and OxyClean you can make it look like a light gray spot but you cannot get it out completely. If the laundry has dried, it will not come out . . . but it will transfer to other items if washed again.

Either that, or there was more sludge still in the washing machine we thought. So, I took the machine apart (the agitator in the drum) and cleaned everything I could see, finding some sludge inside. We washed another load of towels (these without any previous spots) and got yet more when they came out. For the record, we’ve had the same thing happen with hot, warm or cold water in the washing machine, and the spots definitly appear out of the washer and not the dryer.

Linen pants, white shirts, favorite items are NOT being washed currently. I almost had to wear flannel boxers today since everything else is either spotted or dirty.

So, does anyone have any ideas about other cleaning products, laundry deteregents, etc. we can use to breakdown and clean out these oily sludge spots for good (both in the existing clothing and in the washing machine)? What do mechanics or farmers use? What does Greenpeace use on those birds after oil tanker spills?


ewww. Well, chlorinated solvents like perchloroethylene (aka tetrachloroethylene, -ethene) and trichloroethylene (-ethene)…in other words, dry-cleaning fluids…would do the trick. However, you would not want to run those through your washer because (1) they are highly volatile, (2) they are carcinogenic, and (3) they are probably illegal to dispose along with your regular household wastewater.

Maybe a professional drycleaner would take a load of greased-clothes from you. You may have to pull the washer apart to get it clean.

Not sure. Not much help here. Sorry.

I usually spray WD40 on grease spots from the inside out.
It will take more than you think because it will wick up the thread taking grease with it. It is also good for tar.

A guy I once worked for used starter fluid,ether. It worked ok but I find I feel better using wd40. Come to think of it I always thought he was mostly unconcious.

Ps my wife uses all those pretreat thing sold for washing.I’ve removed stains when she couldn’t.

I’ve used clean motor oil to loosen blackened used motoroil stains. You’re actually just diluting them. Clean motor oil works great to clean hands.
There are lots of products that will remove the clean oil.
Don’t like using motor oil, try cooking oil.

Wow posting three times in a row. A record for me.

Grease on clothing sometimes indicates a problem with the washing machine. Since you’ve had the drum out once remove it again and clean any grease from the spline that drives the drum. Regrease with clean white grease.Don’t forget the drum .