Greasepaint Stain Removal

Updated February 21, 2017

If you're a theatrical-type person who loves the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd, you know that applying greasepaint requires an experienced, practised hand. Even when you apply your stage make-up with the greatest of care, you're bound to have an occasional slip when the greasepaint ends up where you don't want it, usually on your collar. An oil-based make-up, greasepaint can usually be removed with a bit of elbow grease.

Soak the greasepaint with a commercial stain pretreatment product. An aerosol pretreatment product is most effective on grease stains.

Allow the pretreatment product to penetrate the stain for one to two minutes, then check to see if the stain is gone. Put several drops of a heavy-duty liquid washing powder on the spot if the greasepaint stain is still visible after the pretreatment. Rub the liquid washing powder into the stain, then rinse the garment in hot water.

Wash the garment as you normally would. If you can still see the greasepaint stain, add an all-fabric, colour-safe bleach to the wash water, as directed on the package label.

Dry the garment if the stain is gone. If the stain still hasn't been removed, repeat any of the treatments. Don't dry the garment is the stain isn't gone, because the heat will make the greasepaint nearly impossible to remove.


Read the tag on your garment before removing the greasepaint stain. Some fabrics have special laundry instructions and should be washed in cool water or air dried.


Take your garment to a professional if the garment care tag indicates that the garment should be dry cleaned.

Things You'll Need

  • Commercial stain pretreatment product
  • Heavy duty washing powder
  • All-fabric, colour-safe bleach
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About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.