How To Get Hair Grease Out of Pillowcases?

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You spend a lot of time with your head on your pillow, especially as science says that the average human in the 21st century spends 36 years lying in bed over the course of their lifespan. In that time, much of what is on your face, neck, shoulders and in your hair ends up on your pillowcase. Including oils, grease and styling products.

These sometimes stubborn stains are annoying, and maybe even a little gross. But how do you get hair grease out of pillowcases? This, and other related issues, are just what we are going to take a closer look at here.

Does Grease Hair Come Out of Pillowcases and Sheets?

As hair grease is a very broad term, we need to get a little more precise. You need some natural oils in your hair, otherwise it would look and feel like straw. This natural oil can usually be removed from your bedding, if you know the right laundry tricks, and we’ll discuss those in a moment. Other stuff, like hair product, can also usually be removed, but it may call for slightly different techniques. The good news however is that quick action, the right laundry techniques and a few helpful products can usually save your sheets, and your pillowcases.

How To Get Oily Hair Stains Out of Pillow Cases

Remember those laundry tricks we just mentioned? Here are three of the best of them that should, when you follow the steps correctly, get those oily hair stains – and other gunk – out of your pillowcases so that the next time you rest your weary head on them, they are clean, fresh and stain free.

Method One

This longer method is for those times when the stain(s) are so prominent that you worry they’ll never come out. It also works well for removing staining left behind by hair gels and pomades.

What You’ll Need

  • Household baking soda
  • A petroleum based stain stick, or, in a pinch, a dye free, color free, petroleum based lip balm stick.
  • A washing machine or laundry bowl for the sink
  • Laundry detergent

How It’s Done

Remove the oil stained pillowcase and lay it flat on a work surface, with the stains facing up.

Sprinkle baking soda over the stain(s) and allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes. This will absorb both a lot of the oil and any odors.

After the ‘sit time’ is over, shake off the baking soda (over a garbage can if possible to minimize mess.)

Apply the petroleum based product to the stain(s) directly and allow that to sit for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Launder the pillowcase as usual, but on its own. Once the pillowcase is dry, the stain should be gone.

Method Two

Have less time – or no baking soda on hand? Try this stain removal method, although it may not be as effective on very tough oil stains as our previous tip. It also works best for fresh stains.

What You’ll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Laundry detergent
  • Shampoo

How It’s Done.

Making use of dye free (lint free if possible) paper towels, blot at the stain(s) until as much of the oil as possible has been absorbed as possible.

Soak the whole pillowcase in cool, clean water for thirty minutes to an hour.

Remove the pillowcase from the water and then, after wringing it out, lay it on a flat surface.

Rub a little shampoo into the oil stain(s) directly.

Launder as usual.

Method Three

This method is effective on fresh grease stains, but it’s only for use on cotton or polyester bedding. Don’t make use of it on silk or satin pillowcases. If you have oil stains from your hair on those, try one of the other methods suggested here.

What You’ll Need

How It’s Done

After removing the pillowcase for your pillow, soak it in cool water for 10-15 minutes wring it out.

Rub a small amount of aloe vera gel into the stain(s) directly.

Launder as usual.

Bonus tip: WD40 is good for getting stubborn, fresh oil stains out of cotton and polyester fabrics too.

How Often Should You Wash Pillowcases and Sheets?

Do you wash your pillowcases and sheets often enough? According to some bedding experts, most people do not. Ideally, to not only help prolong their useful life but also to help ensure they are fresh and clean to sleep on you should launder your sheets and pillowcases once a week.

If you don’t have time for that, invest in two sets of high quality bed linens that can be swapped out, and washed every two weeks or so.

5 Ways to Protect Pillowcases and Bedsheets From Hair Grease

As we mentioned earlier, you need some oil in your hair to keep it healthy, so the transfer of some hair grease is inevitable. However, there are some things you can do to minimize the problem.

  • Brush as much of the product from your hair before you go to sleep as possible. You might also want to consider making use of less product if at all possible.
  • Consider wrapping your hair before bed. This has other benefits too, like locking in moisture and preventing tangles and bedhead.
  • If you’ve applied a leave-in treatment, but don’t want to wrap your hair, lay an old t-shirt on top of your pillowcase to protect it from the grease and oil.
  • Wash your pillowcase more often to prevent stain and product buildup.
  • Invest in higher quality pillowcases, as these tend to resist stains better. High thread count cotton is an excellent choice.

When Should You Replace Pillowcases and Bedsheets?

Nothing lasts forever, and that includes pillowcases and bedsheets. However, there are a number of factors that come into play when it comes to deciding when you should stop trying to launder your sheets and pillowcases and come to terms with the fact that it’s time to recycle them – there are all kinds of cool craft projects you can undertake using old sheets and pillowcases – and invest in something new.

Here’s a look at some of them.


Sometimes budget and higher end options can be surprisingly similar, but that usually applies to things like generic medications (which the FDA mandates be the same as the ‘real thing’) and white label grocery store foods. It rarely applies to pillowcases and sheets.

A high quality set of higher thread count Egyptian cotton bedsheets and pillowcases will, with the proper care, last between 7 and 12 years, while lower quality polyester or thin cotton won’t make it much past two years. The initial investment in higher quality bedding might make you wince a bit, but if you look at the long term ROI it’s actually very good.

Proper Care

Even the best quality bed linens won’t last as long as they should if they are not cared for properly. Try to get into the habit of washing your sheets and pillowcases at least every two weeks (every week is better for pillowcases as we mentioned earlier) and ensure that you follow the care directions on labels to the letter.

Rotate Between Sets

Yes, the investment in two sets of higher quality bedsheets and pillowcases will be higher at the outset, but if you have two sets on hand that you can swap out you’ll need to wash each set less frequently, they’ll get less use, and you could potentially set yourself up for up to two decades before you need to make the investment again.