How to Get Vaseline Out of Clothes

Petroleum jelly products like vaseline are meant to soothe the skin – and heal it when necessary. But it inevitably finds its way onto our clothes. Thank heavens they don’t leave an obvious color, but how do you deal with the shadow stains Vaseline leaves behind? 

The answer lies in acting quickly and using the right cleaning products. If you don’t already know a single effective way to get Vaseline out of your clothes, then sit back and relax because we are about to reveal 10 ways to do just that. 

10 Tested Ways to Get Vaseline Out Of Clothes

If you have Vaseline on your garment, it’s imperative that the steps you take to remove it work on the first try. This is because the stain can set further into the fabric with every unsuccessful attempt. 

You can you household items like cornstarch, dishwashing soap, or even baby powder in a few easy steps (as we shall soon discuss) for delicate fabrics. Use commercial stain removers and other suggestions on this list for more stubborn stains. However, always test a small part of the fabric before the vaseline busting items on the stain. 

Without further ado, here are 10 of the best ways to remove vaseline stains from your clothes: 

1. Absorb Excess Vaseline With Cornstarch

Do you want an easy way to remove vaseline stains? If you have cornstarch in your pantry, then you’re right on track. Cornstarch is a very absorbent material that can be used to absorb excess vegetable oil, grease, and petroleum jelly from clothes. As long as the smear is still fresh, all you need is cornstarch and a few minutes. 

Spread the affected cloth out on a flat surface, then place a paper towel directly behind the stained area so that the petroleum jelly doesn’t go over to the other side of the garment.  Thereafter, sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch on the vaseline smear. Let it stand for 20 minutes, then dust down the garment before tossing it in the washing machine. 

2. Spread On With Baby Powder

Baby powder contains talc, an absorbent material that proves useful for removing excess vaseline from clothing. If you don’t have cornstarch or you can’t clean it immediately, then use a generous amount of baby powder using the same steps as with cornstarch above. If you have talcum powder, even better, just apply it in a similar manner.

This trick is also useful for getting vegetable oil stains out of clothes.

3. Use Dishwashing Soap

Dishwashing soap seems like a way to go. Well, it is. However, we suggest using a strong dish soap like Dawn Ultra dishwashing soap. The steps to take are outlined below: 

  1. Put enough dishwashing soap on the vaseline-stained spot to saturate it. 
  2. Gently work the spot into the fabric using your fingers. Even better, you could use a soft fabric brush to gently work the dishwashing soap into a lather.
  3. Rinse the spot using the hottest water temperature the fabric can tolerate.
  4. Once done, let the fabric air dry on the clothesline. 

4. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol (also isopropyl alcohol) is a brilliant way to get vaseline stains out of your cloth. Although we must point out that it requires more patience to use, it will be worth your while.  This is because petroleum jelly is, to an extent, soluble in most alcohol types. In general, many stain-lifting techniques make use of alcohol in one form or the other. 

With that said, follow the steps below to remove Vaseline stains using rubbing alcohol 

  1. Place the garment on a flat surface, then place a paper towel directly behind the stain.
  2. Moisten a clean ball of cotton buds with rubbing alcohol and dab at the vaseline stain. Try going from outside the stain until you reach the center. This is to avoid spreading the smear further. 
  3. When the fabric is thoroughly soaked, let it sit for 5 minutes. 
  4. Next, rinse the spot under running water. If you still see traces of Vaseline stains, wash the spot again using dishwashing soap. 

Warning: Some non-colorfast fabrics may bleed color when in contact with rubbing alcohol. Don’t forget to do a spot test first.

5. Vinegar & Baking Powder Combo

One of the safest and gentlest ways to get rid of stains is by applying vinegar. After treatment with vinegar, you may still see traces of vaseline stain on the spot you just cleaned, but a final wash in the washing machine should finish it off. The merit of vinegar lies in the fact that you can use it on virtually any type of fabric without hurting them. 

  1. Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a small container.
  2. Immerse the garment in the solution and allow at least 10 minutes for it to soak.
  3. After the wait, take the garment out and gently squeeze out any excess liquid, then lay it flat on a clean towel, stained side up.
  4. For more effect, a tablespoon of baking soda should be applied to the spot. Vinegar loosens the Vaseline stain; baking soda helps to take it out.
  5. Using a soft brush, rub the baking powder into the fabric.
  6. Rinse the clothing under running water to remove any remaining dirt.
  7. Load the garment into the washing machine for a thorough wash using the usual settings. This will help remove traces of all the cleaning agents used.  

6. Try Enzyme Detergents

Enzyme detergents have the unique advantage of breaking stains of organic origin that regular chemical detergents can’t. Petroleum jelly contains fat lipids, which the enzymes Amylase and lipase, found in many enzymatic detergents, can help to break down. Simply apply the detergent directly to the stained area, and work it into the fabric before tossing it in a washing machine.

You might also like to learn how to get food grease out of clothing.

7. Use a Mechanic’s Laundry Detergent

As the name implies, a mechanic’s laundry detergents are as tough as they come. Imagine how hard it is to get rid of blackened car engine oils and grease, but these specialized detergents make light work of getting the toughest greasy stains out of fabric – your vaseline-stained garment might benefit.

Before you proceed, test a small part of your garment to see if there are no negative effects. Once you’ve confirmed, pour a small amount of mechanic’s detergent directly into the vaseline stain, then allow it to act on the oil stain for 15 minutes. 

Next, load the fabric into the washing machine and pour a sufficient amount of the mechanic’s laundry detergent into the detergent compartment. Wash the garment using the normal machine settings. If you don’t know where to start looking, we recommend using Permatex 22340 Fast Orange Grease X Mechanic’s Laundry Detergent.

8. Iron the Spot

If you’ve left the vaseline to stand for too long, then the stain will become harder to remove. In that case, melting the Vaseline out of the garment is a good idea. 

To do this, plug in an electric iron and let it heat up a bit, then quickly make a few passes on the site if the vaseline stains. Don’t let the iron stay over the spot for too long or the jelly might sink deeper into the fabric. Immediately after that, load the garment into a washing machine for a thorough wash. 

9. Use a Stain Remover

Stain removers are uniquely formulated for the sole purpose of eliminating all manner of stains, including waxy/greasy stains. A good example is OxiClean MaxForce Stain remover. Spray the spots affected by the Vaseline until thoroughly saturated, then work the spot using your fingers. Subsequently, wait at least 15 minutes before tossing the garment into a washing machine. 

10. Use WD-40 

WD-40 is another specially formulated stain buster we thought you’d like to have. It works like magic for removing stubborn stains, however, you might want to do a spot test before applying it to the site of the stain. 

Before you apply WD-40, make sure to remove excess Vaseline using a blunt knife or any other object with a blunt edge. Next, apply WD-40 to the spot until the fabric is saturated. Allow the fabric to sit for 15 minutes after application, then proceed to rinse the spot under running water. If you still see traces of vaseline stains, simply repeat these steps until you’re happy.

How Do You Remove Set-In Grease Stains?

Set-in stains are harder to remove, especially if they’ve gone through the wash unsuccessfully before. If that’s the dilemma you’re in right now, try melting the Vaseline stain using a pressing iron as we described above, then follow up with any of the other methods for getting Vaseline stains out of clothing (except cornstarch or baby powder).

Leave a comment