How to Get Oil Stains Out of Clothes  

One of the most annoying stains on clothes has to be oil. No one wants oil stains on their clothes and getting rid of them is often challenging. 

The good news is oil stains are not permanent, and there are some tips to wipe them off your favorite cloth successfully. 

Whether you dropped your fork while out for dinner or splashed some oil while cooking, follow the quick tricks in this article to get rid of oil stains. 

How to Remove Oil Stains From Your Clothes 

One FAQ about oil stains is ‘can oil stains be removed?’ The simple answer is yes. Oil stains are one of the toughest stains, but with some scrubbing and some supplies, you can say goodbye to them. 

There are various kinds of oils that can stain your clothes —cooking oil, mustard, engine oil, and so on. Often, the kind of stain you’re dealing with will determine the removal method. 

Here are 10 hacks to help you get rid of all oil-based stains. Want to know the best part;

These simple methods require materials you can easily get from home or a convenience store. 

  1.   Act Quickly 

The best way to get rid of oil stains from a cloth is by taking quick action. Attend to the stains as quickly as possible to increase the chance of getting rid of them. With light fabrics like chiffon, you can easily rub some liquid soap on the affected area and run it under a tap to rinse the oil stain before it sets.

2. Remove Excess Oil

paper towel to blot out oil stains

Consider using a paper towel to blot out oil stains from your cloth as much as possible. This will make stain removal easier and prevent the oil from seeping into other areas of the fabric. But, be careful not to run the stained paper towel over the unstained part of your dress. You can easily handwash it afterward.

3. Liquid Dish Detergent 

Pillows and bed sheets often get stained by natural body oils or skincare products. If you are dealing with light oil stains on your bed sheets or pillowcases, you can easily fix it with a liquid dish detergent or shampoo. 

Apply the liquid dish detergent to the stained area and allow to sit for a while, then rinse. Make sure to apply enough liquid dish detergent to soak through the stain. 

Tip: Avoid any cleaning lotion that contains lotion as it can make the stain worse. 

4. Laundry Detergent 

Some strong laundry detergents will help break through difficult oil stains. Start by blotting excess oil from the clothes using a paper towel, then apply the detergent to the stained spot. Next, scrub the stain and wash in a machine once the oil starts disappearing. 

Tip: if you are using colored detergent, be sure to dilute it to prevent it from staining the clothes. 

5. Boiling Water

Another essential tip for removing oil stains from clothes is using hot water. Before going ahead with this method, it’s best to follow your clothes label as boiling water can damage certain fabrics. 

Soak the cloth in hot water for about 10 minutes then wash it with your hands or machine. Always use the highest water temperature safe for the type of fabric you are dealing with. 

6. Toss in The Washer

If you are dealing with fresh or light oil, consider using the washer to remove the stain right away. This standard technique is best done immediately when you get the stain. If this doesn’t work, consider another tactic. 

Tip: Try not to place an oil-stained fabric in a dryer if the stain isn’t gone because the heat will make the stain more difficult to remove later. 

7. Baby Powder

Baby Powder

Do you have some baby powder at home? You can try to use it to remove oil stains from your clothes. Blot out excess oil from the stained clothes and apply some baby powder to the affected area. Let it sit for 30 minutes, dust out the baby powder, and then wash as normal. 

8. Baking Soda

Is there anything baking soda can not do at home? Baking soda works for almost everything at home, including removing smells and oil stains. Just sprinkle baking soda over the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Next, use a brush to scrub the baking soda to lift out the stains.  Once you’ve done this, throw it in a washing machine, and if the stain is gone, dry it. If it isn’t, repeat the process. 

9. White Chalk

White Chalk

Another option for getting rid of oily stains is using white chalk. Like baking soda, white chalk pulls oil away from the fabric and absorbs it into itself. Simply rub the chalk over the oil stain and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Shake off the extra chalk particles and then wash them in a machine or by hand. 

10. Vinegar 

White vinegar can be beneficial in removing oil stains. Mix one part of vinegar with four parts of water, and soak the stained cloth in it. Then, toss the cloth in the washer; if the stain remains, repeat the process. 

11. WD-40 or Lighter Fluid

Charcoal Lighter Fluid
Charcoal Lighter Fluid

If you are dealing with old oil stains, you should consider using WD-40. Spray it over the stain and leave it for 5 to 10 minutes so it can pull out the oil. Then scrub it with a brush to get out the oil. Once you’re done, wash the clothing with detergent in warm water. 

The major con about using a WD-40 to remove stains is that it sometimes leaves its stain, so you have to get it out. For this reason, it’s best not to use it in delicate clothes. Instead, use it on sturdy fabrics like jeans and corduroys. 

12. Mechanic Soap

Mechanic's Soap

Mechanic soap is helpful for many things, including cleaning your skin and dispelling stains from clothes. To go with this method, place a towel under the stain, then apply the soap. Leave it for about 30 minutes before washing it in a washing machine. 

13. Hair Spray

You can also try using your hair spray to get rid of oil stains on your clothes. Spray the liquid over the stain and let it sit for about an hour. You can then wash the cloth by hand or machine afterward. 

14. Spot Remover

Another great hack for removing oil stains is using a spot remover. Apply the spot remover on the oil stain and let it sit for some minutes. Place the clothes in a bucket and pour boiling water over them. Also, make sure you pour the hot water from a high place to break up the oil stains faster.  

15. Nail Polish Remover

Like most spot removers, nail polish contains acetone, an excellent solvent for getting rid of oil stains. Nail polish remover can be very helpful when dealing with automobile oils. Pour the nail polish remover over the stain and wait for 10 minutes before rinsing it off. Then, wash in a machine. You can repeat the process until all the stains are gone. 

16. White Bread 

Another hack for removing oil stains from your clothes is by using white bread. This is especially useful if you are dealing with excess oil. Place a piece of white bread over the soiled surface to blot excess oil. Then you can use any of the hacks explained above to get rid of the stain. 

17. Corn Starch 

Corn Starch

Corn starch is very effective in removing engine oil and grease. All you need is to get a considerable amount of cornstarch over the stain and leave it for 15 minutes. Next, brush it off with a toothbrush and wash it in a machine with a cold setting. 

18. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel can help you get rid of grease from your clothes. Start by soaking the clothes in hot water and then scrubbing the stain with aloe vera gel. Then wash it with water and soap and air dry. 

19. For Non-Cooking Stains, Soak

If you are dealing with non-cooking stains like engine oil or oil-based paints, consider treating with baking soda and a liquid wash, then soak overnight in cold water and detergent. 

20. Get a Professional 

If the oil stain on your cloth still won’t leave, you can rely upon a dry cleaner to get rid of it. A professional dry cleaner is familiar with different fabrics and labels and will be able to deal with oil stains. 

Tip: if you are dealing with dry-clean-only clothes, it’s best to take them to a dry cleaner or follow the manufacturer’s washing directions. 

Why Are Oil Stains Hard To Remove? 

The primary reason oils are hard to remove from a cloth is because oil is a hydrophobic liquid. In simpler words, oil can’t dissolve in water. For this reason, if you throw a blouse with an oil stain in a washing machine without treating it first, the oil will repel the water, and the stain will still be there. 

How To Get Rid of Old Stains After Washing and Drying?

There are times when you may not notice you have an oil stain on your blouse until after washing and drying them. This is not exactly a great situation, but there is a solution. 

In this case, you can use both WD-40 and baking soda. Squirt the area with WD-40 and sprinkle baking soda over it. Using an old toothbrush, scrub the surface until the baking soda starts forming clumps. Next, add more baking soda and scrub it again and continue doing this until there are no clumps left. 

Then, use a dish soap over the stain and let it sit for about 20 minutes. After this process, wash with hot or warm water using a machine or by hand. 

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