Ways & How

How to Remove Oil Stains from Clothes

How to Remove Oil Stains from Clothes

Oil stains on fabric can be among the toughest to remove. Something about the consistency of oil makes it stubborn enough to resist a lot of cleaning agents. Unless you are perfectly fine throwing out clothes every time they get oil on them, you should learn how to remove oil stains from clothes. Oil stains can come from a number of sources. Food spatters are most common. Sometimes oil stains can transfer from one piece of fabric to another, as when you mix in greasy potholders with the rest of your laundry. You could also inadvertently leave something in the pocket of a dirty pair of jeans, maybe a crayon or a tube of lip balm. Wherever the oil stain comes from, you are bound to find some useful tips in this guide. For some pointers on how to remove oil stains from your clothes, continue reading:

  1. When you have an oil stain emergency, you need to act fast. The longer you wait, the more the stain will set in. To remove grease spots from fabric, you need the following: some white paper towels (you need white ones because the dye used in colored ones can transfer), a dishwashing-liquid concentrate that’s good at grease-cutting (Dawn is generally a popular brand), an old toothbrush, some laundry detergent, cornstarch or baby powder, a plastic spoon, and a washing machine.


  2. Use the plastic spoon to scrape off as much of the stain as possible from the fabric. Work with small, light strokes to avoid pushing the oil deeper into the cloth.

  3. Use some white paper towels to blot the grease stain. You can actually use the oil-absorbing sheets that are typically employed to retouch makeup. If you have some disposable toilet cover sheets, these are also great at sopping up oil. Continue blotting until no more grease comes off.

  4. Liberally sprinkle the remaining stain with some corn starch or baby powder. Let it sit for about 15 minutes to absorb as much oil as it can. If your makeup stash includes a loose white HD finishing powder, the kind that is milled so fine it almost feels like a liquid to the touch, use that. As makeup enthusiasts know, it drinks up oil very effectively. If you are at a restaurant with no other option, try artificial powdered sweeteners.

  5. With a snap, shake the powder off your clothes until it is completely gone. Be very careful not to spread it onto other parts of the fabric.

  6. Squeeze a drop or two of the dishwashing liquid directly over the stain. Work the liquid in with your fingers.

  7. Use the old toothbrush to spot-treat the stained area. Continue scrubbing until the stain is mostly gone.

  8. Throw the piece of clothing into the washer, following the manufacturer’s directions for care. After washing, dry it flat or line dry it. Check whether the grease stain has been removed to your liking. If not, repeat the process.

  9. Remember not to throw the piece of clothing into the dryer until you are completely done with stain removal. The heat from the dryer will permanently set any remaining stain.

Use your judgment to decide how to remove oil stains from clothes. You won’t always have the same materials on hand, so make do with the closest alternative. For instance, use shampoo instead of dishwashing liquid, or scrub by hand when a toothbrush or washer is not available. Obviously, this method is not recommended for clothing that requires special care or delicate handling (e.g. 100% silk or pieces that are solely meant to be dry cleaned).


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