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If you’ve ever had oil splash onto your shirt while cooking you know how frustrating it can be. Getting oil stains out of clothing can be tricky because oftentimes you don’t realize they’re there until after they’ve been through the dryer. Keep reading to learn how to get oil stains out of clothes!
The good news is typically oil stains will come out of clothes even after they’ve been through the dryer. I have a few tips that should work a new stain or old oil stains.
If you struggle with stinky laundry, especially towels, make sure you check out my post about using baking soda and white vinegar to bring new life to old stinky laundry.
Before you begin, check the care label for the care instructions to ensure you’re using the right water temperature for your fabric. Delicate fabrics or fabrics with a lot of dye you’ll need to be careful with to not ruin them.
If your fabric is dry clean only, I would blot off any excess grease with a paper towel and then drop it off at the dry cleaner as soon as possible. Before dropping it off for dry cleaning make sure you mark where the spots are and show them to the cleaner so they’re aware of them.
How to Remove Oily Stains From Fabric
Let’s get right to it. Here is my step-by-step guide for removing pretty much any type of oil from fabric.
Prep the Fabric
The first thing you want to do is get as much oil off before you begin. We don’t want to press the oil into the fabric more so I like to use an old towel and gently wipe or blot off the oil. If your fabric is white or a light color make sure you use a white cloth so you don’t transfer any colors onto the fabric.
A great way to do this is to take your clothing with oil on it and place the stained area on a clean cloth. Then, from the backside using another cloth press the oil spot onto the clean cloth. Repeat these steps until the oil stops coming off on the clean cloth.
Rinse the Fabric
The next step is to rinse the oil off the fabric. Use the hottest water possible. If hot water shouldn’t be used you can use warm water or cold water. Hot water is best because it helps break down the grease.
I also recommend rinsing the fabric from the back. This prevents pushing the oil further into the fabric. Whenever possible it’s a good idea to do these steps as soon as possible.
Treat the Stain
Now that we’ve prepped the affected area we can treat the oil stain. I highly recommend Dawn Blue liquid dish soap. I recommend this soap because it is the best at breaking down oil and grease. It’s also gentle. It does such a great job at breaking down oil while being gentle that it’s used on wildlife that has been caught up in an oil spill.
I have tried a wide variety of dish detergent over the years including other versions of Dawn and none compare.
To treat the stain we’re going to start with just a small amount of dish soap. Drip a couple of drops of dish soap onto the oil stain and allow it to sit for a minute or two. If needed you can use an old toothbrush to spread the soap around but don’t rub it into the stain.
Rinse the Soap
After the soap has sat for a few minutes you have a couple of options. If you haven’t added too much dish soap you can simply throw the clothing into the washing machine and run it on a regular wash cycle.
If you’re afraid you’ve added too much soap run the warmest water you can over the soapy area and then throw it in the washer.
Wash the Fabric
We’re almost done! Wash the clothing on a normal machine wash with liquid laundry detergent (I find liquid detergent works best) for that fabric and then allow it to air dry. Whenever possible we want to prevent set-in oil stains. Running the oil-stained garment through the dryer before making sure the stain is out is going to make your job a little harder.
If the spot is still there repeat these simple steps until the stain is gone.
Frequently Asked Questions about Oil Stain Removal
How to Remove Set-in Stains?
Removing set-in oil stains can require a little more work but I’ve had great success following these same steps.
Obviously, the first two steps aren’t required for set-in stains but you may need to leave the Dawn dish soap on longer to help break down the oil. The best trick I’ve found for stubborn stains or old grease stains is to leave the Dawn dish soap on longer and get the fabric wet before adding the soap.
What About Delicate Fabrics?
If you’re worried about the fabric you’re removing the oil stains from do a spot test first. Find an area that won’t be seen if there is a discoloration and add the soap to that spot. Allow it to sit for a bit and then rinse it off under cool water. If, after drying, there is no discoloration you’re good to proceed.
What Type of Grease/Oil Does this Work On?
Using Dawn Blue dish soap works on pretty much any oil or grease. I’ve had it work on cooking oil stains like vegetable oils or an olive oil stain. It’s worked on motor oil stains, baby oil stains, salad dressing, even vaseline. I’ve had success with small stains and large stains just use enough Dawn to help break down the oil in that area.
I love when household items make day-to-day life easier. Since discovering how well Dawn blue dish soap works on removing pretty much any greasy stain I no longer fear oil stains.
In closing I do want to say the best way to remove even the toughest stains is to tackle them while they’re fresh. I’ve found the hardest thing to clean about grease stains is rarely the oil/grease itself, typically it’s other dust and stuff that clings to the grease.
I know it’s not always possible but it’s always a good option to act fast on fresh stains. The last thing you want to do is make life harder by letting that oil really set into the fabric.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. The next time you find grease or oil on your clothing you don’t have to worry. Now you know how to remove these stains the easy way!
If you have any questions about how to get oil stains out of clothes leave them in the comments and we’ll be happy to answer them for you!
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