Removing Oil Stains from Fabric

by Amy Gordon
(last updated August 18, 2017)

Oil and grease stains in fabric can cause ugly marks. Fortunately, they don't need to be very difficult to get out of your clothes. Oils respond well to most soaps, and can often be easily lifted if you catch them in time.

Oils can be lifted with most emulsifiers, like soap or detergent. First, try dabbing at the stain with some liquid laundry or dish detergent. Even bar soap or liquid hand soap will work to help lift the stain if you are not at home but need to treat the stain quickly to prevent it setting into the fabric. Apply the liquid and toss the garment into the washing machine, or if you are not near the machine, gently rub with the soap or detergent, and run water through the back of the stain. Add more soap, rub again, and rinse again.

Don't forget to check for the stain before putting the stained item into the dryer—the heat from the dryer will set the stain, making it more difficult to remove the oil. If you do accidentally set the stain, try spraying the stained area with WD 40, waiting a few minutes, and then rubbing in dish detergent before putting the garment back into the wash.

You could also try pre-treating the stain with lighter fluid. Spray the stain with lighter fluid, and then put it into the wash. Be careful not to have any open flames nearby.

Another pretreatment method is to use a bit of shampoo. Dab at the stain, rub the shampoo in a bit, and add more shampoo before running the shirt or pair of pants through the wash cycle.

There are a number of stain-removing sprays and sticks that you could use. Read the back of the package to see if they work on oil stains.

As a last-ditch method, try pouring some Coca Cola on the stain and washing the stained article of clothing in the washing machine in cold or cool water.

Another important thing to remember—don't put oil-soaked clothing into your washing machine. While your machine can probably handle clothes that have had a drop of oil or butter spilled on them, especially if the clothes have been rubbed with soap, rinsed, and pretreated, oil-soaked clothing can ruin your washing machine. Check your owner's manual for further warnings and advice. It's best to hand wash oil-stained clothes before putting them into the washing machine.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...

MORE FROM AMY

Clean and Care for Your Carpets

Instead of renting an expensive carpet-cleaning machine, try these simple and inexpensive methods to save your carpet. Corn ...

Discover More

Removing Teeth Stains

Teeth naturally yellow over time, but products exist to help lessen the effect. Make sure to brush and floss regularly. ...

Discover More

Planting the Christmas Poinsettia

Instead of throwing away your beautiful Christmas poinsettia, consider planting it in your yard. Make sure to tend the plant ...

Discover More

Remove Stubborn Stains Quickly Get everything looking clean again: Walls, floors, baseboards, counters, blinds, appliances, and more. Micro-scrubbers easily reach into surface grooves, lifting dirt away. This low-cost 8-pack is great for stubborn stains and touble areas. Check out Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 8-Pack today!

More Cleaning Tips

Removing Stains from Vinyl Tablecloths

While vinyl is a really durable, and easy to maintain material, that doesn't mean that you won't need to do some periodic ...

Discover More

Removing Rust Stains from Silk

Silk is a delicate material and difficult to safely rid of rust stains. It can, however be done if you are careful. If you ...

Discover More

Removing Magic Markers from Plaster

Whether you have children who really like to draw, or you got a little carried away with the magic marker, everyone can ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.