Removing Vegetable Oil Stains from Felt

by Lecia DeBrine
(last updated February 17, 2014)

Felt is an extremely versatile fabric that can be found in clothing, accessories, and tables. Often times accidents happen and you can get a stain that you have no ides of the origin. Vegetable oil is used in many foods and can transfer to other surfaces easily and without you even knowing. Maybe your felt hat was set on a table that had some lingering oil you used to dip your bread in at lunch, or perhaps during your poker night last week one of the snacks spilled onto the table leaving a little oil spot, both of these stains can be removed by a few different methods.

  1. Dish Soap or Shampoo. Both products are specifically made to cut through oils and clean them from almost any surface. Get the area wet and apply a small amount of your chosen cleaner. With a toothbrush, nailbrush, or just your fingers gently scrub the area working the soap into the fabric. Blot out excess moisture and then rinse. A spray bottle filled with clean water on the "jet" or stream setting will get water into the fibers to rinse out the soap. Blot as you rinse to avoid unnecessary soaking of other areas. When the spot has been rinsed thoroughly blot one more time to extract as much water as will come out, then let the area dry.
  2. Baby Powder. The absorbent qualities of this powder make it perfect for cleaning oil spots. Using a generous amount, cover the stain with the baby powder and let it sit, after a while dust off the powder using a soft brush. The leftover powder stuck in the fibers can be washed out using soap or shampoo in the same manner as before.
  3. Absorbent Powders. These should be used when there is no way for you to actually wash the fabric or wet the area. For felts lighter in color you want to pour some cornmeal on the stain and for darker colors fuller's earth will work, let it set on the spot for a few minutes before brushing it off with a soft brush following the nap of the fabric. This may not remove the entire stain with just one application, repeat as many times as needed to completely absorb the oil.

All of these techniques can be used on either apparel of furniture containing felt, including your pool tables, card table or clothing. For the tables you may want to try the dry method first to protect the wood underneath the felt top, but if this does not work, do not be afraid to try the water methods. Done correctly these will not hurt your table, and will save you from costly repairs.

Author Bio

Lecia DeBrine

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