Written by Emily McBride (last updated December 30, 2019)
Massages are great. They're relaxing and stress relieving. However, having massage oil on your towels is not fun. Most dirty towels can get clean in your washing machine. Towels soiled with massage oil, however, need more thorough cleanings in order to dissolve the grease. It's not hard to clean the oil out of towels—it just takes a little bit more work.
The sooner you can wash your towels, the better. If you let the oil sit and soak into your towels for too long, it will be even harder to get it out. Also, don't mix stain removal products. Using different products can cause chemical reactions that can stain your towels.
The best way to the massage oil out of your towels is to pre-treat them before you wash them in the washing machine. Use a laundry fabric spot removers, such as Spray & Wash, Shout, Zout, Citra-Solv or OxiClean. To use these, follow the manufacturers' directions on the packaging. For Spray & Wash and Shout, you spray or squirt it directly on the oily areas. If you are using OxiClean, you will dilute it with water before you apply it to the oil. Some massage oil companies actually make massage oil removers. If you are having an especially difficult time getting rid of the oil, try one of these. If you are finding that one cleaner isn't working well for you, try another and experiment until you find one that does.
If the entire towel is covered in oil, rather than just a few spots, you will need to let the towel soak. Let it sit in warm water and a stronger detergent, like OxiClean.
After you have pre-treated the towels, go ahead and wash them in a hot water cycle on your washing machine. You can add some stronger detergent, like OxiClean, to your normal detergent. This will help the washing cycle be more powerful. If you have white towels, use some bleach as well.
Don't dry your towels in the dryer unless the oil is completely gone. Otherwise, the heat of the dryer can seal the oil into the towels. Instead of using the dryer, also consider hanging your towels in the sun. The sun naturally bleaches stains out of fabric.
Repeat the entire process over again if the oil is still present. It may take a few washings. Also, you may want to replace your towels somewhat regularly if you are consistently getting them oily. Cleaning the towels so thoroughly will make them wear down faster.
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