How to remove stubborn oil

How To Remove Stubborn Oil Stains

Nothing is more annoying than eating your favourite meal or cooking dinner and ending up with a patch of oil on your shirt. Whether it be for cooking or to moisturise skin, oil is used almost every day in most people’s lives. When it lands on your clothing, the first way to solve it doesn’t have to be throwing away your clothing item or table cloth. The success in removing oil stains relies solely on the colour of your item, the material, the stain, and the way you clean it. There are a few various methods for removing oil from your clothes, one of the best ways is using baby powder to remove oil stains. Keep reading to learn how to remove stubborn oil from your fabrics.

You Will Need:

  • Paper towels or napkins
  • Cloths
  • Dish soap
  • A toothbrush
  • Enzyme-based detergent
  • Bleach (for white items)

1. Act Quickly

The first thing you should do as soon as you notice oil on your clothing is to act fast to dry the oil stain, as oil will sink deeper the more it dries. Use a napkin or paper towel to dab as much of the oil off the fabric as possible. You shouldn’t attempt to rinse the oil off with water as this may create a coating on the oil, preventing it from coming off the fabric.

2. Dab From Both Sides

To soak up excess oil, use a dry paper towel or napkin and press or dab the stain from both the inside and outside of the fabric. Do this to get rid of as much oil as possible until there is no residual oil left. Make sure to do this carefully, ensuring that oil doesn’t spread further to other parts of your clothing item and make a bigger mess.

3. Check The Care Label

Before washing your garment, it’s important to find out the hottest temperature at which it can be washed, safely. The hotter the oil, the easier it will be for the oil to come out, but hot water can also damage the fabric or shrink material if it is too hot. You can find the washing temperature information on the laundry label of the item. If you’re unsure how to read laundry labels, head over to our post for a meticulous guide. Common symbols for washing cold are usually between 18 and 29°C, warm washing at 40°C, and hot washing at no more than 48°C.

4. Pre-Treat The Stain

For this step, use grease-removing dish soap, like sunlight liquid. Other soaps that may be gentle on hands are made with moisturisers, essential oils, and other ingredients that could decrease their effectiveness for removing oil.

Squeeze a couple of drops of dish soap directly onto the stain and let it soak for a few seconds. Then use a cloth, a toothbrush, or your fingers to gently rub the soap into the fabric. Remember not to apply too much pressure as the oil may be close to penetrating deeper into your fabric. Let the soap soak into the stain for 5 more minutes.

5. Wash With Enzyme Based Liquid Detergent

Wash with an enzyme-based liquid detergent that’s specially made to remove tough stains. Wash the clothing item as instructed by the label, this will probably be in hot water, but remember to check the label to be 100% sure instead of accidentally shrinking your clothes. If the item is white and it is a bleach-safe material, you can also add bleach to the detergent. 

If the oil isn’t completely removed from the item, repeat steps 3 to 5 until the stain is gone. Lastly, dry your fabric using the recommended method on the label.

Remove Stubborn Oil With Baking Soda And Vinegar

The second method for removing stubborn oil uses baking soda and vinegar:

You Will Need

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • A Toothbrush or vacuum brush attachment
  • Distilled water
  • A Spray bottle
  • Cloths, napkins or paper towels

1. Remove Excess Oil

As soon as you notice the spilt oil, get rid of as much of it as possible by dabbing the oil stain with a dry cloth or paper towel. The aim is to remove excess oil and dry the stain as much as possible before moving on to the next step. Don’t rinse with water, as water may further prevent the oil from coming out of the item.

If you have a small stain, this step may just be enough to clean the fabric.

2. Sprinkle Baking Soda

After drying the excess oil, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on both sides of the stained area. The baking soda should be sprinkled until a few millimetres of it covers the entire stain. You can swap baking soda for cornstarch, it works just as well to absorb oil from the material. Leave the item to sit with the baking soda on it for 24 hours, this allows enough time for the baking soda to absorb the oil.

3. Brush Away Baking Soda

After 24 hours, the baking soda will appear clumpy. This is a sure sign of absorption taking place. Remove the baking soda by brushing it off with a toothbrush or a vacuum attachment. If the stubborn stain is still visible on your clothing item, repeat this step until the baking soda has soaked up the oil.

4. Make A Solution Of Vinegar And Water

When using vinegar to remove oil stains, adding water to it helps protect clothing from bleaching or fading. Vinegar also helps to deodorise and remove the smell that may still linger from the oil. 

Mix equal parts vinegar and water, and pour it into an empty spray bottle. Spray both sides of the stained item, leaving it to soak for 30 to 60 minutes.

5. Scrub The Stain

Once the garment has soaked in the vinegar and water mixture, check on the stain’s visibility. If the stain has been soaked up, grab a toothbrush and some dish soap to scrub the stain out. Scrub it gently when cleaning more delicate fabrics to prevent damage. When the stain looks like it’s gone, gently dab the material dry with a paper towel.

If the stain is still there, repeat steps 4 and 5 until it is gone.

We hope that these tried-and-tested methods help you to remove stubborn oil stains from your clothing, so they can still be worn for years to come. Whether from cooking, aromatherapy, or applying grease to a door handle, these steps should be first in line as a defence against stubborn stains. The best part is that these ingredients are cheap to buy, and you may already have everything you need on hand. Don’t let your clothes sit with an oil stain for too long or you may just have to throw away the item. Always make sure that the stain is completely gone before putting the clothing or other item into the washing machine or dryer as the heat of a dryer can make it much harder to remove oil stains.