There’s nothing worse than eating a meal and discovering an oil or grease stain on our fresh outfit. When that happens, it’s vital to act quickly by knowing how to remove oil stains from clothes without ruining them for good.
Whether it’s the accidental oil drips from eating meals or forgetting to put an apron on while cooking up a storm, oil stains on clothes can seem like the stuff of nightmares. Especially when we’re enjoying parties with family and friends this season.
While our first instincts would be to frantically scrub the oil stain out with wet tissues, chances are, this would make the stain worse. Similar to knowing how to remove red wine stains, removing oil stains from clothes can seem rather challenging.
However, it’s not as tricky as it seems and can quickly be done with a few simple items that you probably have in your kitchen cupboard. So if you have stubborn oil or grease stains, follow these top tips on how to remove oil stains from clothes, and save your outfits from ruin.
If you're always washing, these 3 hacks will speed up laundry day and check out how to fold a shirt neatly in 3 steps without creases. Or if your carpets are looking worse for wear, here's how to clean carpets with or without a carpet cleaner.
How to remove oil stains from clothes using dish soap
Old toothbrush or bristle brush
1. First, lay the item of clothing down on a flat surface, placing a piece of cardboard or old towel under the stain. This will prevent it touching other areas of the garment.
2. Next, lightly blot out as much of the oil stain with a paper towel to help make the cleaning process easier. Be careful not to rub the stain as this will spread it further into the fabric of the cloth.
3. Next up, apply a few drops of dish soap onto the stain. Rub the dish soap into the fabric with an old toothbrush or rub the fabric together with your hands to agitate it. This will help to loosen the oil or grease in the clothing. Unless you mix it with a detergent, water is the worst culprit when it comes to removing oil stains from clothes, as grease doesn’t mix well with it.
4. Continue until the stain is all gone. Then, run it in the washing machine in warm water and let it air dry. Remember to always check the washing care label to find out the highest temperature of your garment.
How to remove oil stains from clothes using baking soda and vinegar
1. First, sprinkle baking soda onto the stain and let it sit for around 30 minutes. If you have an old or stubborn stain, it’s recommended to leave it overnight. Avoid piling on the baking soda but ensure the stain is covered completely. This will allow the baking soda to absorb the oil.
2. Brush off excess powder, and mix one part white vinegar to one part of water in a spray bottle before spraying directly onto the stain. Once this starts to foam and sink into the fabric, scrub the area with soap and water using an old toothbrush or bristle brush. Try to use gentle pressure while cleaning more delicate fabrics to protect them from any potential damage.
3. When the stain seems to be gone, carefully blot the material with a dry cloth and allow to completely dry.
4. You can also machine wash the garment as you normally would, using the hottest water the fabric label advises. Bear in mind, some cotton clothing is prone to shrinking in hot water, so use your best judgment depending on the type of clothing that's stained.
If you're interested in what makes baking soda and vinegar so good at cleaning, it's the chemical reaction that the two have when combined. However, if all those methods fail to remove stubborn stains, you can also try OxiClean Max Force 4 In Power Laundry Stain Remover Spray ($13, Amazon) before washing the item on the highest temperature the care label allows.
If you're looking for more cleaning advice and DIY, check out our guide on how to remove red wine stains, how to remove grass stains from your clothes, how to get paint out of a carpet, and how to grout tiles in 5 simple steps.