How to remove oil-based stains from clothing

Oil-based stains are hard to remove since they are often overlooked or dismissed as a simple fix. An issue with oil stains is that they leave behind a slightly darkened area that is not noticed immediately. This spot darkens over time unless it is dealt with quickly. Additionally, if the garment and oil stain dries up, the stain can become permanent. Read further to learn more about the techniques on how to remove oil-based stains from clothing.

What are the common oil-based stains?

  • Butter or margarine
  • Cooking oil 
  • Salad dressings and mayonnaise
  • Deodorant
  • Motor oil
  • Gasoline

What are the best stain removers?

The recommended choices when dealing with oil-based stains are liquid laundry detergent or a liquid dish soap which are effective grease fighters. 

You can also prepare a baking soda paste that you can apply to the stained area to absorb some of the oil. Another good option is a gel stain remover since it penetrates well into all fabric fibers. Lastly, a liquid stain remover also works well but make sure that it will not dry on the fabric. 

Steps on how to remove oil-based stains from clothing

If you accidentally spilled oil on your clothes, it should be dealt with immediately. Luckily, an oil-based stain can be removed with the help of several household products. Let us take a look at the steps on how to remove oil-based stains from clothing.

  • Blot as much oil from the fabric using paper towels. Avoid rubbing the fabric since this will allow the oil to spread.
  • Inspect the fabric care tag before treating the stain. If it is a “dry clean only” fabric, bring it to a dry cleaner right away. If the garment can be washed normally, do not forget to check the temperature requirements. 
  • Apply baby powder, talcum powder, baking soda or cornstarch on the stained area to further remove the oil from the fabric. Leave in place for 30 minutes so that it will absorb as much oil as possible. Utilize a spoon to scrape the oil and powder off the garment. 
  • Rinse the garment in hot water and apply a few drops of regular dish soap. Scrub the site with a toothbrush and rinse with hot water.
  • Wash the garment normally in a washer. For delicate fabrics, it is best to hand wash them along with a gentle detergent. 
  • Before putting the garment in the dryer, check if the stain is completely gone. There might be a need to air dry the garment to check it. Remember that if you put the garment in the dryer with lingering stains, the heat will set it into the fabric. 
  • For a stubborn stain, use hairspray or WD-40. If you allow the garment to air dry and notice a lingering stain or if the stain has set in, you can still remove it. Simply spritz hairspray or WD-40 on the stained area. Leave it in place for 20 minutes and wash normally. 
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Are oil stains permanent?

When the oil is spilled on your favorite shirt, it can be difficult to remove if allowed to set for some time. An oil stain will leave behind a greasy patch that is slightly darker than the surrounding fabric. An issue of concern when it comes to oil-based stains is when it is left longer, the darker it will become over time. If not cleaned right away, there is a possibility that it will set permanently. 

Can baking soda remove oil stains?

Oil stains can be undesirable once it sets on fabric. If left for some time, it can be difficult to remove. The chemical cleaners are often suggested products that can eliminate oil stains, but they are not always safe. Luckily, you can use baking soda as an effective agent to remove oil stains.

  • Position a piece of cardboard inside the garment, right behind the stain. This will prevent the stain from transferring to the back of the garment.
  • Carefully blot the stain with paper towels. Do not press hard or rub on the stain since it might set further into the fabric. 
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the stained area, making sure that it is completely covered.
  • Leave in place for up to an hour to allow the baking soda to work into the stain and absorb it.
  • Use a bucket or sink that is filled with water and add a few tablespoons of baking soda. Utilize hot water if possible. In case the garment cannot be laundered in hot water, use warm or lukewarm water. 
  • Remove the cardboard and soak the garment in water for up to 15 minutes. Swish the garment to dislodge any leftover baking soda and pull it out. 
  • Wash the garment as usual in a washer or by hand. 
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How do you get castor oil stains out of clothes?

Castor oil is utilized as an component in food products, cosmetics, and medications. Despite its benefits, castor oil can leave behind a greasy, persistent stain if it spills on fabric. Once the oil leaks into fragile clothing, it can stain permanently if not quickly treated. Pre-treatment before washing the garment is the ideal approach in preventing permanent staining. Most aerosol-based stain removers can eliminate castor oil when applied on the soiled fabric right after a spill occurs. Let us now take a look at the steps of getting rid of castor oil stains on clothes.

  • Use a pre-treatment aerosol stain remover on the stained area. Leave it to soak for a minute. 
  • Rub a heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent on the stained area.
  • Wash the garment based on its fabric care instructions. If it is a “dry clean only” fabric, bring it to a dry cleaner. 
  • Dab on dry cleaning solvent on the back part of the stained site if washing the garment did not completely remove the castor oil stain. Pour the solvent while positioning the garment over several layers of paper towels to capture any spills. 
  • Pour oxygen-based bleach or chlorine bleach. Wash the garment again. 

Final thoughts

Oil-based stains are hard to remove especially if allowed to set for some time. Once you discover this type of stain on your clothes, you must deal with it immediately. With the techniques on how to remove oil-based stains from clothing, you can keep your clothes clean and free from unsightly oil-based stains.

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