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How to Get Oil Stains Out of Clothes With Home Remedies

Jennifer L. Betts
Oil stain on white cloth

Not everyone knows how to remove oil stains from clothes. You might think it requires commercial cleaners or a trip to the trash bin. However, oil stains are pretty easy to clean with a bit of baking soda, chalk, and dish soap, even on your dry clean only items.

How To Remove Oil Stains From Clothes

Removing grease stains from clothes might seem like a never-ending chore. However, if you were at a family picnic and dropped some Italian dressing on your favorite shirt, there is no need to panic. Your awesome 20-year-old band t-shirt is not destined for the garbage. But to make removing oil stain magic happen, you need to grab the right tools.

  • Baking soda

  • Vinegar

  • White chalk

  • Dawn or other citrus-based dish soap

  • Toothbrush

  • White cloth

  • Scraper

  • Piece of cardboard

  • Water bottle

Many times, you are leaving these cleaners on the clothing for a few minutes or more. Therefore, putting a piece of cardboard between the stain and the back of your shirt is helpful.

How To Remove Oil Stains With Baking Soda

For oil removal on your clothing, baking soda is your first line of defense. Why? Because baking soda is great at pulling the stain up out of the fabric. So before trying any other methods, if you have baking soda on hand, reach for that first.

  1. Use a scraper like the dull end of a butter knife to remove as much of the excess oil as possible. Paper towels are also absorbent and can work too.

  2. Place a piece of cardboard under the clothing behind the stain.

  3. Sprinkle the entire stain with baking soda.

  4. Let the baking soda sit for as long as you can. Overnight is best.

  5. Shake off the baking soda.

  6. If any stain remains, either add more baking soda or mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a water bottle.

  7. Spray the stain with the vinegar mixture.

  8. Use a toothbrush to work it in.

  9. Blot with the cloth.

  10. Repeat as necessary until all the stain is gone.

baking soda and vinegar on table

Remove Set-In Oil Stains With Dawn

If the above removal method doesn't work, it's time to add a little Dawn to the mix. If you've ever thrown a greasy pan into your Dawn dishwater, you know it cuts through grease like a master. Therefore, after trying the above method, follow these steps.

  1. Add a drop or two of Dawn to the wetted area.

  2. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes.

  3. Use your fingers or a toothbrush to work it into the stain.

  4. Dampen a clean white cloth and blot up the stain.

  5. Allow to air dry and check for any remaining oil residue.

  6. Repeat as needed until the stain is completely gone.

Close-up of dishwashing liquid

How To Remove Grease Stains With Chalk

When you can't really take off your clothes right away or have a very small stain, then you might want to try chalk as a quick fix. Chalk is pretty easy to work with and soaks up oil stains quite nicely. Just remember to use white chalk. For this home remedy grease removal method, you'll:

  1. Rub the chalk all over the stain.

  2. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes or longer until the chalk absorbs all the stain.

  3. If it doesn't work after the first round, repeat.

  4. Launder the garment as usual.

Broken chalk

Removing Grease Stains on Dry Clean Only Clothing

If the laundry label on your clothing says dry clean only, then it is best to get it to the dry cleaners as soon as possible. However, if the stain is small, you can try to remove it yourself. Just remember when it comes to dry clean only goods, proceed with caution. If in doubt, just sent it to the cleaner and clearly point out the stain.

  1. Remove the oil by scraping it off the garment.

  2. Sprinkle baking soda on the stain and work it in with the toothbrush.

  3. Allow it to sit for 5-25 minutes for maximum oil absorbency.

  4. Brush off the baking soda.

  5. If the stain persists, wet a cloth and add a drop of Dawn to it.

  6. Work it into the stain.

  7. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.

  8. Dab it with water only.

  9. Allow to dry.

Tips for Cleaning Oil Stains With Home Remedies

When it comes to salvaging your favorite clothing from an oil spill, the most important tip is to act fast. The longer you allow the stain to set in, the harder it is to remove it in the long run. So, if you have something available like chalk or baking soda to soak that stain up, you're better positioned to remove it. Additionally, don't rinse an oil stain with water. Oil and water don't mix. Therefore, running the stain under the water isn't going to do you any good.

Learning How To Remove Oil Stains

Whether you drop mayonnaise or Italian on your shirt, you know how to remove it. Therefore, give these new skills a whirl in your laundry room routine.

How to Get Oil Stains Out of Clothes With Home Remedies