How To Get Oil Stains Out Of Clothes In 5 Easy Steps

Are stubborn oil stains on your favorite clothes causing you distress? You’ve come to the right place to learn how to get oil stains out of clothes effectively.

When it comes to how to get oil stains out of clothes, the key is swift action. Whether it’s cooking oil, motor oil, or any other greasy substance, the sooner you tackle the stain, the better your chances of success.

In this comprehensive article on how to get oil stains out of clothes, we’ll cover various stain removal methods, address specific fabric considerations, provide essential tips and precautions, and even suggest some reliable stain-removing products.

How To Get Oil Stains Out Of Clothes

Pretend it’s the morning of a big event, and you’re getting dressed to impress. Just as you’re about to slip into your favorite outfit, disaster strikes—an oil stain appears out of nowhere. Don’t fret! We’ve got your back with a quick and easy guide on how to get oil stains out of clothes.

From pantry staples to clever hacks, we’ll show you the secrets to rescue your garments and ensure you step out confidently, stain-free. Say goodbye to wardrobe woes and hello to a hassle-free solution! Here are the most effective ways to get stain out of your clothes:

How To Get Oil Stains Out Of Clothes

1. Dishwashing Liquid or Laundry Detergent


Place an old towel or cardboard under the stain to prevent it from reaching the other side. Use a paper towel to lightly bloat out some of the oil. Do not rub the stain.

Apply a small amount of liquid dishwashing detergent or laundry detergent directly to the oil stain. Gently rub the fabric together or use a soft brush to work the detergent into the stain. Do this until the stain is gone. Rinse with water or run it in a washing machine and allow to air dry.


Detergents are effective at breaking down oil and grease. They help to lift the oil stain from the fabric. Allow the detergent to sit for 5-10 minutes before washing as usual.

2. Baking Soda or Cornstarch


Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch generously onto the oil stain. Allow it to sit for 30-60 minutes to absorb the oil. Gently scrape off the excess with a dull knife or credit card.

If the stain is stubborn, mix water and white vinegar in equal parts and spray it on the stain. Once it is foaming and sinks in the cloth, use a bristle brush or an old toothbrush to scrub the area with water and soap. Be gentle to avoid damaging the fabrics.


Baking soda and cornstarch are absorbent powders that can soak up oil from the fabric. This method is particularly useful for fresh stains.

3. WD-40 or Rubbing Alcohol


Spray a small amount of WD-40 or apply rubbing alcohol to the oil stain. Place a cardboard in between the clothe before applying the WD-40 0r rubbing alcohol to prevent it from spreading to the other side. Gently blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to lift the oil. Wash the garment as usual.


WD-40 and rubbing alcohol can help dissolve and break down oil stains. Ensure you rinse thoroughly with water before washing.

4. White Vinegar


Use a paper towel to remove excess oil. Since white vinegar is acidic, mix equal parts water and vinegar. Spray the mixture onto the oil stain. Wait for 30-60 minutes. Gently rub the fabric together or use a soft brush. Wash the garment as usual.


White vinegar acts as a degreaser and can help remove oil stains. It’s particularly effective for removing cooking oil stains.

5. Baby Powder or Chalk


Cover the oil stain with baby powder or crush white chalk into a powder and apply it to the stain. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb the oil, then brush or shake off the excess.


Both baby powder and chalk are absorbent materials that can help lift oil from the fabric. This method is useful for fresh stains and may need to be repeated for older or set-in stains.

6. Salt


Quickly blot the fresh oil stain with a paper towel to remove excess oil. Cover the remaining stain with a generous amount of salt and gently rub it in. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with cold water and launder as usual. For more efficiency, add dish soap to the salt.


Salt helps absorb oil and can be especially effective for fresh stains. It’s a quick and simple method that can prevent the oil from setting.

7. Dish Soap and Hydrogen Peroxide


Add a few drops of dish soap with hydrogen peroxide spray on the stain. Let these sit for 5-10 minutes, and then launder the garment as usual.


Hydrogen peroxide can break down and lift oil stains, while dish soap helps to emulsify the oil, making it easier to remove. This combination can be effective for older or stubborn stains.

8. Lemon Juice


Squeeze fresh lemon juice directly onto the oil stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the garment in cold water. For more effectiveness, add baking soda and dish soap. Use a bristle brush to scrub gently and then rinse with cold water.


Lemon juice is a natural degreaser and can help break down oil stains. It’s a gentle and eco-friendly option for stain removal.

9. Talcum Powder and Dish Soap


Mix talcum powder with a few drops of dish soap to create a thick paste. Apply the paste to the oil stain and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Brush off the dried paste and launder the garment as usual.


This combination of talcum powder and dish soap is effective for tackling older or set-in oil stains. It allows the soap to penetrate the fabric for an extended period, increasing its effectiveness.

10. Commercial Stain Removers


Purchase a commercial stain remover designed specifically for oil or grease stains. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, typically by applying the product to the stain, allowing it to sit for a specified time, and then laundering the garment.


Commercial stain removers often contain specialized enzymes and chemicals designed to target and remove oil stains. They can be a convenient and reliable option for difficult stains.

When using any of these methods, remember to check the care label on your garment, perform a spot test, and follow safety precautions if necessary. The effectiveness of these methods can vary depending on the type of fabric and the age of the stain, so be patient and persistent in your stain removal efforts.

How To Prevent Oil Stains From Happening In The First Place

Preventing oil stains from happening in the first place can save you time and effort. Here are some tips to help you avoid oil stains on your clothes:

1. Wear Aprons or Protective Clothing

When cooking or working with oily substances, wear an apron or protective clothing to shield your clothes from potential splatters and spills.

2. Be Cautious While Eating

When dining, especially with oily or greasy foods, be mindful of your movements to prevent accidental spills. Use napkins to catch any drips or stains.

3. Store Oily Items Properly

Ensure that containers of oils, sauces, and other potentially staining substances are tightly sealed to prevent leaks and spills in your kitchen or pantry.

4. Cook At A Safe Distance

When frying or cooking with oil, maintain a safe distance to minimize the chances of hot oil splattering onto your clothes.

5. Handle Motor Oil and Lubricants Carefully

When working with motor oil or lubricants, use gloves and take precautions to avoid contact with your clothing. Use a designated work outfit if possible.

6. Choose Stain-Resistant Fabrics

Opt for clothing made from stain-resistant fabrics or treated with stain-resistant coatings. These fabrics are less likely to absorb and retain oil stains.

7. Treat Stains Promptly

If you notice a spill or stain, address it immediately. The longer a stain sits, the more difficult it can be to remove.

8. Carry Stain-Removal Wipes

Keep stain-removal wipes or pens in your bag or car for quick action when accidents happen while you’re on the go.

9. Use Protective Covers for Car Seats and Furniture

To prevent oil stains on car seats or furniture, consider using protective covers or seat covers, especially if you frequently transport items prone to leaking or spilling.

10. Practice Safe Storage

Store clothing items properly to avoid oil stains during storage. Ensure garments are clean and free from oils before packing them away.

11. Inspect Appliances and Equipment

Regularly inspect kitchen appliances like ovens, stovetops, and microwaves for oil splatter or spills that could transfer to your clothes. Clean them promptly.

12. Educate Kids and Guests

Teach children and inform guests about the importance of being cautious with oily or greasy substances to prevent accidents.

By incorporating these preventive measures into your daily routine and lifestyle, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of oil stains on your clothing, ultimately saving you the hassle of stain removal.

How To Effectively Remove Stubborn Stains

Effectively removing stubborn stains requires patience and the right approach. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you tackle stubborn stains on various surfaces, including clothing, upholstery, and hard surfaces:

Step 1: Identify the Stain Type

Determine the type of stain you’re dealing with (e.g., oil, food, ink, red wine) as different stains may require specific treatments.

Step 2: Act Quickly

The sooner you address the stain, the better your chances of success. Blot (don’t rub) the stain gently with a clean cloth or paper towel to soak up excess liquid.

Step 3: Pre-Treat the Stain

Apply an appropriate pre-treatment method based on the stain type:

1. For Organic Stains (e.g., food, blood): Rinse the stain with cold water. Avoid hot water, as it can set protein-based stains. Apply a mixture of liquid detergent and water, gently rub the fabric, and let it sit for a few minutes.

2. For Oil-Based Stains: Apply a degreasing agent like dishwashing liquid or a commercial stain remover to the stain. Let it sit for 30 minutes.

3. For Ink Stains: Blot the stain with rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or acetone (nail polish remover) on a clean cloth. Gently dab the stain until the ink transfers to the cloth. Rinse with cold water.

4. For Red Wine Stains: Blot the stain with a paper towel to remove excess wine. Sprinkle salt or baking soda on the stain to absorb remaining wine, then rinse with cold water.

5. For Other Stains: Consult specific stain removal guides or products designed for the stain type.

Step 4: Wash or Rinse

For clothing and washable fabrics, launder the item according to the care label instructions, using the appropriate temperature settings. Check the stain after washing, and if it’s still visible, avoid heat (e.g., hot dryer) as heat can set the stain. Repeat the pre-treatment and washing process until the stain is gone.

Step 5: Blot and Dry

For upholstery and carpets, blot the treated area with a clean cloth to remove excess moisture. Allow it to air dry thoroughly. You may need to repeat the stain removal process if the stain persists.

Step 6: Evaluate and Repeat

After treating the stain, assess the results. If any traces remain, repeat the appropriate stain removal steps until the stain is completely gone.

Step 7: Consider Professional Help

If the stain remains stubborn and doesn’t respond to your efforts, consider seeking professional cleaning services, especially for valuable or delicate items.

Important Tips

  • Always perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area before using any stain-removing product to ensure it won’t damage or discolor the surface.
  • Avoid rubbing stains vigorously, as it can spread the stain and damage the material.
  • Follow the care label instructions for fabrics to avoid damaging them during the stain removal process.
  • Keep patience and persistence in mind, as some stubborn stains may require multiple attempts for complete removal.

The Importance Of Acting Quickly To Prevent The Stain From Setting

Acting quickly to address stains is paramount to successful stain removal. Here’s why it’s crucial to take immediate action when a stain occurs:

1. Preventing Set-In Stains

Many stains become more difficult to remove as they age. When you address a stain promptly, you have a better chance of completely eliminating it because the stain hasn’t had time to penetrate and bond with the fabric fibers.

Delaying treatment allows the stain to set in, making it stubborn and often impossible to remove entirely.

2. Preserving Fabric Quality

The longer a stain remains on fabric, the more it can damage the textile. Some stains can weaken fibers, lead to discoloration, or even cause irreversible damage. Quick action helps preserve the quality and longevity of your clothing and other fabrics.

3. Reducing Frustration and Effort

Immediate treatment typically requires less effort and fewer resources. You may be able to remove a fresh stain with simple household remedies, while an old, set-in stain may necessitate multiple treatments, specialized products, or even professional cleaning services, resulting in more time and expense.

4. Maintaining Appearance

Stains can be unsightly and embarrassing, impacting your confidence and appearance. Addressing stains promptly ensures that your clothing and fabrics look their best, allowing you to present yourself confidently in any situation.

5. Preventing Permanent Damage

Some substances, such as acids or certain dyes, can cause irreversible damage to fabrics if left untreated for too long. Quick action can mitigate the harm and increase the chances of successful stain removal.

6. Avoiding Secondary Stains

Delayed stain treatment can lead to secondary issues like mold or mildew growth, which can further damage the fabric and create additional challenges for stain removal.

Acting swiftly when a stain occurs is the key to effective stain removal. It not only increases your chances of success but also helps preserve the quality, appearance, and longevity of your clothing and textiles.

So, the next time you encounter a stain, remember that time is of the essence, and taking immediate action is your best defense against stubborn, set-in stains.

Recommendations For Delicate Fabrics To Prevent Damage During The Stain Removal Process

Delicate fabrics require special care when removing stains to prevent damage. Here are some recommendations to protect delicate fabrics during the stain removal process:

  1. Act Quickly: As with any fabric, it’s crucial to address the stain promptly. The longer a stain sits, the harder it can be to remove.
  2. Blot, Don’t Rub: Delicate fabrics, such as silk or lace, are more susceptible to damage from aggressive rubbing. Instead, gently blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to soak up excess oil. Avoid vigorous rubbing, which can weaken the fabric fibers.
  3. Test in an Unseen Area: Before attempting any stain removal method, perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area of the fabric to ensure that the treatment won’t cause color fading or damage.
  4. Use Mild Detergents: Choose a mild detergent specially formulated for delicate fabrics. Avoid harsh chemicals or bleach, which can weaken or discolor delicate materials.
  5. Hand Wash or Use Gentle Cycle: If the care label permits, hand wash the delicate fabric with cold water and the recommended detergent. Alternatively, use the gentle cycle on your washing machine.
  6. Lower Water Temperatures: Use cold water for washing delicate fabrics, as hot water can be harsh and may cause damage.
  7. Avoid Heat: Delicate fabrics are often sensitive to heat, so avoid using high heat when drying. Air-dry the garment by laying it flat on a clean towel or hanging it on a padded hanger to preserve its shape.
  8. Use Protective Barriers: When applying stain-removing agents, place a clean cloth, cardboard or paper towel beneath the stained area to prevent the stain from spreading to other parts of the fabric.
  9. Patience Is Key: Be patient and gentle throughout the stain removal process. Delicate fabrics may require multiple, gentle attempts to fully eliminate the stain.
  10. Consult a Professional: If you’re uncertain about how to handle a stain on a delicate fabric or if the stain persists after your efforts, consider seeking professional dry cleaning services. Experienced professionals have the knowledge and equipment to treat delicate fabrics safely.

Don’t forget that different delicate fabrics may have unique care requirements, so always refer to the care label for specific instructions. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and seek professional advice or assistance to avoid damaging valuable or cherished delicate garments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) On How To Get Oil Stains Out Of Clothes

What’s The Best Way To Remove Cooking Oil Stains From Clothing?

To remove cooking oil stains, first blot the excess oil, then apply a dishwashing detergent or a mixture of detergent and water to the stain. Gently rub the fabric and launder.

Can I Use Bleach To Remove Oil Stains From Colored Clothing?

Avoid using bleach on colored clothing, as it can cause color fading and damage delicate fabrics. Instead, opt for stain-removing methods that are safe for colored items.

How Can I Remove Old Oil Stains That Have Set In?

Old, set-in oil stains can be challenging to remove. Try pre-treating the stain with a stain remover or a mixture of detergent and water and allow it to soak before washing. It may take several attempts to fully eliminate the stain.

Can I Use Hot Water To Remove Oil Stains?

Hot water can set oil stains, making them more difficult to remove. It’s best to use cold water for rinsing and treating oil stains.

Are There Any Natural Remedies For Oil Stain Removal?

Yes, natural remedies like baking soda, cornstarch, vinegar, and lemon juice can be effective for removing oil stains. They are often safe for both the fabric and the environment.

Is It Possible To Remove Oil Stains From Delicate Fabrics Like Silk Or Lace?

Yes, it’s possible to remove oil stains from delicate fabrics, but it requires gentle treatment. Use mild detergents, avoid hot water, and follow specific care instructions for delicate fabrics.

What Should I Do If The Stain Doesn’t Come Out After Multiple Attempts?

If the stain persists despite multiple attempts, consider seeking professional dry cleaning services. They have the expertise and equipment to handle stubborn stains effectively.

Can I Prevent Oil Stains From Happening In The First Place?

Yes, you can prevent oil stains by wearing aprons, using protective clothing, and being cautious while eating or working with oily substances. Proper storage and proactive measures can also help avoid future stains.

Is It Essential To Check The Care Label Before Attempting Stain Removal?

Yes, checking the care label is crucial before attempting any stain removal method. It provides guidance on the appropriate cleaning methods and temperature settings for the fabric.

How Should I Store Clothing Items To Prevent Future Stains During Storage?

Ensure that clothing items are clean and free from oils before packing them away for storage. Stains left untreated can set over time. Store garments in a cool, dry place, and consider using protective covers or bags.

The Bottom Line On How To Get Oil Stains Out Of Clothes

That’s how to get oil stains out of clothes. Effectively removing stubborn stains is an art of both patience and technique. By promptly identifying the stain type and employing the right pre-treatment methods, you can conquer even the most tenacious blemishes.

Remember, persistence pays off when it comes to stain removal, and with the right approach, you can restore the pristine beauty of your cherished belongings. So, don’t let stubborn stains deter you—take action, and enjoy the satisfaction of a stain-free life.

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