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Homekeeping · Laundry · This Is The Best Way To Get Oil Out Of Your Clothes
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This Is The Best Way To Get Oil Out Of Your Clothes

Oily stains can be tricky to remove—unless you have this simple and effective technique up your sleeve!

It often feels like getting a stain out of your clothes is either pretty simple, or next to impossible. People rarely need help with the simple stains, because treating them is often as easy as dabbing some detergent on the stain before tossing the garment in the wash. But when you’re dealing with those “next to impossible” stains, using the right technique can make all the difference!

Related: How to Get Blood Stains Out of Clothes (or Anything Else!)

Today I’ll be showing you how to remove one infamously impossible-to-remove stain: the oil stain. From a pizza stained shirt to jeans splattered with cooking oil stains, many of our cherished clothes have met their untimely demise due to oil stains. But no more!

Because I’m about to show you exactly how to get oil stains out of clothes for good! 🙂

A Note About Stain Removers

As you’ll see below, we’ll be using a combination of hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and baking soda to remove oil stains. (Worried about using hydrogen peroxide on your clothes? See the section titled “Will Hydrogen Peroxide Bleach My Clothes?” near the bottom of this post!)

While some claim that using WD-40 is an effective way to remove oil stains from clothes, I don’t recommend using this approach. Not only is WD-40 fully capable of leaving behind its own tough oily stains, it’s also highly flammable, meaning you definitely don’t want to apply it to something you’ll be putting in your dryer later!

Tools & Supplies

Here’s what you’ll need to get oil out of clothes:

How To Get Oil Out Of Clothes

1. Put Cardboard Behind The Clothing, Then Blot The Stain

The first thing you should do when you’re working with an oil stain is to place a piece of cardboard directly behind the stained area. The cardboard will absorb any oil that attempts to soak through leave grease stains on other areas of your clothes. (You can use whatever cardboard you happen have on hand for this, like an empty cereal box or the flap from an old moving box.)

Once the cardboard layer is in place, blot the oily area with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove any excess oil or grease. Blotting away the excess oil is an easy way to increase your chances of removing the stain completely. (Just make sure not to wipe or scrub at the stain yet, since that could spread the stain around!)

2. Apply Hydrogen Peroxide, Dish Soap, And Baking Soda To The Stain

Next, apply the stain remover products one at a time, starting with the hydrogen peroxide. Gently pour enough hydrogen peroxide onto the stain to saturate it completely.

Add a few drops of dish soap next—two to three drops should be plenty for a small stain!

Finally, sprinkle baking soda over the top of the hydrogen peroxide and dish soap.

3. Scrub The Stain And Wait

Grab your toothbrush or scrub brush and give the stain a good scrub. The baking soda, dish soap, and peroxide should form a paste-like mixture. (If the mixture is too wet or too dry, add a bit more baking soda or hydrogen peroxide respectively.)

When you’re finished scrubbing the stain, let the item sit for 30 minutes to an hour to give the ingredients time to dissolve and draw the oil stain out of the fabric.

4. Wash The Garment And Repeat If Necessary

Once the wait time is up, toss the item in your washing machine with your usual powder or liquid detergent and select a cold (not hot) water setting. (Hot water could set the stain, so make sure to avoid it!) If the oil still isn’t completely gone after it comes out of the wash, repeat Steps 2-4 again to remove the rest of the stain.

Since it may be difficult to tell if an oil stain is gone when a dark piece of clothing is still wet, you may want to air dry or line dry the item to check how the stain looks when the item is dry. But it’s very important that you do not put the item in your dryer until you’re completely satisfied that the stain is gone, as the heat from your dryer can set the stain and make it even harder to remove!

Will Hydrogen Peroxide Bleach My Clothes?

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most useful tools in any laundry arsenal! It’s particularly effective against organic stains, including grass stains, blood stains, and even red wine.

If you don’t use hydrogen peroxide very often, you can make sure yours is still effective by pouring some into a glass cup. If it fizzes, it’s good to go! (No fizz? Time for a fresh bottle!)

I’ve personally used hydrogen peroxide to remove oil stains on fabrics of every color of the rainbow with no issues! However, it’s important to know that hydrogen peroxide can bleach certain types of fabric, but it usually only occurs when the fabric isn’t colorfast.

Colorfastness is the ability of a fabric to maintain its original color without fading or bleeding. To find out if your garment is colorfast, check the label first. Instructions like “wash separately” and “wash with like colors” are often warning signs that the fabric may not be colorfast.

You can also perform a simple colorfastness test by rubbing a damp white cloth on an interior seam or hem. If any color comes off onto the cloth, the fabric is not colorfast. If the item you want to remove oil stains from isn’t colorfast, skip the hydrogen peroxide and treat the stains using just baking soda and dish soap instead.

Need More Help?

Need help getting rid of that mildew-y smell in your towels, or want to learn how to unshrink your clothes? You’ll find all my best laundry tips and tricks at this link! 🙂

Do you have any tips about how to get an oil stain out of clothes?

How to Get Oil Stains Out (Step by Step)

Jill Nystul
Today I’ll be showing you how to remove one infamously impossible-to-remove stain: the oil stain. From a pizza stained shirt to jeans splattered with cooking oil stains, many of our cherished clothes have met their untimely demise due to oil stains. But no more!
Prep Time 5 mins
Active Time 45 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Cost $10
Yield 1 clean shirt

Equipment

  • Clean cloth or paper towel
  • Cardboard
  • Old toothbrush or small scrub brush

Ingredients
  

  • 3 drops dawn dish soap
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp hydrogen peroxide

Instructions
 

  • The first thing you should do when you’re working with an oil stain is to place a piece of cardboard directly behind the stained area. The cardboard will absorb any oil that attempts to soak through leave grease stains on other areas of your clothes. Once the cardboard layer is in place, blot the oily area with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove any excess oil or grease. Blotting away the excess oil is an easy way to increase your chances of removing the stain completely.
  • Next, apply the stain remover products one at a time, starting with the hydrogen peroxide. Gently pour enough hydrogen peroxide onto the stain to saturate it completely.
  • Add a few drops of dish soap next—two to three drops should be plenty for a small stain!
  • Finally, sprinkle baking soda over the top of the hydrogen peroxide and dish soap.
  • Grab your toothbrush or scrub brush and give the stain a good scrub. The baking soda, dish soap, and peroxide should form a paste-like mixture. (If the mixture is too wet or too dry, add a bit more baking soda or hydrogen peroxide respectively.) When you’re finished scrubbing the stain, let the item sit for 30 minutes to an hour to give the ingredients time to dissolve and draw the oil stain out of the fabric.
  • Once the wait time is up, toss the item in your washing machine with your usual powder or liquid detergent and select a cold (not hot) water setting. (Hot water could set the stain, so make sure to avoid it!) If the oil still isn’t completely gone after it comes out of the wash, re-apply hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and baking soda, scrub with toothbrush, and wash again to remove the rest of the stain.

Notes

Will Hydrogen Peroxide Bleach My Clothes?
I’ve personally used hydrogen peroxide to remove oil stains on fabrics of every color of the rainbow with no issues! However, it’s important to know that hydrogen peroxide can bleach certain types of fabric, but it usually only occurs when the fabric isn’t colorfast.
Colorfastness is the ability of a fabric to maintain its original color without fading or bleeding. To find out if your garment is colorfast, check the label first. Instructions like “wash separately” and “wash with like colors” are often warning signs that the fabric may not be colorfast.
You can also perform a simple colorfastness test by rubbing a damp white cloth on an interior seam or hem. If any color comes off onto the cloth, the fabric is not colorfast. If the item you want to remove oil stains from isn’t colorfast, skip the hydrogen peroxide and treat the stains using just baking soda and dish soap instead.
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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

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