How to Remove Oil Stains from Your Clothes

Sometimes, while cooking a delicacy or while savouring it, a random spill can leave behind oil stains on clothes. While oil stains are stubborn to remove, we will tell you an efficient way to get rid of it completely.

Updated Reading Time: 5 minutes

How to remove oil stains from clothes
Comfort Delicates Fabric Conditioner

It is super easy to get an oil stain on your clothes if you're even slightly ignorant of how and what you're eating or cooking. And big or small, the stain will become extremely difficult to remove if you don't move swiftly. But fret not, because in this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide as to how to remove oil stains from clothes.

Why Quick Action is Important?

As soon as you find the stain, try to remove as much as you can. If you are in at your workplace or in any other social situation, take a bunch of tissue papers or your handkerchief to blot it. This will lift as much of it as possible, preventing the oil from depositing deep into the fabric. However, if you didn’t notice the stain and now it has spread further, we will tell you how to remove it.

You will need:

  • Bucket
  • Tissue papers
  • Water
  • Salt
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda or cornstarch
  • Baby powder
  • Dishwash gel
Comfort Delicates

Method 1: For Coloured Clothes

  1. Step 1: Blot the Stain

    Before you do anything, blot the stain. This will eliminate the residue, which will make further cleaning process easy. You can use tissue papers or an old cotton cloth for this.

  2. Step 2: Check the Wash Care Label

    Before getting to the cleaning part, it is always good to check the wash care label on the garment. This helps in understanding the type of fabric and the right cleaning method. If the wash care label says ‘dry clean only’, without any further thought, we suggest you hand it out to a dry cleaning service. If the wash care label suggests hand-washing or machine-washing, you can wash it at home.

  3. Step 3: Lift the Stain

    When you know you can treat garment at home, you can start with the cleaning process. Start by liberally sprinkling baby powder over the stained part; cover it completely. Baby powder absorbs the stain. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes. Then brush it away using a tissue paper.

  4. Step 4: Pre-Treat the Stain

    Now, pour 3-4 drops of dishwash gel on the affected area. Gently rub it into the fabric using circular motions of your fingers. Allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes so that it soaks into the fabric. Then, gently scrub the stained part using an old toothbrush and hold it under the tap water.  

  5. Step 5: Soak the Garment

    Now it is time to soak the garment. This step ensures maximum removal of the oily deposit. Fill half a bucket with tepid water and add laundry detergent to it. Soak it for 20-25 minutes.

  6. Step 6: Wash the Garment

    After soaking, it is time to wash the garment. Use an effective laundry detergent for this. If you prefer to hand wash your clothes, you can use a detergent powder such as Surf Excel Easy Wash. It is easily available in the market. Whereas you prefer to wash your clothes in a washing machine, you can use Surf Excel Matic Liquid, which is specially formulated for washing machines and is easily available in the market. Have a look at the wash care label on your garment to determine correct temperature to wash it at. Before using any product, check the pack to understand the correct usage instructions.

  7. Step 7: Dry the Garment

    By now, the stain should be completely gone. Dry your garments in partial shade.

Method 2: For White Clothes

Ingredients to keep handy:

a) Tissue papers

b) Salt

c) White vinegar

d) Laundry detergent

e) Baking soda or cornstarch

f) Water

g) Bucket

  1. Step 1: Check the Wash Care Label

    Before you begin to treat the stain, remember to read the wash care label to understand appropriate cleaning instructions. Check to see the correct water temperature, wash method i.e., hand-wash or machine-wash and so on.

  2. Step 2: Blot the Stain

    Dampen the stain with water. Use a couple of tissue papers and blot the stain. This will remove the removable residue.

  3. Step 3: Apply Baking Soda or Cornstarch

    Liberally sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the affected area to form a thick layer. Wait for 30-40 minutes. You will see that the oil will get absorbed into baking soda. If the oil stain is not lifted up completely, repeat the step once again.

  4. Step 4: Apply Dishwashing Liquid

    Now, pour 4-5 drops of dishwashing liquid over baking soda. Using the circular motions of your fingers, gently scrub it on the stain. By now, most of the stain should be gone.

  5. Step 5: Soak the Garment

    Once the affected area is cleaned, soak the clothes in soapy water to ensure maximum cleansing. Take ½ bucket of lukewarm water and add 3-4 tsp. of laundry detergent to it. Soak your garment in it for 20-30 minutes.

  6. Step 6: Wash the Garment

    Wash your garment using your normal wash routine.

  7. Step 7: Dry the Garment

    Now, you can dry it out in the sun. Sun acts as a natural bleaching agent. If your garment is coloured, hang it on the clothesline in partial shade, away from the sun.

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The above methods work well for most of the fabric types including cotton, polyester, chiffon, viscose, rayon and so on. Ensure you select the right cleaning method basis the colour of your garment i.e., dark or white. However, if the stain is on a delicate material like silk, it is best to hand over the garment to professional dry cleaners for safe cleaning.

And there you have it! Enjoy your fresh and stain-free garment. When you find oil stains on your clothes the next time, you know how to make them disappear. You are welcome!

Frequently asked questions on oil stains

How soon should I clean oil stains?

The sooner you clean the oil stain, the easier it will be to remove. If you're at home, follow any of the instructions given above and clean the stain immediately after it has spilt on your clothes. Otherwise, clean it as soon as you get home.

Is it possible to remove old oil stains?

The longer an oil stain remains on the fabric, the harder it will be to remove. The stains will darken over time and remain permanently on your clothes if not cleaned. It’s best to clean an oil stain as soon as you spot it.

How to remove oil stains from thick fabrics like jeans?

While the above instructions may work for your regular clothes, jeans are made of a different fabric altogether. If your favourite pair of jeans are subject to oil stains, you must blot the spots with a paper towel, sprinkle some baking soda on them, and after some time, brush the areas with a liquid detergent using a toothbrush. Don’t forget to wash your jeans afterward.

What makes an oil stain worse?

Do not rub the oil stain; instead, blot it with a paper towel. Rubbing the stain will only make it spread to other parts of the fabric and also damage its material.

Originally published