If you love to cook, you know that cooking oil stains on clothing are a common place occurrence. Fortunately, oil stains on clothes are easy to remove if you follow a few simple tips.
Removing cooking oil stains from clothes can sometimes be quite hard to do, and it can be especially hard if the clothing has been through the dryer.
I have to admit that I am a messy cook. Some days, it seems that more of my recipe ingredients end up on my clothing rather than in the mixing bowl. And one of the worst culprits is cooking oil.
Cooking and vegetable oils often leave a greasy residue that can play havoc with clothing. Many of the stains aren’t noticeable right away, but get darker over time.
Once the stain dries, it can set itself into the fabric. This doesn’t meant that all is lost, though. Read on to find out what you can do about cooking oil stains on clothes.
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How to remove cooking oil stains from clothes – 7 ways
Removing oil stains easily will depends a lot on how long the oil has been on the garment. However, even set-in stains can be sometimes removed with a bit of effort.
Once oil is splattered on to clothing, it soaks in quickly. If this is allowed to stay on the garment, you will end up with an unslightly discolored spot.
If the garment is white, it can ruin the look of it completely.
Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for removing cooking oil stains. I’ve included a few options to try in case one doesn’t work as well on your fabric type.
Two of the main things to keep in mind for any removal of cooking oil stains are hot water and fast timing. Use the hottest water that is safe for your fabric and do it as quickly as you possibly can.
The longer you allow the oil to sit on the fabric, the more likely it is to become set-in.
Using baking soda to remove cooking oil stains
There are chemical products that are sold to remove oil stains, but sometimes these are not always safe for your fabric or safe for the environment.
Fortunately, baking soda is a cheap and effective product that can be used to remove oil stains.
This technique can be used on its own, or in combination with some of the other ideas below. I’ve included a project card at the bottom so that you can print out this technique to save for later.
Locate your stain and place a piece of cardboard inside the garment, right behind the stain. Doing this prevents the stain from transferring to the back of the garment.
Blot the excess oil with a clean cloth or paper towel. Do this lightly so as not to set the cooking oil stain further into the garment.
Sprinkle baking soda over the stain, covering it completely. Let sit for about 30 minutes to give the baking soda time to absorb the oil stain.
Place the garment in a bucket of water (use hot water if possible) Stir in a few more tablespoons of baking soda and leave for another half hour. Wash as usual.
Cornstarch is another natural ingredient that works in the same way as baking soda. It is recommended for sweaters and other wool garments.
Use Dawn dishwashing detergent to remove oil stains
Dawn is not a popular dishwashing detergent without good reason. It really does cut oil and grease. It makes sense to use it as a remedy for cooking oil stains on clothing, too.
To treat the soiled clothing, apply a small amount of Dawn, about 1/2 teaspoon or so depending on the size of your stain. (too much can cause extra suds.)
Rub the stained area with your fingers and let the dishwashing detergent set into the greasy stain.
Toss the clothing with the oil stain into the washer along with other items and wash normally. Most cooking oil stains will come out with this process, especially if they are fresh stains.
The reason this works is because the grease cutting agents in Dawn will grab and hold onto the greasy oil stain until it is washed away in the rinse cycle of your washer.
Hair shampoo to remove cooking oil stains
We all know the benefit of using shampoo on greasy hair. Fortunately for home cooks, shampoo also does a good job of removing cooking oil stains from your clothes.
Blot any excess vegetable oil with paper towels or a very clean cloth. This is a good idea for any of the remedies, since it removes some of the oil right away.
Pressing on the cloth or paper towel will help to absorb some of the oil.
Add some shampoo to the stain. Use an old tooth brush or soft manicure brush to rub the shampoo into the stain on the clothing.
Let it sit for a few minutes and then toss the garment into the washer with the shampoo still on the stain. Wash according to the directions for your garment.
Baby powder and cooking oil stains
Cover the vegetable oil stain with a generous amount of baby powder. Leave the powder on the stain for a day.
Use a spoon to scrape the oil and powder off the garment. Then, wash as usual.
The powder absorbs the cooking oil and removes the stain.
Hot water and greasy oil stains
Remember the four words I mentioned above – hot water and fast timing? Here is where they come into play.
As soon as you notice the oil has stained the garment, rub some liquid detergent into the greasy stain and then wash it in the hottest water that is safe for your fabric.
If you act quickly, you will loosen the oil before it sets and the very hot water is the key.
Lestoil works to remove oil stains
Look in the laundry detergent aisle for Lestoil. This heavy-duty all purpose cleaner can be used full strength on difficult stains like grease, oil, blood, grass and coffee.
Apply the product to the stain and wash as usual for the garment.
Lestoil has even been known to remove oil stains that have been set in the dryer!
Note: Lestoil contains sodium tallate, which is a form of soap. After using it, be sure that it is washed off to make sure the item being treated doesn’t retain a soap residue that will attract a new stain.
Using WD-40 on cooking oil stains
The techniques above all will do a good job of removing fresh cooking oil stains, but getting rid of those that have been set in is a bit trickier.
One product that works well is WD-40. It is used in conjunction with some of the other products mentioned above for a more intensive method of removing the cooking oil stain.
Start by putting cardboard inside your garment behind the stain to keep it from transferring through to the other side of the clothing.
Spray some WD-40 on the stain. For small stains, spray the product into a small bowl and apply with a Q-tip. For larger stains, you can spray directly on the garment.
The WD-40 will help to break down the vegetable oil stain and make it easier to remove it.
Use a toothbrush to apply some baking soda into the stained area. A thick layer works best. Work the baking soda into the fabric with the toothbrush.
The baking soda will start to clump as it absorbs the oil. Repeat with more baking soda until no more clumping happens.
Pour on some dishwashing liquid and rub to get it into the fabric. Be sure there is a slick layer of soap.
Wash the garment in the washing machine according to garment directions. The WD-40, dish soap and baking soda will come off in the washer, along with the stain
A note on these methods of removing cooking oil stains.
No one method works for removing all types of cooking oil stains. Many factors come into play in stain removal: the fabric, the length of time that the oil stain is present, what type of oil it is, and whether the stain has become set in.
In the case of very stubborn vegetable oil stains, some of these techniques may need several applications if the oil stain is well set into the fabric.
Final note on cooking oil stains: For each of these techniques be sure that the last step is to inspect the garment before drying to make sure that no stains are still on the fabric.
Remember that dryer heat will set stains and make them much more difficult to remove!
Pin these tips for how to get cooking oil out of clothes
Would you like a reminder of these tips for how to remove oil stains from fabric? Just pin this image to one of your household tips boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
Admin note: this post for how to get cooking oil out of clothes first appeared on the blog in June of 2013. I have updated the post to add all new photos, a printable project card for for how to remove cooking oil from clothes with baking soda and a video for you to enjoy.
Now it is your turn! What have you used to remove oil stains from clothing? Please leave your tips and tricks in the comment section below.
- Piece of cardboard a bit larger than the size of your stain
- Paper towels or clean cloth
- Baking soda
- Hot water (if your garment will allow this)
- Laundry detergent
- Pail or bucket
- Washing machine
- Locate the stain and place a piece of cardboard inside the garment, right behind the stain. This prevents the stain from transferring to the back of the garment.
- Blot the excess oil with a clean cloth or paper towel.
- Use a light touch so as not to set the oil stain further into the garment.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the stain, covering it completely.
- Let sit for about 30 minutes to give the baking soda time to absorb the oil stain.
- Place the garment in a bucket of water (use hot water if possible) \Stir in a few more tablespoons of baking soda and leave for another half hour.
- Add detergent to your washer and wash the garment with like clothing as directed on your garment tag.
- Inspect the garment after washing to make sure that no stain remains.
- If necessary, repeat the process.
- Only dry in the dryer when you are sure that the stain is gone.
This method also works using cornstarch instead of baking soda, and is a recommended method for sweaters and other wool garments as well as normal fabric.