How to remove oil stains from clothes without damaging them

There’s nothing worse than digging into our dinner and getting an oil or grease stain on our fresh outfit. It is therefore essential to act quickly by knowing how to remove oil stains from clothes without damaging them for good.

Whether it’s accidental oil drips while eating or forgetting to put on an apron while cooking up a storm, oil stains on clothes can feel like nightmares. Especially when we are enjoying parties with family and friends this season.

While our first instincts would be to frantically rub the oil stain with damp tissues, chances are this would make the stain worse. Similar to know how to remove red wine stainsRemoving oil stains from clothes can seem rather difficult.

However, it’s not as complicated as it looks and can be done quickly with a few simple items that you probably have in your kitchen cupboard. So if you have stubborn oil or grease stains, follow these tips to remove oil stains from clothes and save your outfits from ruin.

How to remove oil stains from clothes with dish soap

What you will need

Paper napkins

Baking soda

White vinegar

Dishwasher soap

Hot water

Old toothbrush or bristle brush

1. First of all, lay the garment on a flat surface, placing a piece of cardboard or an old towel under the stain. This will prevent it from touching other parts of the garment.

2. Following, lightly blot as much oil stain with a paper towel to aid in the cleaning process. Be careful not to rub the stain as this will spread it further into the fabric of the fabric.

White shirt with oil stains on the sleeve

White shirt with oil stains on the sleeve (Image credit: Shutterstock)

3. Next, apply a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the stain. Rub the dish soap into the fabric with an old toothbrush or rub the fabric with your hands to agitate it. This will help loosen oil or grease in clothing. Unless you mix it with detergent, water is the worst culprit when it comes to removing oil stains from clothes because grease doesn’t mix well with it.

4. Continue until the stain is gone. Then, put it in the washing machine with lukewarm water and let it air dry. Remember to always check the care label for the highest temperature of your garment.

Remove the stain with a toothbrush

Remove the stain with a toothbrush (Image credit: Shutterstock)

How to remove oil stains from clothes with baking soda and vinegar

1. First of all, sprinkle baking soda on the stain and let stand for about 30 minutes. If you have an old or stubborn stain, it is recommended to leave it overnight. Avoid piling on the baking soda, but make sure the stain is completely covered. This will allow the baking soda to absorb the oil.

2. Brush off excess powder and mix one part white vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle before spraying directly on the stain. Once it starts to foam and soak into the fabric, scrub the area with soap and water using an old toothbrush or bristle brush. Try to use light pressure when cleaning more delicate fabrics to protect them from any potential damage.

Spray a spot of oil

Spray a spot of oil (Image credit: Shutterstock)

3. When the stain seems to have disappeared, carefully blot the material with a dry cloth and allow to dry completely.

4. You can also machine wash the garment as you normally would, using the hottest water listed on the fabric label. Keep in mind that some cotton garments tend to shrink in hot water, so use your best judgment based on the type of garment that is stained.

Put the shirt in the washing machine

Put the shirt in the washing machine (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you are interested in what makes baking soda and vinegar so effective at cleaning, it is the chemical reaction that the two have when combined. However, if all of these methods fail to remove stubborn stains, you can also try OxiClean Max Force 4 In Power Laundry Stain Remover Spray ($13, Amazon) before washing the item at the highest temperature allowed by the care label.

Baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Elizabeth J. Harless