How to Remove Old Oil Stains from Clothes: Home Remedies

An oil stain on your clothing can be a real pain to get out. While it’s true that even with a new stain there are several methods that might work, if you’re left trying to figure out how to remove old oil stains from clothes, you’re in luck. There’s still hope.

If you have an older oil stain that has set in and become dried and crusty, you will need to do a little extra work to get it removed. The most common type of oil stain you’ll encounter is from cooking oil.

Here are some tips on how to remove old oil stains from clothes:

Are Old Oil Stains Permanent?

Stains from old oil on clothes can be permanent if they’ve had time to sink into the fabric. Whether you’re eating pizza, cooking dinner, or using a new beauty product, oil stains are bound to pop up. 

And while most typical laundry stains can be washed and dried out of clothes without much effort, older oil stains can be more difficult to remove, especially without the right tools.

Can Old Oil Stains Be Removed?

Yes, they can but older oil stains can be more difficult to remove. Depending on how old the stain is, the oil may have soaked into the fabric’s fibers, making it harder to penetrate with a cleaner. But don’t give up: there’s still hope. 

Whether you spilled olive oil or motor oil, these tips can help you remove stains from fabric and get your garments looking their best again.

Can You Get Oil Stains Out of Clothes After Drying?

Yes, you can get oil stains out of clothes after drying them, but the longer you wait to remove the stain, the more difficult it will be. 

If you get an oil stain on a clothing item made from cotton or linen, you can use a solution of water, dish soap, and rubbing alcohol to remove it even after drying. 

If your clothing item is made from wool or silk, don’t use rubbing alcohol—that may damage the fabric. Instead, use a specialized cleaning product designed for removing oil stains from delicate fabrics.

How to Remove Old Oil Stains from Clothes: Home Remedies

No matter how hard you try, sometimes oil stains happen to your favorite clothes. If the stain is relatively new, removing it might be easier than you think. 

But if the oil has been there a while, it could take a little more elbow grease to get it out.

Here’s what you need to know about removing both old and new oil stains before they become permanent:

 Laundry Detergent and Baking Soda to Remove Old Oil Stains from Clothes

  1. Apply laundry detergent to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Dampen a rag or paper towel with water and dab at the stain until it is dampened through. 
  3. If you have an old toothbrush, scrub at the stain as well to work the detergent in deeper.
  4. Now, cover the stain with baking soda and let sit for 20 minutes. 
  5. Also, blot with a dry rag or paper towel to absorb any excess oil left behind by the detergent.
  6. Use your old toothbrush to scrub away any remaining detergent and baking soda residue from the stain. 
  7. If necessary, add more detergent or baking soda as needed, but do not add any more water after this point until after you have completed the process. 
  8. If needed, use an old rag or t-shirt to blot out any excess moisture that may have accumulated while scrubbing away residue from the previous steps.

Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a common household substance that can be used for a number of different purposes, ranging from medical applications to cleaning and even to fuel. 

  1. First, pour rubbing alcohol onto the stain. Make sure you saturate the stain entirely. 
  2. Let it sit for approximately five minutes.
  3. Then take a sponge or paper towel and gently rub the stain with the alcohol-soaked sponge or paper towel. Do not rub too hard—you don’t want to damage the fabric of your garment.
  4. Rinse with warm water. You should find that the oil has been removed from your garment.

How to Remove Old Oil Stains from Clothes with Baking Soda

  1. Blot the stain with a towel or paper towel to remove any excess oil. Be careful not to rub it, as this will cause the stain to spread.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda onto the stain and let it cover the stain completely. If you don’t have any baking soda, cornstarch works as well.
  3. Use a toothbrush to rub the baking soda into the stain, which will absorb some of the oil. You can also use an old towel for this step if you don’t have a toothbrush handy.
  4. Let the baking soda sit for 10 minutes, then put your affected fabric in the washing machine on cold with regular detergent. 
  5. If you have a front-loading washer, add 2 tablespoons of dish soap before running it on a normal cycle (this helps break down any remaining oil).

How to Remove Old Oil Stains from Clothes After Washing

If you’ve ever washed your clothes with a stain on them and watched the stain disappear, only to see it reappear after the article is completely dry, you know how frustrating it can be. The good news is, that the old oil stain can be removed. Here’s how:

Blot out the stain

The first thing to do is blot out any excess oil. If it’s dry, you can use a dry cleaning solvent or rubbing alcohol, but if the stain is fresh, just soak up the extra oil with paper towels or an old rag. Be careful not to rub the stain or push it further into the fabric; just dab at it until all of the extra oil has been absorbed.

Apply dish soap

Now that you’ve blotted away all of that excess oil, you’ll want to apply a generous amount of dish soap directly to the stain. This will help break down the bonds in the grease so that you can more easily remove it later on. 

Use a circular motion to work in the soap until no more bubbles appear. Try not to rub too hard or scrub too much during this process, as this can damage this delicate material.

Rub baking soda

Next, mix 1 part baking soda with 2 parts water to make a paste, then spread it onto the stain and let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing away with cold water once more. (If your article of clothing is washable and safe to put through the dry.

Wash and air dry

Rinse in hot water until all the dish soap and baking soda are removed and then soak in hot water for 30 minutes.

If you have a front-loading washing machine, run it through another cycle without adding any detergent or fabric softener. 

If there is still some remaining stain, repeat these steps until it disappears completely.

How to Remove Set in Motor Oil Stains from Clothes

Set-in motor oil stains can be tricky to remove, but luckily you don’t need a fancy detergent or a lot of expensive tools to get rid of them. You can do it yourself by following these few simple steps:

  1. Rub a liquid laundry detergent or degreaser into the stain. If you don’t have these products on hand, dishwashing liquid is also effective. 
  2. For larger stains, you might want to consider purchasing an enzymatic cleaner such as Biokleen Bac-Out Stain and Odor Remover (which is also great for pet stains).
  3. Let it sit for 3–5 minutes. Check the stain every once in a while to see if it has started to lighten. If not, massage the product further into the fabric.
  4. Wash separately with detergent in the hottest recommended water for that fabric, however, be careful not to wash fabrics that are heat sensitive (such as wool) in very hot water, as this may cause shrinkage or other damage.
  5. Check the stain after each cycle until completely gone, repeat if necessary (this could take several attempts).

How to Remove Cooking Oil Stains from Clothes

Whether you’re cooking or eating at home, it’s always a bummer when the food stains your clothes. Learning how to remove cooking oil stains from clothes can help prevent you from having to throw away your favorite shirt or pair of pants. Here are some tips to remove cooking oil stains:

1. Test the stain remover on an inconspicuous part of the garment first, such as the inside of a collar or hemline. If no discoloration occurs, proceed with treatment.

2. Put a small amount of detergent directly onto the stain and rub it in gently with a toothbrush or other soft-bristled brush.

3. Cover the soaked area with a piece of plastic wrap and let it sit for about 30 minutes before removing it.

4. Rinse out any soap residue and repeat steps 2 through four until there is no longer any discoloration visible on either side of the fabric where it was treated (this may take up to an hour).

5. Wash as normal—do not dry in a dryer until you’ve successfully removed all traces of the stain from your clothing item because heat can set those oils into place permanently!

How Do You Get Cooking Oil Stains Out of Clothes? (Video)

Does Wd 40 Remove Oil Stains from Clothes

Wd 40 is a degreaser. So, it will help to remove oil stains from clothes. 

  1. If the clothing item is made of cotton or linen, you can spray the stain directly with Wd 40 and let it sit for about 10 minutes. 
  2. Wash the clothing in warm water with laundry detergent. 
  3. Repeat as needed until the oil stain is removed. 
  4. If you have a silk garment, never spray it directly with Wd 40, but always test it in an inconspicuous area first. 
  5. If it seems safe, spray a towel with Wd 40 and use that to apply the product to the stain. 
  6. Allow the item to dry for about 30 minutes and then wash as directed above.
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