How to Remove Oil Stains From Clothes? [Home Remedy]

spilling oil on clothes

Spilling oil on your clothes is common but don’t worry, as it’s easy to remove oil stains from clothes. It may be due to butter splashing onto your clothes while having breakfast. Or a few drops of cooking oil getting sprinkled on them while cooking. You open your vehicle’s bonnet and notice the stains on your clothes, wondering when they fell in love with them. 

No matter what kind of oil stain you have on your clothes, we will help you. This article will help you remove all types of oil stains from clothes, whether cooking or automotive oil.

Whatever the reason, you must rid yourself of these oil stains as quickly as possible. The sooner, the better. If you wait too long, the oil will become more entangled with the fibers, making stain removal more difficult. However, removing the oil stains forever is no big deal. You can remove those oil stains with simple methods and save your clothes for a long time.

Are you specifically looking for how to remove olive oil stains? Then you must read: How to Get Olive Oil Out of Clothes.

Or are you looking to remove castor oil stains? You must read: How to get castor oil out of clothes?

Cleaning Overview

Working Time: 30-45 minutes

Total Time: 6 to 12 Hours

Skills Required: Beginner

Estimated Cost: USD 10-30

What Will You Need


  1. Paper towels
  2. Cornstarch / Talcum Powder
  3. Dry cleaning solvent
  4. Baking Soda
  5. Bleach (color-safe) – (for tough stains)
  6. Dish soap / Heavy duty laundry detergent


  1. Soft-bristled toothbrush (optional)
  2. Washing machine

Pre-Treatment before Removing Oil Stains?

care label on clothes

Check the washing instructions on the care label stitched to your cloth. You may effortlessly identify whether the fabric is washable or whether you can dry-clean it. It will help you strategize your process on the right path.

Before washing or dry-cleaning the clothes, use a paper towel to absorb most of the liquid. You can achieve the same effect by sprinkling cornstarch or talcum powder on the stain.

You can remove tiny stains using a dry cleaning solvent by treating the stained spot only. Once you notice the little stains, go for dry-cleaning of the cloth immediately.

How to Remove Oil Stains From Clothes?

remove oil stains from clothes

Here are the step-by-step instructions to remove oil stains from your clothes.

1. Blot the Stain

Blotting the oil away as much as possible from the stain is the first and foremost step. 

  • Blot the stain using a paper towel.
  • Avoid rubbing the stains, as it allows the oil components to go deeper into the fabric, making it difficult to remove them permanently.

2. Apply Dish Soap

  • Lay the fabric on a flat plane with a focus on the stain.
  • Pour a few drops of dish soap onto the stains.
  • Scrub the stained area softly using a toothbrush. It will help loosen up the grease or oil.
  • You can also rub the fabric manually with your hands to achieve the same result.

3. Use Baking Soda

The stain not being removed with the above method indicates its toughness. To remove that, you can use baking soda

  • Add baking soda to the dish soap.
  • Scrub the mix gently using a toothbrush.
  • Leave it for a while (approximately 1 hour) till the baking soda dries up completely.
  • You will notice the baking soda paste has covered the stain with itself.

4. Rinse in Warm Water

  • Rinse the fabric using hot water.
  • Keep the cloth in hot water for about an hour.

5. Air Dry

  • If you don’t see the stains now, wash the fabric in a washing machine using warm water.
  • Allow the fabric to dry on air.
  • Repeat all the above steps if the stains don’t go away.

Related: Minimum temperature for drying clothes outside

6. Soak in Bleach and Water (For Tough Stains)

Experts recommend using bleach only in exceptional situations due to its adverse effect. If you still notice stains after repeating the above steps, it’s time to use the bleach.

  • Mix color-safe bleach in warm water.
  • Dip your clothes in this warm water for about an hour.
  • Wash the clothes are per the instructions.
  • Let them dry naturally.

Related: How to remove bleach from clothes?

How to Remove Old Oil Stains From Clothes?

remove oil oil stains from clothes

Old oil stains go stubborn eventually, and removing them becomes tough! But not impossible! You can remove the old oil stains with extra labor clubbed with the correct materials.

Follow the steps given below to remove old oil stains from your clothes.

1. Work Only When the Cloth is Dry

As per laundry expert Patrick Richardson, wetting the fabric before working to remove the old oil stain is a bad idea. According to him, once the cloth is wet, it forms a covered layer of water around the oil. Technically, water and oil don’t mix. So there’s no way for you to reach the oil components to remove the stain.

2. Place Non-Absorbing Materials Behind the Stain

Ensure to place a non-absorbing material between your cloth layer. It prevents the transfer of oil to other parts of your cloth. There’s no use in buying a non-absorbing material. You may easily find something in your home, like laminated cardboard or something similar.

3. Blot the Stain

Absorb as much oil as you can. Ensure you blot in such a way as to prevent the oil from spreading to other parts of the fabric. You can use a cloth, napkin, paper towel, or tissue to blot the stain.

4. Apply Dish Soap

  • Pour a few drops of liquid dish soap onto the stain.
  • Allow it to soak for a few minutes.
  • Gently rub the spot with your fingers or a soft-bristled toothbrush or cloth. Ensure they are genuinely clean.

5. Rinse With Warm Water

  • After five minutes, rinse the stain with warm water.
  • Wash the fabric in hot water using your regular detergent. Add a color-safe bleach if needed.

6. Air or Line-Dry

Grease stains aren’t visible on wet garments. Therefore allow your stained clothes to dry completely. If the stains persist, repeat the washing process from the beginning. 

Avoid machine-drying the fabric. It may permanently set in the stain due to the high temperature used during the process.

If you’re wondering can vaseline cause oily stains on clothes? Then you must read: Does Vaseline Stain Clothes

Does WD-40 Remove Oil Stains From Clothes?

You can remove tough oil stains from clothes with the help of WD-40. Spray some WD-40 on a cotton swab and dab the cotton swab carefully on the stain.

According to Richardson, “Oily will remove oily.” If you use WD-40 to remove oil stains from clothes, then you’ll also need to take extra steps to remove WD-40 from clothes as it can leave residues on the cloth.

WD-40 isn’t eco-friendly as a stain-removal option. Therefore, we do not recommend using WD-40. Use oil-based soap instead.

  • Are oil stains permanent on clothes?

    Oil stains aren’t permanent on clothes if addressed immediately. However, removing them is difficult if left unattended for a long time.

  • Can vinegar remove oil stains from clothes?

    Yes, vinegar can remove oil stains from clothes. Dipping your oil-stained clothes in equal parts of vinegar and warm water will help to clear the oily stains. You may need to rub the oily spot gently to remove it.

  • Can baking soda remove oil stains?

    Yes, mixing baking soda with soft detergent makes an ideal solution to remove the stains. Baking soda will work its magic and make the stains disappear.

  • How long does an oil stain last?

    An oil stain can last forever if you do not act on it to remove it. Over time, the oil will go deep into the fabric of the clothes, making it difficult to remove.


Getting oil stains on clothes can be unavoidable. However, immediately acting on the issue is of paramount importance. Otherwise, once the oil set-in into the fabric of the clothes, you might have to put in extra effort to remove them.

The good news is that it’s simple to remove oil stains from clothes. And you can DIY that. With a few domestic ingredients, it’s easy to remove oil stains and help you use your clothes again.