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The Best Ways to Remove Oil Stains from Your Clothes

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Whenever you get grease or oil on your clothes, it can feel like the end of the world (or at least the end of the line for those garments!) Oil stains are notoriously difficult to get rid of because they are semi-solid or solid at room temperature, making them much more susceptible to adhering to your garment’s fabric. Additionally, because of their state at room temperature, you’ll need to use warm or hot water to battle this tough stain, which isn’t suitable for a lot of synthetic fabrics.

With oil stains, it can often feel like you’ll never be able to rid yourself of this stubborn type of stain on your favorite clothing.  But, there is good news – there are ways that you can treat oil stains and save your clothes, even if they’re set-in! Let’s dive into how you can remove oil stains from clothing in order to make your favorite shirt or pair of pants look as good as new.

How to Remove Oil Stains From Clothing

When trying to get rid of oil stains from shirts or any type of clothing, there are slightly different steps for tackling fresh stains compared to stains that have been allowed to set. We’ve broken down each stain removal process for you below.

What You’ll Need to Remove Oil Stains 

  • Baking Soda
  • Cornstarch (if you don’t have baking soda)
  • Dish Soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Cardboard
  • Cotton Bud
  • WD-40

How to Remove Fresh Oil Stains

  1. Remove as much excess oil as possible by blotting the stain with a cloth or napkin.
  2. Apply baking soda or cornstarch to the area until there’s a thick layer covering the stain.
  3. Let sit for at least thirty minutes to an hour to let the baking soda absorb the oil. 
  4. Scrub the area with a toothbrush until the majority of the baking soda is gone.
  5. Next, add a small amount of dish soap to the area and work it into the fabric with your fingers.
  6. Wash your garment like normal in the highest temperature water your garment will allow.
  7. If you still notice the stain after washing your garment, don’t put it in the dryer. Simply repeat the process and check the results then. If the stain is gone, feel free to dry your garment. 

How to Remove Set-in Oil Stains

  1. Put cardboard behind the stain to act as a buffer between the different layers of your garment.
  2. Apply the stain with a small amount of WD-40 with either the spray attachment or a cotton bud. The WD-40 will help to break down the set-in stain.
  3. Remove as much excess oil as possible by blotting the stain with a cloth or napkin.
  4. Apply baking soda or cornstarch to the area until there’s a thick layer covering the stain.
  5. Let sit for at least thirty minutes to an hour to let the baking soda absorb the oil. 
  6. Scrub the area with a toothbrush until the majority of the baking soda is gone.
  7. Next, add a small amount of dish soap to the area and work it into the fabric with your fingers.
  8. Wash your garment like normal in the highest temperature water your garment will allow.
  9. If you still notice the stain after washing your garment, don’t put it in the dryer. Simply repeat the process and check the results then. If the stain is gone, feel free to dry your garment. 

Can a Dry Cleaner Remove Oil Stains?

If you’d like to rely on the professionals to tackle your oil stains, dry cleaners are a great option for oil stains that are particularly difficult or stubborn to remove. At Mulberrys Garment Care, our teams of laundry experts in Minneapolis and San Francisco are standing by to handle the toughest stains on almost any type of clothing or garments! In addition to dry cleaning, our wash and fold service is perfect for all of your laundry needs.