Tips & How To’s

How to Remove Old Oil Stains From Clothes

Tim Parry


how to remove old oil stains from clothes

The worst thing about stains, even old stains, is that they can dampen your mood and decrease your confidence so much even if no one else can see them. You'll find that instead of focussing on what you're doing, you're busy worrying that the stain isn't visible. This is why today we're talking about how to remove old oil stains from clothes.

We want you to approach life as your most confident self without worrying about stubborn stains.

The worst part about oil stains is that they can be really hard to remove. This is why removing oil stains is not a regular occurrence. As a result, it's easy for oil and grease stains to remain, become old, and leave a slightly darkened area.

Although this darkened area may not be noticeable at first, it can quickly become permanent. To avoid this, let's look at how to remove old oil stains from clothes and keep you shinning all day.

Why Are Oil Stains Difficult to Remove?

Because today we're looking at how to remove old oil stains from clothes, we want to first understand why these oil stains can be left unattended until they become old.

The fact is that oil stains aren't easy to remove or see. Therefore, you may assume that it has disappeared just because you can't see the difference between the stained area with the rest of the clothing.

Most oil stains leave a slightly darkened area on your clothing and can disappear for a while only to reappear. The best thing is to deal with the stains head-on using hot water, laundry detergent, and some dedication.

So, how do you remove fresh oil stains? First, arm yourself with some warm or hot water and dip the stained area into it. It's always better to use hot water to increase the chances of the oil stain removal process working.

Once you're done soaking, rub some liquid detergent onto the stained area. You can also use some liquid dish soap if you don't have liquid detergent. However, ensure that the stain is out before drying the cloth.

This will seriously prevent you from having to repeat the process to remove grease stains again. You can also add a suitable laundry stain remover for more effectiveness. Here's how to deal with olive oil stains.

So, now that you have a good idea of how to remove fresh stains let's talk about removing the set in oil stains that have been lounging on your clothes for some time.

How to Remove Old Oil Stains From Clothes

How to Remove Old Oil Stains From Clothes

What You Need:

  • Baking soda
  • WD-40
  • A scrap of cardboard
  • Sturdy brush
  • Liquid soap
  • Q-tips

The difference between fresh oil stains and set-in oil stains is that the latter requires a bit more effort to get out. So you'll first need to revive the oil stain so that you can get it out.

In this case, we're going to use WD-40 to revive the oil stain. Although it may seem like a very unconventional method and a tad extreme, it works; as you'll find out.

Let's look at the steps to follow to remove oil stains that have been there for a while.

  1. Revive Old Oil Stains

Place your scrap of cardboard underneath the areas that have the stains. For example, if you're dealing with a t-shirt, put the cardboard between the front and the back of the t-shirt. Why is this important?

Because you don't want the WD-40 to create a new stain by spreading through the back of the t-shirt. You only want it to land on the oil stains.

Because WD-40 can be sensitive to work with, you want to use as little as possible. This is where the Q-tips come in. Place a bit of WD-40 on a spoon or shallow bowl and dap with some Q-tips.

Apply the WD-4- to the oil stain or oil stains. Although you may feel that the WD-40 isn't covering the whole oil stain, don't add because it will spread. If the WD-40 comes with a sprayer attachment, the better.

  1. Sprinkle Baking Soda on Oil Stain

Once you're done applying the WD-40, it's time to lift the stain using baking soda. Unlike with the WD-40, you can use as much baking soda as you can here.

Be liberal and ensure that the oil stain is properly covered.

  1. Use the Brush

Whether you're using a soft brush or an old and clean toothbrush, you want to use it to spread the baking soda into the oil stain. This will allow the baking soda to absorb all the oil during this stain removal process.

You've already revived the oil with the WD-40, and the baking soda is here to absorb it. This is why brushing the baking soda is important. It allows it to penetrate into the fabric and pull the oil out.

Brush the baking soda until you see some lumpy chunks of baking soda. Dust off the excess soda into the sink and repeat the process.

  1. Pour More Baking Soda

Repeat the process to remove oil stains that may have been left. Pour more soda on the oil stains and brush it into the fabric. Once you see lumps of baking soda, you know that it's time to dust off the excess.

This time the lumps will be smaller than the first time. Repeat the process again until you don't have any lumps left. This is how you'll know that the oily stain has been effectively dealt with.

Depending on the size of your oil stain, you may have to repeat this process as many as four times. Set-in stains can be very hard to deal with, especially when they're many and have stayed for a while.

You'll also notice that the oil stain or grease stains have transferred to the cardboard. This is why cardboard is vital. The grease stains or oil stains would have transferred to the other side if it wasn't there.

  1. Pre-Treat the Oil Stain

Here's where the dish soap or liquid detergent comes in. First, you use dish soap or liquid soap to pre-treat the stain.

Pour the dish soap directly onto the stain and use the brush again to brush the dish soap or detergent to the stain. The soap on the stain remains for about 30 minutes to do its magic.

If you can, you can even let it sit overnight for extra effectiveness. This is especially advised if you have excess oil to deal with.

  1. Wash As Usual

Once you've dealt with the set-in grease stains using the steps above, it's time to wash and dry the cloth as usual.

You likely won't need to do a heavy wash cycle, a longer wash time, or an extra rinse cycle if you've followed the above steps to the letter.

One thing to note before drying is that you should check that the set-in stains have been properly dealt with. Although it's not going to be very easy to see the stains when the fabric is wet, you can check keenly.

If you see any spots or suspect that some excess oil remains, repeat the laundry detergent process. Add the detergent or liquid dish soap and use the brush to brush again.

Once that's done, you can return the cloth to the wash. Once you are cool and satisfied with the result, you can then dry the cloth.

You can repeat this easy-to-do process as much as possible until you're satisfied that you've got your clothes back to normal.

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Oil Stains

  1. Can baking soda effectively remove oil stains from clothes?

Yes, baking soda can come in handy when you're removing fresh oil stains from your clothes. Let's look at how to do it.

  1. Sprinkle baking soda on the grease stain
  2. Allow the baking soda to remain there for a while it's being absorbed into the fabric
  3. Use your soft brush to remove the excess baking soda from the clothes
  4. Once you're satisfied that the baking soda has done its job, wash your clothes in the usual way
  1. Can you use vinegar to remove oil stains?

Yes. You can use vinegar to remove oils stains from your clothes. Take a clean basin or bucket and put equal parts of vinegar and warm water. You can also use hot water but don't let it be too hot to ruin your clothes.

Soak your cloth in this mixture and then gently scrub the fabric against each other. As you remove oil stains, ensure that you remove as much of the oil as possible during this scrubbing process.

Once you're done, continue with your usual wash cycle with the detergent.

  1. Should you blot out an oil stain using a paper towel?

When dealing with fresh oil on your clothes from outdoor cookouts or other activities, you can first use a clean paper towel to take the excess oil out. This is before other things like warm water come in handy.

Using the paper towel will make it easier and more effective to get the stain out once you start the process of cleaning.

However, when using the paper towel, ensure that you don't rub, as this will make the oil soak deeper into the fabric. If this happens, it will be harder to remove the stains.

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Tim Parry

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