How to Get Oil Stains Out of Clothes

Oil stains on clothes may look awful, but don't worry they're easier to remove than you think. Learn how to get oil stains out of clothes the best way.

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Cooking oil stains on clothing happen all the time, whether you are frying bacon or eating pasta. Fortunately, oil stains on clothes are simple to remove.

How to get an oil stain out of a shirt

When you drop something oily or greasy on your clothing, the sooner you get it out, the better. Don’t immediately throw your clothes in the washing machine. Instead, do some stain pretreating to make sure the stain comes out.

Watch this video tutorial for how to remove oil stains from clothes:

Project step-by-step (7)

Step 1

Tools and materials for how to get an oil stain out of a shirt

materials to get oil stains out of clothesFamily Handyman

These are the tools and materials you’ll need to get the job done right:

Step 2

Blot the Stain

blot oil stainFamily Handyman

Before pretreating the stain on your clothes, read the care instructions. Some products may not work with the fabric of your clothing. Start by blotting any excess oil with a paper towel or clean cloth. Make sure you blot the stain rather than rub because rubbing can set the stain in the fabric.

Step 3

Cover Stain with Baking Soda

baking soda cover stainFamily Handyman

Then, cover the stain with baking soda or cornstarch. You’ll want a thick layer of baking soda to cover the entire stain and let sit for about a half-hour to an hour.

Step 4

Scrub the Baking Soda

baking soda to absorb oilFamily Handyman

Next, scrub the baking soda spot with a toothbrush. The baking soda will start to clump, this is because it’s absorbing the oil. The baking soda may even take on the color of the cooking oil.

If you have a particularly tough stain, you may have to repeat this baking soda step. Simply add more baking soda, wait for another 30 to 60 minutes, then scrub it out.

Step 5

Cover Stain with Dish Soap

cover stain with dish soapFamily Handyman

Cover the baking soda spot with a thin layer dish soap. Gently work the dish soap into the stain with your fingers. Add more dish soap to the spot if it absorbed into the fabric.

Step 6

Follow The Care Instructions

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Then throw the garment in the washing machine. Follow the instructions on the care tag. Pour a special stain-removing detergent into the washing machine to ensure the stain is removed. We like this one:  Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid, which has been specially designed to lift off even the toughest stains.

Repeat the baking soda and dish soap process until the stain is gone. Hot water helps remove oil stains, but not everything can be washed in hot water.

Step 7


oil stain free t-shirtFamily Handyman

Do not dry it until you are sure the stain is gone. The heat from the dryer will set the stain in so it is next to impossible to remove. If the stain is still there after washing it, try the steps above again to remove the stain. If you can’t get the stain out, let the garment air dry, and take it to a professional dry cleaner.

Admit it—your house could be cleaner. That’s where we come in.