Have you ever sat down to fold laundry fresh out of the dryer only to find set in oil stains or grease stains? I have solved the mystery of how to remove set in oil stains that are stubborn and won’t come out of your clothes.
Oil stains: the bane of my existence.
Aggravating, isn’t it?
I’ve been looking for alternative ways to clean around the house (and save money at the same time). While I don’t think I’m brave enough yet to use homemade laundry detergent, I found myself without a stain pre-treater or spot remover today after doing some laundry. I’ve read that baking soda is great at just about 1,000,000 different things.
I love my husband. Yesterday he managed to spill the entire contents of his coffee mug onto the floor, but didn’t drop either his cell phones (yes, two) or his coffee mug. I have also watched him be still with a drink in his hand and in a split second the drink is spilled everywhere. He defies the law of physics.
So in searching ways to remove oil stains, I remember I read somewhere that you can “revive” old oil by adding a little more oil. Makes sense when I think of my cast iron skillets looking a tad dull before I add oil or butter on them. There’s still a slight sheen of oil there even when bone dry after cleaning with soap (which you’re not supposed to do, I know).
Here’s what I did today that will remove even the oldest, most stubborn oil stains from clothes. I’ve only tried this on cotton so far, but I’ll let you know what other fabrics it will work on (because I can always trust on my husband to give me fresh material).
How to Remove Set In Oil Stains or Grease Stains
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Q-tips (optional)
- baking soda
- scrap of cardboard (optional)
- Dawn liquid soap (or any other liquid dish detergent on hand)
- a toothbrush
- your regular laundry routine after stain removal
I started off with my WD-40 lubricant spray. WD-40 might be a tad extreme, but since I had already WASHED and DRIED these oil stains on high heat, what did I have to lose? I placed my scrap of cardboard underneath the stains (between the front and back of the t-shirt) and sprayed each oil stain…
Note: if your stains are super tiny, try spraying some WD-40 in a shallow bowl and using a Qtip to dab it on to control how much WD-40 gets on your clothing.
…only to see that the oil spread while I gathered my other materials:
At this point I hoped my little project would work. Otherwise I’d be in bigger trouble than I started.
Bring in the baking soda. I poured a pile of baking soda on the oil stain. Make sure you add more than you think you’ll need!
I brought out the toothbrush (I didn’t have an old one so I used a new one) and spread the baking soda around and brushed it INTO the oil-stained area.
I didn’t really let it sit there. I continued brushing and brushing and brushing…until I ended up with chunks of soda all over. The baking soda absorbed all of the oil in the fabric.
I dusted off the baking soda into the sink. Look at the oil stain and the cardboard scrap. Boy was I glad I didn’t have to do this on the back of the t-shirt as well!
I wasn’t done. I poured more baking soda on the oil stains and, again, brushed the soda into the fabric. Look at those little lumps. I repeated this process once more until I had next to no lumps of baking soda.
Scrub, scrub, scrub, and then scrub some more!
I then had something that looked like this. Notice the fine powdery soda every where. This is what your soda should look like when you’ve taken out most of the oils.
I thought to myself, at this point, Dawn wouldn’t hurt this, right? I poured the detergent on there (as a pre-wash treatment) and used the toothbrush again.
This sat on my kitchen counter while I waited for the existing load to finish. I threw this in with other darks with my usual Tide and Downy. NO extra wash time. NO heavy wash cycle. NO extra rinse cycle.
YAY! Go ahead. Find the stains. I dare ya! Cost? $0 as I already had all these items around the house. Try it!
Also, look at my Dryer Efficiency post for a tutorial on how to remove a film from the lint catcher that can be making you spend a longer time (and more money) drying your clothes!
UPDATE: Even MORE ways to remove oil stains! (Methods submitted by my blog readers that have worked for them!).