How To Remove Oil Stains from Clothes

You were enjoying the best slice of pizza you ever had, and boom, the day was ruined. The oil dripped onto your jeans. You were making tacos on the stovetop, and the grease splatter up onto your white sheet. Ugh! Dealing with oil and grease stains on clothes is a big headache. But it doesn’t have to be!

There are both store-bought solutions and home remedies that can help you remove grease stains from clothes. But it’s important to follow the process because sometimes we can make the situation way worse with the wrong cleaning ingredients. 

That’s why we are here to help lead the way! Let’s look at how we can take care of these oil stains with ease. 

How to Remove Grease Stains From Clothes

So, how do we get these pesky grease stains out? There are a number of ways. But here are some of the best tips and practices that you should incorporate. 

  • If possible, get the clothing off and lay it flat to start spot-treating. If you can’t take the clothing item off, you will want to try to spot treat while it’s on. Getting to the stain as soon as possible, so it doesn’t have the time to set in, is key. 
  • You should treat the clothing based on the material. Certain materials, like leather, corduroy, velvet, etc., will react differently to certain solutions. You may end up ruining the material if you don’t check with the label first. 
  • After spot treatment if the material is able to go into the washing machine, throw it in as soon as possible. This will give the stain the thorough washing it needs. 
  • Always blot stains. Do not rub or scrub the material. This will spread it around and set it in. 

We will recommend that you use home remedies to clean your oil and grease stains over store-bought solutions. This avoids any harmful chemicals or toxins that may end up ruining your clothes. Or worse, become a lung, eye, or skin irritant. Below you will find some useful brand options that work well in these situations.

Type of Cleaner
Where To Buy
Carbona Laundry Stain Scrubber
Shout Advanced Stain Remover
$3.00 -$5.00
Most grocery stores and pharmacies
OxiClean Max Stain Remover
Most grocery stores and pharmacies

Throughout this article, we will mention the best solution for specific clothing materials, so you know what to use and when. 

    How To Remove Oil Stains from Clothes

      What Home Remedies Remove Oil Stains from Clothing?

      There are a few great home remedies that work very well. If you are wondering how to remove cooking oil stains from clothes these methods will do the trick. These ingredients also will be a for-sure way to keep your lungs safe from toxins.

      How to Use Baking Soda to Remove Oil Stains

      Baking soda is great for fresh stains. The newer, the better in this case. This solution also works best for wool or cotton materials 

      What You Need:

      • Baking soda
      • Paper towels
      • A Toothbrush

      How To Clean:

      1. First, you should take the paper towel and blot the stain as much as possible. Once a certain section of the towel gets dirty, rotate the paper towel to use a clean part. This is to get rid of any excess oil. Continue to rotate the paper towel until it is not picking up any more oil. Do not rub the stain. 
      2. Next, sprinkle and press the baking soda directly onto the stained area. Use a clean paper towel to press the baking soda in. If you use your fingers, you may contribute oil or dirt to the issue. Don’t wipe away the baking soda. Let it sit. 
      3. The baking soda will eventually turn brown. When it is brown, scrape it away carefully and repeat the steps until the baking soda no longer turns brown. This means that it is no longer soaking up excess oil. 
      4. Next, throw it in the wash like you normally would. This should get the stain out. 
      How To Remove Oil Stains from Clothes

      How to Use Chalk to Remove Oil Stains

      Table chalk is great for getting grease out of linens. This goes for clothes and for table clothes, napkins, and placemats. 

      What You Need:

      • Chalk
      • Washing machine 

      How To Clean:

      1. This instruction set is simple. First, you need to rub chalk over newer set stains for it to absorb the oil. 
      2. Rub the chalk away and see if the stains have come up.
      3. If it hasn’t come up, then you can repeat the process two to three more times before throwing the linens into the washing machine. 
      How To Remove Oil Stains from Clothes

      Remedies Per Material

      Here is a breakdown of common clothing materials and the appropriate materials to use to treat the oil or grease stain. 


      You can use a heavy liquid dishwashing soap and saturate the stain with this solution and water. You can lather the soap in the affected area with your hands to work on the stain. Then dab it with warm water. After pre-treating the stain, throw it into the washing machine. 


      We mentioned that you can use chalk to treat linen materials. But for linen clothing, there is another option that may be more suitable than chalk for tablecloths. You can follow the same method as cotton by using a good detergent. The detergent can be powder or liquid. 


      Leather is one of the most reactive materials, which is why it’s important that you treat grease and oil stains with saddle soap or a leather treatment specific for leather. Homemade remedies may ruin the leather. Keep in mind there are many types of leather as well.  This goes for cleaning leather shoes such as your vans! 

      Corduroy and Silk

      Cornstarch, baby powder, or baking soda will work to get stains out. Corduroy and silk, sadly, are two of the most difficult materials to treat, so it’s important to treat the stain immediately.

      What Mistakes to Avoid When Removing Oil Stains

      We briefly mentioned that there are some fatal mistakes you can make when trying to get rid of the oil stain. Keep these notes in mind. 

      1. Waiting to treat the stain makes it infinitely harder to get it up.
      2. You can’t let the stain treatment sit too long. This can cause potential damage to the fabric
      3. Again, always blot! Never rub or scrub. This is not like cleaning or scrubbing a blackstone griddle! 
      4. Don’t use water that is too hot. Warm is the way to go. 
      5. Use the right stain treatment for the right material.
      6. Only use one stain remover at a time. 

      How to Remove Old Oil Stains From Clothes 

      So, now we know how to get fresh stains up, but how do you get dried oil stains out of clothes? It is a bit trickier but not impossible. The same can be said for trying to get old blood stains out of clothes. You just need the right approach. 

      How to Remove Old Oil Stains From Clothes After Washing

      The best way to approach this problem is to add one more powerful ingredient to the baking soda solution. Instead of treating the stained area with warm water and baking soda, you will want to dilute the area first with vinegar. Then, you will apply the baking soda and repeat the process. 

      Sometimes not even this will do the trick. The next best step is to fill a sink with warm water, vinegar, and detergent. Put baking soda on the affected area, then immerse in the water. This is only for cotton and similar materials. Leather cannot be soaked. These are the best home remedies for removing old oil stains from clothes.

      Tip: You can also use this method to remove old oil stains on your mouse pads as well!

      How To Remove Oil Stains from Clothes

      Frequently Asked Questions

      While most of the above information will get you pretty far with handling oil stains. There are still a few commonly asked questions we can address here. 

      Is hot or cold water better for removing stains?

      Neither! You want to go with warm water over cold or hot. Hot water can end up spreading the stain, while cold water can sometimes end up setting it. Finding a middle ground between the two is the ultimate solution. But if for some reason you have to choose between the two, opt for cold water before you use hot water. You also want to check the manufacturer label to see if it warns against washing in hot water. 

      Are oil stains permanent?

      Sadly, they can be. The longer you wait, the more chance the stain will be permanent. It also depends on the color of the grease or the type of oil. Some oils are easier to get up than others. For instance, black motor oil on a white shirt is going to be a completely different problem than cooking oil on a white shirt. It also depends on the material of the clothing. Some materials are more absorbent than others. And materials like leather have a harder time being treated than others. 

      Can you use wd-40 to remove oil stains from clothes?

      While we would recommend using a more natural option first, WD-40 does break down oil. Sometimes it can be the main culprit of a stain, and other times, it can be good for getting stains up. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that a little goes a long way. You should also keep this toxin away from children and pets. 

      How do you get motor oil out of clothes?

      Interestingly enough, you can apply any of the home remedies to your clothes if you encounter a motor oil stain. These stains aren’t easy, but they are also not treated much differently than other grease and oil stains.

      Persistence Wins

      When it comes to treating your oil and grease stains, it’s important to be both persistent and patient. If a method doesn’t work right away, don’t give up. Oftentimes with oil stains, you need to give it a few runs before giving up. Sadly, as mentioned, some oil stains are permanent. But if you get to it right away, chances are you can get rid of most, if not all, of the oil.

      But don’t make easy mistakes and make the stain worse. Blot never rub. And be sure to try a stain remover that works for the product material you have. Or else you could end up with a different kind of problem.