Oh, no! You were preparing a dish with olive oil and accidentally stained your favorite shirt or pants. Some of the oil must have dribbled out of the bottle when you were cooking. Darn. Are your clothes ruined, or can you clean the olive oil stain out? How do you do so?
So, how to get olive oil out of clothes?
Try the following methods:
- Clean with liquid dish soap on its own
- Make a combination of liquid dish soap and baking soda
- Buy a store stain remover
- Try shampoo or aloe vera
- Spritz some hairspray on the stain
- Mix liquid dish soap and cornstarch
- Use baking soda, liquid dish soap, and WD-40
- Soak in liquid dish soap with cornstarch and use a pen or pencil
This informative guide elaborates on the above methods for cleaning olive oil stains out of clothes. Whether it’s a favorite button-down shirt, a nice dress, or even a sweater, there are many handy ways to clean old and new stains.
Does Olive Oil Stain Clothes?
Yes. Olive oil certainly can stain clothes. If the stain isn’t promptly treated, it can leave a very noticeable and often stubborn stain on the fabric. To minimize the chances of having to deal with a permanent stain, it must be addressed as soon as possible.
The best way to tackle an olive oil stain on clothing is by blotting, not rubbing. A stain remover can then be applied before the clothing is washed. The overall success of any stain removal method really depends on the type of fabric and how soon the stain is treated.
Cleaning Olive Oil Stains From Clothes
*All notable supplies mentioned in this article are linked at the end here.
Liquid Dish Soap Method
The first method for cleaning olive oil stains from clothes involves none other than liquid dish soap. This is a basic staple most people already have on hand in their kitchen, which makes this cleaning method quick.
Here are the steps to follow to hopefully blot out that olive oil stain for good.
Step #1: While dabbing the excess oil off the garment, resist the urge to run the shirt, skirt, dress, or pants under water. It’s not going to help in this case. The garment needs to stay as dry as possible at this point.
Step #2: Squeeze out several drops of the liquid dish soap onto the clothes. Rub the soap in, but don’t push too hard. The soap should permeate the fabric somewhat, but avoid driving the stain in deeper with overly vigorous motions.
Step #3: Let the soap do its thing for at least five minutes.
Step #4: Now, run the shirt under the water. Make sure it’s warm water so all the residue can be rinsed away.
Liquid Dish Soap and Baking Soda Method
While the first method is convenient, it doesn’t always do the trick. For more cleaning power, reach for the baking soda in addition to liquid dish soap. Water and paper towels should also be handy for cleaning up a cooking oil or grease stain.
Let’s go over the steps to follow now.
Step #1: Again, do not wet the shirt, pants, or dress under running water. Instead, grab some paper towels and blot the stain. Soak up all the excess oil with several paper towels. Refrain from patting or trying to swipe the oil away with hands when it’s visible on clothing.
Step #2: When the oil stain has been blotted as much as possible, grab the baking soda. Apply it to the olive oil stain.
Step #3: Wait at least 10 to 15 minutes. Rather than rinsing off the baking soda, brush the residue away from the garment.
Step #4: The last step should have gotten rid of the olive oil stain. If not, then repeat steps #1 through #3.
Step #5: Reach for the liquid dish soap. Squirt out a dollop directly on the stained clothes. Again, begin rubbing it in, but don’t force the dish soap in too hard, or there’s a risk of driving the oil stain into the fabric even more.
Step #6: Like with the first method, wait at least five minutes for the liquid dish soap to do its thing.
Step #7: Again, turn on the hot water and rinse away the soapy residue.
Step #8: If the stain is still visible at this point, repeat steps #5 through #7 again.
Step #9: Air dry the clothes if there is even the slightest stain residue still visible. The strong heat of a dryer can set the stain, making it nearly impossible to get out at that point.
Liquid Dish Soap, Baking Soda, and Hydrogen Peroxide
Step #1: Take hydrogen peroxide and cover the stain with it.
Step #2: Apply baking soda on top of the hydrogen peroxide. Don’t be shy with the baking soda; it should be layered on pretty thick.
Step #3: Now, add the liquid dish soap on top of the baking soda.
Step #4: Take even more baking soda and layer it on top of the liquid dish soap. This time, lighten the amount you use considerably.
Step #5: Find an unused toothbrush and brush over the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and liquid dish soap mixture. Make sure this step is done thoroughly.
Step #6: Wait between 30 and 60 minutes for the mixture to work.
Step #7: Leaving the mixture in place, clean the stained clothes in the washer.
As a warning, before using this method, hydrogen peroxide can ruin dark clothes and can stain them further. Start by applying a small amount on the hemline or edge of a garment and see what it does. If everything looks good after this test, use it for the steps above. If not, read on for more great methods.
Store Stain Remover Method
If it’s easier, run out to the grocery store and pick up a stain remover. Stain removers are typically kept in the same aisle as laundry detergent.
We recommend doing the following to clean an olive oil stain out of clothing.
Step #1: With a paper towel or a cloth, soak up as much of the surface olive oil from the clothing as possible.
Step #2: Follow the instructions on the stain removing product. Repeat if necessary.
As a caveat, make sure to check the garment’s tag before using any product on it. A more delicate fabric like silk or cashmere could become damaged if the instructions are not followed.
Shampoo or Aloe Vera Method
If there is no commercial stain remover available and no time to run to the store out of fear of the stain setting, grab some liquid dish soap, shampoo, or aloe vera. Then, follow these steps on how to get olive oil out of clothes.
Step #1: Begin by using a paper towel or a clean cloth to get rid of any excess olive oil on the clothes. Again, refrain from getting the garment wet with water at this stage.
Step #2: Decide whether shampoo, liquid dish soap, or aloe vera is the way to go for this cleaning job. A liquid aloe vera works best rather than sourcing it directly from the plant. When choosing a shampoo, pick one that doesn’t have a strong color or scent.
Step #3: Apply the liquid you chose onto the garment until it covers the stain entirely.
Step #4: Find a manicure brush or an unused toothbrush. Circle around the liquid-covered stain. Avoid doing this with your hands, and make sure there isn’t much pressure used.
Step #5: Let at least five minutes pass.
Step #6: Gently pick up the garment and transfer it to the washing machine. Leave the shampoo, liquid dish soap, or aloe vera residue on the garment.
Step #7: Wash the garment using warm or hot water as the garment requires. When the garment is removed from the washer, the olive oil stain should be gone.
Hairspray is another option for removing stubborn olive oil stains from clothes. This is another staple item many people already have in their homes.
The reason hairspray works on stains like olive oil is due to its alcohol content. The alcohol allows the olive oil to first loosen up and then dissipate as the garment is washed.
Step #1: Put the paper towels away because blotting isn’t going to be the first step in this case. Instead, apply a thin mist of hairspray until it’s over the entirety of the olive oil stain.
Step #2: Next, like before, move the garment to the washing machine without rinsing the hairspray off.
Step #3: Run the clothes through the washer like normal. When the wash cycle is done, move them to the dryer. The stain should be gone.
Liquid Dish Soap and Cornstarch Method
For this liquid dish soap method, cornstarch is added. If there is no cornstarch available, cornmeal will work just as well.
Step #1: Start by applying the cornstarch to the olive oil stain. Again, never wet an olive oil stain on clothing. Instead, blot the stain with a paper towel.
Step #2: Let the cornstarch work its magic for a while longer than the other methods. This time, hold off on doing anything for at least 30 minutes up to an hour.
Step #3: Now, apply the liquid dish soap over the cornstarch. Do not do anything to clean off the cornstarch residue before doing this.
Step #4: Rub the mixture of liquid dish soap and cornstarch into the garment. Avoid rubbing too hard and driving the stain in further.
Step #5: Without losing any of the liquid dish soap or the cornstarch, transfer the garment to the washing machine and wash it as normal.
Baking Soda, Liquid Dish Soap, and WD-40 Method
Many people have WD-40 in the home for squeaky doors and other hinges. It’s actually also beneficial when it comes to oil and grease stains.
In addition to the WD-40, other necessary supplies should be ready to go. These include Q-tips, a bowl, an unused toothbrush, and cardboard.
This method is recommended only if other methods were tried but failed to clean the olive oil out of the clothing on a previous occasion.
Here’s how to get rid of that stain.
Step #1: Bend or cut a piece of cardboard so it fits the clothes. For a shirt, cut out a T-shaped (or thereabouts) piece of cardboard. For pants, a longer piece of cardboard suffices. The same goes for a dress. If it’s a skirt, then a simple square piece of cardboard should work just fine.
Make sure that the cardboard isn’t cut down so much that it’s completely hidden inside the garment. The whole point is to be able to see the exposed cardboard. This will help contain the stain so it doesn’t reach other parts of the garment.
Step #2: Now, grab the WD-40. Before spraying it onto the oil stain, assess the size of the stain. Is it large? If so, spray the WD-40 onto it outright. Is it smaller? Then, grab a bowl, preferably a small one and coat the bowl with WD-40. Dip a Q-tip into the bowl and then rub the WD-40 onto the stain.
Why does a product like WD-40 even work on olive oil stains? It has to do with the composition of the spray. Although it’s a water dispersant, it’s designed to get rid of oil. Yes, even olive oil.
Step #3: Take a toothbrush and dip it into some baking soda. Now, rub the baking soda into the WD-40 on the stain. Avoid rinsing the WD-40 off before moving on to this next step.
Step #4: Make sure a good amount of baking soda is used to create a heavy layer. Push it into the clothing with the toothbrush and start scrubbing. The baking soda should change composition at this point, becoming clumpier. This is a good sign, as it means oil absorption has occurred.
Step #5: After scrubbing, remove the clumps of baking soda by brushing them off the garment.
Step #6: Now, apply fresh baking soda, repeating steps #4 and #5 as necessary. When the baking soda doesn’t clump up, it’s because there’s no more oil left to absorb. Move on to the next step.
Step #7: Don’t be surprised if there is a lot of baking soda residue left behind. It will come out in the washing machine.
Liquid Dish Soap, Cornstarch, and Pen/Pencil Method
Here is one more method for cleaning olive oil stains from clothing. Use this method only if the olive oil stain damaged the garment.
Liquid dish soap, cornstarch, and either a pen or pencil are needed for this method. There should also be a sizable towel, a big piece of paper, and an empty sink or tub.
Here are the steps.
Step #1: Apply cornstarch to the stain, making sure not to leave any visible parts of the stain exposed.
Step #2: Leave the cornstarch on the stain for 30 minutes. After that time has passed, dust the residue away.
Step #3: Repeat steps #1 through #2 a second time, maybe even a third time. Hopefully, it removes the stain completely.
Step #4: Get a big piece of paper ready. Place the garment flat over the paper. Now, using a pen or pencil, outline the garment’s shape. This is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped.
Step #5: Go to the sink or tub and fill it with ice cold water.
Step #6: Squirt out some dish soap into the sink or tub. Make sure it’s well blended, either by hand or with another instrument. If there are suds or bubbles present when mixing, drain the water, refill, and repeat. The soap should combine with the water ever so slightly but not enough to produce suds.
Step #7: Submerge the garment in the water and move it about. Ensure the dish soap gets to the stain and covers it completely.
Step #8: Let go of the garment and let it rise to the surface of the water. Give it at least three minutes, and then take it out. Don’t squeeze out any excess water, or you risk ruining it for good. Instead, let the water drip over the tub or sink. Have a few towels ready, too.
Step #9: Empty the water from the sink or tub by pulling the drain. Now, refill the water one more time. Make sure it’s cold.
Step #10: Put the garment back into the tub or sink. Submerge it and move it around a bit in the water. The goal here is to rid the sweater of all soap residue. This can take close to a dozen rinses, so be patient.
Step #11: Now, grab a towel and place it flat and put the garment on top of it. Roll the garment in the towel. Don’t squeeze; just let the towel soak up as much water as possible.
Step #12: Unfurl the sweater from the towel.
Step #13: When the sweater is as dry as it gets, place it on the paper with the outline that was created. The reason for the drawing on paper in the first place was that soaking the garment as described could possibly shrink it. It’s possible to tug it back to size, and the outline will help with that.
How to Get an Oil Stain Out of Cotton
To get an oil stain out of cotton, or really any fabric, you want to act quickly. Blot the stain and absorb any excess oil that may be on the cotton material. Cornstarch, talcum powder, or baby powder can also be used on the stains to help absorb as much as possible. Allow the powder to sit on the stain for approximately 15 minutes.
Once the powder has had sufficient time to absorb excess oil, scrape it away and pretreat the stain with a solvent like one of the ones mentioned earlier—liquid laundry detergent, dish soap, or a commercial stain remover.
Soak the garment in warm water with a small amount of laundry detergent. Let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour. After this, agitate the stain by rubbing the cotton fabric together or using a soft brush.
Rinse the garment with cold water. Once the stain is gone, you can wash it in the washing machine as usual. Before tossing it in the dryer, make sure the stain is gone. If it is still visible, repeat the steps.
How to Get Olive Oil Out of Clothes: FAQ
How Should You Clean Olive Oil Out of Shoes?
What if the clothes were spared during an olive oil spill, but a pair of shoes got soaked? It can happen, especially if the bottle is accidentally pushed off the table or counter and splatters all over the floor.
If it’s suede boots or shoes, cover the stain with liquid dish soap. Wait for 10 minutes so the oil can begin disintegrating via the soap.
Next, use a scrubber brush, but make sure it has soft bristles so there is no damage to the shoes. Get the soap in there well. Next, with a damp cloth, clean the liquid dish soap residue. This may need to be done a couple of times to remove the stain completely.
Can You Use Vinegar to remove oil stains?
Vinegar is good for pretreating stains. Mix the vinegar with equal parts water and gently rub it into the stain before washing it.
Does the Fabric Type Matter When Removing Oil Stains?
Yes, the type of fabric does affect stain removal efforts. Delicate fabrics will require gentler treatments, while a more robust fabric can withstand more rigorous stain removal methods.
- Basic hair spray, nothing fancy: Suave Max Hold
- Well proven & the one I have at home: Dawn Dish Soap
- Lower cost, highly rated: Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap
- Good Old Arm & Hammer
- Arvesa Aloe Vera Gel (great to keep around for your skin after you remove the stain)
- Shout Advanced Grease & Oil Stain Remover (the brand/type I personally use)
- Very highly rated: Spray n’ Wash
- Argo Cornstarch, cheap and simple
- WD-40, timeless