• January 20, 2022

Olive oil, unsurprisingly, is a tough stain to remove. It is oil after all. It won’t dry off, scrape off, or wash off easily. Oil stains have this annoying tenacity that takes strategy and labor to overcome.

Once it gets absorbed into your clothing, trying basic cleaning methods is like trying to catch a fly with chopsticks. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can get rid of olive oil stains at home. Here’s a detailed guide on how to remove olive oil stains from clothes to save you a trip to your laundry.

Olive Oil Introduction

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a dense liquid fat. The oil is extracted by pressing whole olives. Olive oil is commonly used for frying, making a sauté, or dressing salads. It has a high boiling temperature, so if you spill it onto something, you need to clean it up. It’s not going to dry away on its own.

Are Olive Oil Stains Permanent?

All cooking and vegetable oils pose a threat to your clothing. The greasy residue they leave behind may not look obvious initially, but it does tend to slightly darken the areas of fabric they stain. Once the stain dries, it can settle permanently into the fabric, so you need to clean it as quickly as possible.

Things You’ll Need to Remove Olive Oil Stains


Image source: Pinterest

You will need at least one of or a combination of the following items for this DIY project. Getting olive oil stains out of fabric is no cakewalk.

#1. Liquid Dish Soap

#2. Baking Soda

#3. Warm Water

#4. Brush

#5. Napkin/Towel

#6. Bleach

#7. Tub For Soaking The Garments

How To Remove Olive Oil Stains From Clothes: 6 Methods


Image source: Pinterest

1. Blot The Stain

The first thing you need to do if you’ve accidentally spilled olive oil over yourself is to get a napkin or a paper towel to blot the oil. If you’ve spilled a lot of oil, use a spoon or dull knife to scrape as much as you can off the surface. This will make the following steps easier.

2. Apply Dish Soap

Washing with dish soap is a convenient and easy method of removing olive oil stains from clothes. As long as the stain isn’t too deep, dish soap alone should be enough. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Dab the excess oil off your garment using an absorbent towel or napkin. Do not run the garment through water because that will make the stain worse.
  • Apply plain dish soap to the affected area and rub. Make sure you don’t push down too hard because that can drive the stain deeper.
  • Once the soap has permeated the fabric, let it sit for 5 mins.
  • Rinse the garment under warm water until the residue is gone.

3. Baking Soda

For some stains that are incredibly stubborn, dishwashing soap alone won’t do the trick. So if you’re still left with a stain after using the soap method, baking soda should help as it has more cleaning power. Here are the next steps:

  • Add baking soda to the affected area of the garment and rub it in.
  • Wait for roughly 15 minutes, let the baking soda do its job.
  • Use a brush to wipe away the residue.
  • Normally baking soda alone can do the trick, but if not, you can follow this up with the dish soap method again.

4. Hot Water Soak

Once you’re done with the baking soda and dish soap cleaning, rinse the garment in hot water and let it soak for a while. The high temperature will force the soap and baking soda out, dragging some of the olive oil out with it.

5. Air Dry Only

This is a crucial tip to remember. In case you still have a partial stain left after washing, the last thing you want to do is put it in a dryer. The dryer’s heat may cause the leftover stain to settle permanently. Instead, hang your garment up on a clothing line and let it air dry.

6. Soak In Bleach and Water

Still can’t get rid of the stain? Here’s your last resort:

  • Add a few drops of liquid cloth washing detergent or bleach to a tub of lukewarm water and mix.
  • Soak the garment in the tub, and let it sit for an hour or two.
  • Remove the garment and rinse under warm water. You may want to massage near the area of the stain again for a couple of minutes.
  • Make sure all the bleach is washed off. Hang the garment back up to dry.

6 Tips For Removing Oil Stains

  • Try to get as much olive oil out by dabbing as you can.
  • Do not push the area of the stain too hard, it can cause the olive oil to permeate further into the fabric and become more difficult to remove.
  • Make sure you don’t spread the stain when you’re washing your garment manually.
  • Be mindful of the type of fabric your garment is made from and whether or not it’s bleach/detergent-friendly. If you’ve spilled oil on dry-clean-only clothes, you may need to visit a dry cleaner instead of taking it up as a DIY project.
  • Do not expose the stain to hot air or sunlight. The heat will cause the stain to set in further.
  • The next time you’re eating something with a lot of olive oil or any other kind of cooking oil, wear a bib or place a napkin over your lap to catch the spillage. If you’re working in the kitchen, you could purchase an oil-proof apron.

Can You Get Oil Stains Out of Clothes After Drying?

Yes, but only if you air dry the clothes away from harsh sunlight. Exposure to heat only makes the stains stronger. The high heat from a dryer can bind the oil to the fabric, making it significantly harder or even impossible to remove later on. Once you’ve air-dried the stained garment, you can try removing more of the stain again using the methods described earlier.

Featured image source: Pinterest.com

Janet is a post-doctoral research candidate working as a freelance writer. She also moonlights as a doodle artist and wishes to publish her own comic book inspired by her life story one day.