How to Remove Oil Based Stains

Image copyright Muffet.

I was so upset when I spilled salad dressing on one of my favorite shirts. If you’ve had any experience with oil and clothes you know it’s difficult to remove and how ugly of a stain it can leave. Here’s how I removed the spill.

What you need:

  • Napkin or Cloth
  • Bowl
  • Cold Water
  • Dawn dish soap (this is the only kind I’ve used)


  1. Remove as much of the substance as possible. Dab with a napkin or cloth. Try not to smear it.
  2. Add a touch of dish soap to the stain and add a few drops of water.
  3. Use your fingers to leather the soap. I do this until white lather covers the stained area.
  4. Place garment in a bowl full of cold water.
  5. Soak overnight.
  6. Wash with like colors in cold water.
  7. Hang to dry.
  8. Examine your stain when it has dried. If it is still there, give it another try.

The sooner you do this the better! Get dish soap on the stain as soon as it happens. Your dish soap is built to dissolve the grease and oil from dishes and will do the same for your clothes.

Note: Please be mindful of what material you are working with. I have only done this process with washable clothes. If you have something that is delicate or dry clean only you may want to try a different process.

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