Professor's House

How to Remove Oil from Clothing

If you’re wondering how to remove oil stains from clothing, think about what teenagers normally do when their faces get oily. When I was young, I had pimples because of too much oil. So about three or four times a day, I’d apply talcum or baby powder to get rid of the shine. Nothing like talc to make your face looking normal again!

You’ll get the same tip about how to remove oil stains from clothing. You just sprinkle some powder on the stain and work it into the fabric gently using a toothbrush. There will be powder granules as you work and this is a sign that you can add more powder to the stain. The powder absorbs the oil. After this exercise, the fabric is ready to be washed. Use the machine’s hot or warm temperature.

If you don’t have any talcum powder, use cornstarch. It works just as well.

More Ways to Remove Oil Stains from Clothing

If you do your research well, you’ll find at least five different ways of removing oil stains from clothing. And if you keep digging for information, you’ll find more. This is because many people have become clever at removing all kinds of stains and are only too happy to share their tips. The abundance of tips means you can try one method and if that doesn’t work, you try the next one.
Removing oil stains from clothing shouldn’t worry you at all. Judging from what others have said, oil stains are one of the easiest stains to deal with. Plus you may not even have to call on professional dry cleaners!

When we say “oil stain” we’re referring to food, cosmetic or lubricating oil. If the talcum powder and cornstarch method does not work, try these and pick one that works for you and your fabrics:

Tip # 1: laundry or dishwashing detergent (Dawn has been mentioned more than once). Squirt a small amount of detergent on the stain and rub gently – you can use your fingertip or an old toothbrush. Then wash your fabric in the machine.

Tip # 2: got any WD-40 in the garage? Apply a few drops on the stain, work it gently into the fabric (again with your hand or with an old toothbrush) and then launder as usual.

Tip # 3: This one you’ll like (or squirm at). Pour a few drops of Coke (the soda, not the drug) and let it rest for a few minutes. Launder as usual.

Tip # 4: And this is the old reliable – shampoo! Someone said that if it can wash the oil off hair, it can certainly do the same with fabric.

Tip # 5:Try cheese whiz? Apparently someone swears by it. She didn’t say why it worked for her. But we did some detective work and apparently someone else said the same thing. We found an online article on the CBS news site and an author by the name of Joey Green wrote a book called Clean Your Clothes with Cheez Whiz. He explained that this common household product contains natural enzymes that cut through the grease. Take half a teaspoon of Cheez Whiz (more if your stain is larger) and put it on the stain (not on your bread). Wait 5-10 minutes and launder the fabric! Nothing complicated, right?

In fact, Mr. Green says that we have stuff in our cupboards that can be used not only for cooking and baking, but can also be used as cleaners. He mentions other products we can try:

  • Canada Dry Seltzer
  • Morton’s salt
  • Barbazol shaving cream

You know something? Since I started doing research on removing stains, I’ve been intrigued why dishwashing detergent “Dawn” kept coming up. Did I get a pleasant surprise!

Remember the Exxon Valdez disaster where the birds were covered in oil? They were all cleaned with Dawn! It was so effective in taking the grease off the birds’ feathers that it’s being used again to wash oil-covered birds from the recent BP oil spill.

According to the writer, Dawn is effective and yet does not harm human skin. Procter and Gamble manufactures Dawn and the secret apparently lies in the balance of surfactants. Surfactants are chemicals that cut through the grease. The funny thing is, there’s a small amount of – get this – petroleum – that’s mixed in the formulation.

In her online article, Why Dawn is the Bird Cleaner of Choice in Oil Spills, Elizabeth Shogren said, “Nevill and the rest of the workers at the International Bird Rescue Research Center sound like walking commercials for Dawn. And that’s not new… Dawn spokeswoman Susan Baba says all the attention Dawn is receiving because of the spill helps get out the message that Dawn is a strong cleaner with a gentle touch… Veterinarian Nevill says she knows there are greener cleaners, but she says none of them have Dawn’s magic.”

There you go folks. Now you know why Dawn seems to be the favorite of not only bird cleaners, but also homemakers. Time to stock up on Dawn before the company sends truckloads of this wonder product to the Gulf of Mexico.

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