Quick, Grab the White Bread: 6 Tips for Removing Oil Stains from Clothing

We’ve all been there. Splatters happen. For me, I made a mess of my favorite top while twirling spaghetti last week on a date night. Here is the surprising hack I used to save my shirt, plus 5 more tricks to keep up your sleeve for removing oil stains.

Removing cooking oil stains from clothing 

Fear not, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to get that stain out- but you must act quickly. While your instinct might be to reach right away for a napkin, it’s important to first lift away any solids. The clean edge of a butter knife or spoon will do the trick. No matter how dainty your touch, by reaching for a napkin there’s a good chance that you’ll inadvertently set the stain further into the fabric.

Blot, blot, blot 

Believe it or not, your best bet to soak up residual oil may be found on your bread plate. That’s right, grab a nice hunk of doughy white bread. With it (or a paper napkin) blot repeatedly until all excess oil has been removed. If you’re able to blot the underside of the fabric at this point, do so as well. 

Read the label

When you’re back at home, check the care label for instructions. If the garment is dry clean only, do not try to remove stain on your own, as this may harm the fabric or make the stain harder to remove by a professional. Instead, head to your dry cleaner ASAP, and make sure to identify the stain. In this case, most dry cleaners will apply a pre-treatment prior to the standard service. 

Baking soda to the rescue

For fabrics that can be washed at home, your next step is to sprinkle baking soda over the stain. According to Sage Singleton of the Apartment Guide, let it rest for 30 minutes for the powder to absorb additional oil, and then use a gentle bristle toothbrush to carefully scrub, and discard the baking soda.

Wash away the grease 

Using the hottest water recommended for the fabric, and the standard amount of detergent for the load, run the washing machine cycle as instructed on the care instructions. Generally speaking, the warmer the water, the easier job the detergent has in breaking down the stain. Many of the popular brands have detergents with stain-fighting enzymes, which are meant to break apart the oil molecules.

Check to see if the stain has been removed

If the stain persists, repeat the cleaning steps. Do not dry the garment in a dryer until the stain is removed, as high heat will further set the stain.

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