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Of all the clothes stains staining your clothes with oil and grease are among the most disgusting. They don’t only appear to stick out as a sore thumb on your clothes, but they’re notoriously difficult to clean.
Based on Laura Goodman, senior scientist at Procter & Gamble, you have chemistry at the core for the stain’s resiliency. Most oils and greases are solid or semi-solid at temperatures of room temperature. This means removal requires hot or warm water. It is also dependent on the material: Goodman mentions that synthetic fibres such as polyester are particularly difficult to clean, as oils and grease are attracted to these fabrics. Since the use of synthetic fibres is becoming increasingly popular, you might be confronted with the aforementioned stains more frequently.
However, removing staining from clothing with oil isn’t impossible if you can time it correctly. The trick, Goodman says, is to take action as fast as you can, and ideally as soon as the stain occurs. After it has dried or been set, the oil stain will be much more difficult to eliminate.
If you’re trying to wash an oily stain removed from your clothes, whether fresh or set-in, here is what you should know, according to experts in the field of laundry.
How to Use Baking Soda to Remove Oil Stains
Expert in laundry Patric Richardson, the owner of the boutique in Minneapolis Mona Williams, says baking soda helps by drawing oil out of fabric and back into it. If you can’t wash something–like a heavy coat or a piece of furniture–Richardson recommends using baking soda as the first line of defence before you treat the stain. Here’s how:
- Clean any oil that has accumulated using a paper towel cloth.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the fabric that is affected and let it rest for at least 24 hours.
- When the day is over, clean or scrubs the baking soda out.
- Spray the area affected with an acidic solution of vinegar and water.
- Cleanse with soap and brush, and then wash.
- Repeat the procedure in case the stain persists.
How to Use Chalk to Remove Oil Stains
Technically speaking, Richardson states that chalk can be able to remove oils from clothing in the same way that baking soda works by drawing the oil away from the fabric and then into itself. However, he does not recommend chalk for big or staining that is set in. Instead, try this method for small grease splatters, such as when you cook, and a little bit of grease gets in your garment.
- Get rid of any oil or food particles from the fabric using unclean tissue.
- The entire area should be covered with chalk, and allow some time for the oil to fully soak into the chalk.
- Wash the stained item as soon as you can, following the time the stain has formed.
How to Remove Set-In Oil Stains, Step by Step
Set-in oil stains are difficult to remove. They will require some effort (and the proper ingredients) to eliminate. If you didn’t get an opportunity to clean the grease stain or oil right away, Follow these steps:
- Apply the stain after your fabric has dried.
It’s not recommended to wash your clothes with water prior to working to remove the stain. “It’s much easier to work on a dry fabric because oil and water don’t mix,” Richardson states. “So when you wet the fabric, what happens is the water coats all the fabric around the oil, so you don’t have anywhere to move the oil away.”
- Put a piece of cardboard over the stain.
A piece of cardboard between the layers of your dress will prevent you from transferring any oil to the other layers of the garment. Recycle items around the house, such as an old cereal box or delivery container.
- Blot the stain using an unclean, dry cloth.
It is important to eliminate as much oil as you can. Blot with care to prevent the spread of the oils to non-affected areas on the cloth. If you don’t own a cloth napkin, tissue, or even a paper towel can be a good choice.
- Use dishwashing soap on your stain.
Liquid dish soap works in removing grease from clothing, much like it is effective on dishes. For a pre-treatment, you can put a couple of drops of liquid dish soap on the stain and allow it to soak in. Rub it gently with your fingers or a soft, clean brush or a towel to assist in bringing it in. It is recommended to allow the dish soap to soak for around five minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with warm water and then wash the same way as usual.
After five minutes of applying dish soap, and then rinse it off using hot water. Rinse the item in hot water using your usual detergent and bleach (for white items) or a colour-safe laundry booster (like OxiClean or The Laundress Bleach Alternative for items with colours).
- Drying with air or using a line your product.
Because grease stains are difficult to detect on wet clothing, Goodman recommends waiting to dry your machine until you’re certain that the stain is gone. If there’s a stain that remains after drying in the air, then apply dish soap again and then wash with hot water. Do not dry your items in a machine, as the heat can cause the stain to set, which makes it harder to remove.
Are you able to get rid of grease stains following drying and washing?
It’s not the best scenario. However, Richardson states that it is possible to remove the oil stains from the fabric after drying and washing; however, it’s another step. The heat generated by the drying process “bakes” the oil into the fabric, which could cause discolouration. Therefore, you’ll need to treat the stain again, this time using an enzyme-based cleaning agent and the usual treatment. “I just treat the stain again like I did the first time, let the pre-treatment dry, then use the enzyme-based treatment,” the expert states. “Then I’d launder it again in the normally.” .”
Does WD-40 take away staining from clothing caused by oil?
It’s a bit odd that WD-40 can take off oil stains on the fabric. The general rule is that Richardson says oily will get rid of the oil. “The problem is, then you have to get the WD-40 out, too, since it will sometimes leave its own residue,” Richardson says.