Eco-Friendly Solutions for Removing Old Oil Stains from Clothes

November 14, 2023 • Jamie Dorman

You've tackled that stubborn oil stain on your favorite shirt, thrown it into the washing machine, and eagerly anticipated a stain-free result. But as you retrieve your clothing from the dryer, your heart sinks – the oil stain remains. It's a scenario many of us have faced. The real test now is discovering how to remove oil stains from clothes.

No need to worry, the solution is well within your grasp, and it's surprisingly uncomplicated. By following our method of how to get oil out of clothes, you'll be astounded at how even the most stubborn, long-standing stains will bow to your efforts. Prepare to part ways with those unsightly spots for good.

Equipment and Ingredients

Okay, at first glance, this may seem like a fairly long list of items to gather just to remove some measly little stains, but we swear it’s not. Just bear with us, and soon, your clothes will be oil-free!

Before you get started, you’ll need: two small bowls (one for WD40 and one for water), a piece of cardboard, WD40, a Q Tip, baking soda, an unused toothbrush, a Sheets Laundry Club Detergent Sheet, and, of course, the stained clothing.

If you aren’t familiar with WD40, it’s okay – we weren’t either until we learned this handy hack. WD40 is a lubricant and rust penetrant that has many uses around the house and in the car. If you don’t have any, it can easily be found at any hardware store.

Protect Your Garment

Before getting to work on the stain(s) in question, first make sure the rest of your garment is protected. Do this by sliding a piece of cardboard or solid plastic into the clothing item behind the stain. This will prevent the stain from spreading to the opposite side of the garment during the stain-removal process.

Phase 1: WD40

Spray some WD40 into a small bowl. Dip one end of a Q-tip into the bowl and saturate it with the WD40. Then, use the Q Tip to cover the entire stain with WD40. While you do want to cover the stain all the way to the edges, work slowly and watch where the WD40 goes, as it does tend to spread quickly.

Phase 2: Apply Baking Soda

Pour a generous layer of baking soda all over the entirety of the stain. Use the toothbrush to scrub the baking soda into the WD40. When the baking soda begins to clump or ball up a little bit, this means it’s starting to mix with and absorb the WD40. This is a good thing! Your goal during this step is to get the baking soda to absorb as much of the WD40 as possible. Once it has clumped together as much as it can, use the toothbrush to scrape the baking soda off of the stain.

For larger or more stubborn stains, you may need to repeat this step multiple times. Most stains come out after 2-3 cycles of this but can take less or more, depending on the size and severity of the soiled area.

Phase 3: Scrub with Sheets Detergent

In the second small bowl, add a small amount of warm water. Cut 1/10th of a Sheets Laundry Club Detergent Sheet and put it in the water. Use the toothbrush to move the laundry sheet around until it dissolves, creating a smooth, liquid detergent.

Again, using the toothbrush, scrub the stain with the detergent mixture. This will serve as a pretreatment of the stain and continue to work to remove any lingering oil or dirt.

Phase 4: Wash as Usual with Your Next Load of Laundry

Crisis averted! The garment can stay as-is, with the detergent still on it, until you’re ready for your next wash. At this point, you can safely throw it in with your next load of dirty clothes and dry as usual.

Look at you! A master of knowing how to get oil stains out of clothes. Is there anything you CAN’T do? We’re going to say no. And to ensure you continue to crush it, don’t forget to visit Sheets Laundry Club and subscribe and save with one of our laundry subscription boxes, so you’ll have laundry supplies and dryer sheets ready to go for any clothing crisis at any time.