Big Bear’s gonna teach you how to get oil stains out of clothes

April 21 |

This post syndicated from Hipster Housewife.

Last week I went to a delicious lunch at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant and scarfed a scrumptious vegetarian curry soup. I wore my favorite shirt, one "BIG BEAR DOIN THANGS" shirt by Van Holmgren. Truly, a great day. 

Except when I got home I found my favorite shirt, so white and so clean, was splashed with orange food grease in my hurry to devour soup.


In the past I've had to ditch shirts with oil spots. I'd put them in the washer, not knowing any better, and then the stain was set. Even a small spot looks weird in the right places, so I'd add them to my rag pile.

This couldn't happen to another awesome shirt. Besides, I'd intended to pull the artist card and wear my sweet tee under a military jacket to a fancy event that night. 

I didn't know what to do so as usual, I Googled. Google recommended I remove the shirt, apply talcum powder and let the shirt sit for a few hours.

After letting the talc absorb oil, I used dish soap and water on the shirt — dish soap is better at removing oils than some laundry detergent (especially homemade detergent). 

It took several doses of soap but the grease came out. A run through the dryer and I had a weird shirt to wear to a cocktail hour. Laundry Google fix success!

  1. I like the talcum powder step– I'll try that next time. I've also had good success with using shampoo instead of dish soap. Did you find any ideas for when you don't notice the grease until it's been through the wash?

    1 agrees
    • i too would love to know if anybody knows how to get an oil stain out of a shirt that has been laundered. i have an AMAZING shirt that a burger jizzed all over and i tried other stain removers and washed it to no avail. dangit! it was the first run of that shirt as well.

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      • spray with something like Shout!, Spray&Wash, etc…, let sit overnight, and then throw in the wash with a can of Coke (can, not bottle; Coke, not diet- and pour the Coke in, not just the can).
        I worked in food service for years and this ALWAYS worked. Even set stains.

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        • Silly question:
          Do you only use the coke on darks? Does it stain whites? Or does one can of coke in multiple gallons of water fade to nothing?

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      • my suggestion is go with the stain and either dye (tye-dyeing works amazing!) the piece, or add more stains for an artsy look….i got bleach on one of my partner's favorite band shirts, then decided to go with it. Now I have an AWESOME shirt that has unique patterns all over the front ;)

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    • I have had relatively good luck with Woolite's Oxy Deep (it's for carpets) and the related P.O.D. thing – with OxyDeep in a plastic pod. I have applied several times to my favorite silky cotton tank and it has lessened the stain. Worth trying, at least!

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  2. I've had great success using baking soda paste (mix baking soda with a little water to achieve this miracle substance) where you used talc. I use baking soda for EVERYTHING, whereas I don't keep talc in the house. Seriously, the stuff is like a magic voodoo powder.

    3 agree
  3. This is gonna sound crazy, but my brother is a mechanic and I grew up cleaning oil out of clothes. The answer to all my cleaning dilemmas, especially grease and oil stains is Coca Cola. Soak the offending garment in approximately 1 can of coca cola overnight (or longer if it's really set in), then wash like normal – separate from other clothes (it'll even come out with handwashing). The coke doesn't stain or make the clothes smell.

    Coke is also useful for unclogging drains, getting rid of rust etc. The only thing I don't use is for is ingestion, because I don't like the taste very much.

    and Kat – baking soda plus coca cola is the most formidable cleaning combination! Especially for unclogging drains.

    3 agree
    • Sounds like I just got some new tips on cleaning! Thanks!

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    • This was totally made coming to work today worth it. I work in a banquet hall, and we have some nasty stains we just can't get rid of. THANKS!!

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  4. Although it's stinky, Lestoil works wonders (if you can find it) or Murphy's oil soap. Just a dab on the stain, let it sit and wash. Just have to run it twice so the smell goes away. But I find it does a good job on clothes you've already washed with stains.

    1 agrees
  5. I am ALWAYS getting greasy stains on my clothes from cooking without an apron. The one thing that has saved my sanity and my clothing is an old-fashioned little bar of laundry soap called Fels-Naptha. You can find it in the grocery store for less than $3 – near other archaic laundry accoutrements like a fascinating substance called "Bluing."

    Just wet the stained area(s) with water, rub it on the bar of Fels-Naptha, let it sit for a minute, then wash like normal. This has saved countless shirts, numerous pairs of jeans, and a cotton dress that had been stained for almost 6 months before Fels-Naptha saved it!

    I tell everyone I know about it, it's that good.

    1 agrees
  6. Goo-gone works wonders. Apply it to the stain let it set for a few mintues, rinse, and then wash as normal. Occasionally you'll have to wash the item a second time. It gets out cya stick stains, grease, everything.

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  7. Goop hand cleaner. My dad worked as a mechanic and machinist for his entire life, and goop was the go-to at our house. It also saved an entire load of light colored clothes that my ex husband decided to wash for me (without bothering to check the pockets, one of which held a berry colored lipstick!) He washed and dried said light colored clothes with the lipstick. Ruined! I thought, then mom said, try the goop! I rubbed the goop into all stains, let sit for 10 mins, washed on hot, dried, all SAVED!

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  8. About a year ago I discovered my favorite dirty secret for removing clothing stains, especially those related to oils and bodily fluids. It's adult toy cleanser and generic stain remover (like Shout).. The brand I use is a concentrate by ForePlay. I just put a couple drops of the toy cleanser on plus a squirt of the the stain remover. The stain remover wasn't adequate by itself, but was good for chunky stuff, like spaghetti sauce. The toy cleanser gently breaks up and loosens the stain from the fabric. With delicate fabrics, I try just the cleanser first and that's usually sufficient. I bought it years ago and don't recall the price, but I use it with nearly every load and my bottle isn't even half empty.

    0 agree

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