Oh, no! You were preparing a dish with olive oil and accidentally stained your favorite shirt or pants. Some of the oil must have dribbled out of the bottle when you were cooking. Darn. Are your clothes ruined or can you clean the olive oil stain out? How do you do so?
To get an olive oil stain out of clothes, try the following methods:
- Clean with liquid dish soap on its own
- Make a combination of liquid dish soap and baking soda
- Buy a store stain remover
- Try shampoo or aloe vera
- Spritz some hairspray on the stain
- Mix liquid dish soap and cornstarch
- Use baking soda, liquid dish soap, and WD-40
- Soak in liquid dish soap with cornstarch and use a pen or pencil
In this informative guide, we will elaborate on the above methods for cleaning olive oil stains out of your clothes. Whether it’s a favorite button-down shirt, a nice dress, or even a sweater, you’ll learn handy ways to clean it up. We’re including helpful information on both new and set-in stains.
Cleaning Olive Oil Stains from Clothes
*All notable supplies mentioned in this article are linked at the end here.
Liquid Dish Soap Method
Our first method for cleaning olive oil stains from clothes involves none other than liquid dish soap. This time, you don’t need anything else but the dish soap. Surely, you already have some in your kitchen, so that makes this cleaning method handy and quick. After all, almost all olive oil stains probably occur in the kitchen. Well, unless you’re out eating at a fancy restaurant.
Here are the steps to follow to hopefully blot out that olive oil stain for good.
Step #1: While you can dab some excess oil off your garment, resist the urge to run the shirt, skirt, dress, or pants under water. It’s not going to help in this case. You need the garment as dry as possible.
Step #2: Squeeze out several drops of the liquid dish soap onto your clothes. Rub the soap in but don’t push too hard. You want the soap to permeate into the fabric somewhat, but don’t drive the stain in deeper with your motions.
Step #3: Let the soap do its thing for at least five minutes.
Step #4: Now you can run the shirt under water. Make sure it’s warm as you rinse away all the residue.
Liquid Dish Soap and Baking Soda Method
While the first method we shared sure is convenient, it doesn’t always do the trick. If you need more cleaning power, then it’s time to reach for the baking soda in addition to your liquid dish soap. You’ll also need a source of water and some paper towels to clean up that pesky olive oil stain.
Let’s go over the steps to follow now.
Step #1: Again, do not wet the shirt, pants, or dress under running water. Instead, you want to grab some paper towels and blot the stain. Soak up all the excess oil with several paper towels. That means refraining from patting or swiping the oil away with your hands as soon as you see it on your clothes, but that’s what you have to do.
Step #2: When you’ve blotted up the oil as much as you can, grab your baking soda. You want to apply this to the olive oil stain, rubbing it in.
Step #3: Wait for at least 10 minutes and up to 15 minutes if you can spare it. Rather than rinse off the baking soda, just brush the residue away from the garment with your hand.
Step #4: If you’re lucky, then that will have gotten rid of the olive oil stain. If not, then do steps #1 through #3 for a second time.
Step #5: Reach for your liquid dish soap. Squirt out a dollop directly on the stained clothes. Again, begin rubbing it in, but don’t force the dish soap in too hard so you don’t accidentally drive the oil stain in more.
Step #6: Like with the first method, wait at least five minutes for the liquid dish soap to do its thing.
Step #7: Again, turn on the hot water and rinse away the soapy residue.
Step #8: If you still see a stain at this point, then you’ll have to do steps #5 through #7 again.
Step #9: Air dry the clothes if you see even the slightest stain residue. Your dryer’s strong heat can set the stain, making it nearly impossible to get out at that point.
You can also try a similar method to the one we described above, but with liquid dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Here’s how.
Step #1: Take your hydrogen peroxide and cover the stain with it.
Step #2: Apply baking soda on top of the hydrogen peroxide. You want a lot of baking soda on there, enough that it’s quite thick.
Step #3: Now, add your liquid dish soap on top of the baking soda pile.
Step #4: Take yet more baking soda and put it on top of the liquid dish soap. This time, lighten how much you use considerably.
Step #5: Find an unused toothbrush and scour over the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and liquid dish soap mixture. You want to make sure you’re very thorough with this step.
Step #6: Wait between 30 and 60 minutes for the mixture to work.
Step #7: Leaving the mixture in place, clean the stained clothes in the washer.
As a warning, we do want to say that in some cases, hydrogen peroxide can ruin dark clothes, staining them. Start by applying a small amount on the hemline or edge of a garment and see what it does. If you’re in the clear, the use it for the steps above. If not, we have plenty of other great methods ahead.
Store Stain Remover Method
If it’s easier for you, then you can always run out to the grocery store and pick up a stain remover. You can typically find this in the same aisle as your laundry detergent. If you already have this stain remover in your pantry or laundry room, then that’s all the better. You can save yourself the trip and some money.
We recommend you do the following to clean your olive oil stain.
Step #1: With a paper towel or a cloth, soak up as much of the surface olive oil from your clothes as you can.
Step #2: Follow the instructions on the stain removing product you bought. Repeat again if necessary.
As a caveat, you do want to make sure that you check your garment’s tag before using any old product on it. You would hate to accidentally damage a material like silk or cashmere because you didn’t follow product use or washing instructions.
Shampoo or Aloe Vera Method
If you by chance don’t have any stain removing product and you don’t feel like running out to the store, you don’t have to. After all, time is precious when you have a huge olive oil stain on nice clothing. You want to address the stain as soon as possible.
If you have some liquid dish soap, shampoo, or aloe vera in the house, then you can. Make sure you follow these steps.
Step #1: Like we’ve said a few times already, you want to begin by using a paper towel or a cloth to get rid of any excess olive oil on your clothes. As you’ve done thus far, refrain from getting the shirt, pants, or dress wet with water at this stage.
Step #2: Decide whether you’ll use shampoo, liquid dish soap, or aloe vera for this cleaning job. A liquid aloe vera works best rather than directly from the plant. If you do want to go the shampoo route, then try to pick one that doesn’t have a strong color or scent.
Step #3: Apply the liquid you chose on the garment until it covers the stain entirely.
Step #4: Find a manicure brush or an unused toothbrush. Circle around the liquid-covered stain. Do not use your hands in this case. Make sure you’re not pressing too hard, either.
Step #5: Let at least five minutes pass.
Step #6: Gently, pick up the garment and transfer it to the washing machine. Leave the shampoo, liquid dish soap, or aloe vera residue on the garment.
Step #7: Wash your clothes, using warm or hot water as the garment requires. When you take the shirt, pants, or dress out of the washer, you shouldn’t see the olive oil stain anymore.
Yet another option you have for removing stubborn olive oil stains from clothes is to use some hairspray. This is another staple item that you likely have in your bedroom or bathroom. Get your bottle ready.
The reason hairspray works on stains like olive oil is due to its alcohol content. The alcohol allows the olive oil to first loosen up and then dissipate as you wash the garment.
Step #1: Put your paper towels away, because you don’t want to start by blotting the stain in this case. Instead, apply a thin mist of hair spray until it’s over the the entirety of your olive oil stain.
Step #2: Next, just like you did before, you want to move the garment to your washing machine without having rinsed the hairspray off.
Step #3: Run your clothes through the washer like you usually do. When you’re done, move them to the dryer. You shouldn’t have a stain anymore.
Liquid Dish Soap and Cornstarch Method
We’ve already talked about how great liquid dish soap is for removing tough stains like olive oil from your clothes. Indeed, it’s appeared in many of the methods we shared already. Here, instead of using baking soda, we combine liquid dish soap with cornstarch instead. If you by chance don’t have cornstarch, then cornmeal works just as well.
Step #1: Start with your cornstarch, applying it to your olive oil stain instead of doing anything else. Yes, this goes for wetting the stain (a no-no with olive oil) and even blotting the stain with a paper towel.
Step #2: Let the cornstarch work its magic for quite a while longer than you have with the other methods. This time, you want to hold off on doing anything for at least 30 minutes. If you can spare 60 minutes, that’s even better.
Step #3: Now you want to take your liquid dish soap and apply it over the cornstarch. Do not do anything to clean off the cornstarch residue before you do this.
Step #4: Rub the mixture of liquid dish soap and cornstarch into the garment. As you know by now, avoid rubbing too hard and driving the stain in further.
Step #5: Without losing any of the liquid dish soap or the cornstarch, transfer the garment to your washing machine. Clean from there.
Baking Soda, Liquid Dish Soap, and WD-40 Method
Do you have any WD-40 in your home for squeaky doors and other hinges? We hope so, because you’re going to need it for this cleaning method. There’s also a handful of necessary supplies you should have ready to go. These include Q-tips, a bowl, an unused toothbrush, and cardboard. Of course, you should have your liquid dish soap and baking soda as well.
As a caveat, this method is recommended only if you already tried and failed cleaning the olive oil out of your clothes on a previous occasion. Ideally, you should have already washed and dried the clothes. As you know by now, a dryer’s heat can make a stain set in even more.
Here’s how you’d get rid of that stain.
Step #1: Bend or cut a piece of cardboard so it fits in your clothes. For a shirt, you’d need a T-shaped (or thereabouts) piece of cardboard. For pants, a longer piece of cardboard suffices. The same goes for a dress. If it’s a skirt, then a simple square piece of cardboard should work just fine.
You do want to make sure you don’t cut the cardboard down so much that it’s completely hidden inside the garment. The whole point is you’re supposed to be able to see exposed cardboard. This will help contain the stain so it doesn’t reach other parts of your garment.
Step #2: Now, grab your can of WD-40. Before you spray, assess the size of your stain. Is it large? Then you can just spray the WD-40 onto it outright. Is it smaller? Then grab a bowl, preferably a small one to match. Then coat the bowl with WD-40. With a Q-tip, dip into the bowl and then rub the WD-40 onto the stain.
Why does a product like WD-40 even work on olive oil stains? It has to do with the composition of the spray. Although it’s a water dispersant, it’s designed to get rid of oil. Yes, even olive oil.
Step #3: Take your toothbrush and dip it in some baking soda. Now, rub the baking soda into the WD-40. You do not want to rinse the WD-40 off before moving on to this next step.
Step #4: Make sure you put on a lot of baking soda, creating a heavy layer of the stuff. Push in a bit into the clothing with your toothbrush, scrubbing. The baking soda should change composition at this point, becoming clumpier. This is a good sign, as it means oil absorption has occurred.
Step #5: When you’re done scrubbing, remove the clumps of baking soda by brushing them off the garment.
Step #6: You want to apply fresh baking soda now, repeating steps #4 and #5 as necessary. When the baking soda doesn’t clump up, it’s because there’s no more oil left to absorb. You’re then free to move on.
Step #7: Don’t be surprised if you’re left with a lot of baking soda residue. You can clean this out by running the clothes through the washer.
Liquid Dish Soap, Cornstarch, and Pen/Pencil Method
We have one more method we can recommend to clean an olive oil stain from your clothes. You should use this method only if you have a sweater that got seemingly ruined by an olive oil stain.
As we said in the intro, you should have liquid dish soap, cornstarch, and either a pen or pencil for this. Besides that, make sure you’ve got a sizable towel, a big piece of paper, and an empty sink or tub.
Here are your steps.
Step #1: You want to take your sweater and apply cornstarch over the stain. Make sure you don’t leave any visible parts of the stain exposed.
Step #2: Leave the cornstarch on for 30 minutes. At that time, dust the residue off your sweater.
Step #3: Repeat steps #1 through #2 a second time, maybe even a third time. Perhaps this removes the stain entirely, but it might not necessarily.
Step #4: Get your big piece of paper ready. You want to place the sweater flat over the paper. Now, with your pen or pencil, make an outline of the sweater’s shape. You’ll understand why this is important later.
Step #5: Go to your sink or tub and fill it with ice cold water.
Step #6: Squirt out some dish soap into your sink or tub. Make sure it’s well blended, either by hand or with an instrument of your choosing. If you’ve made suds or bubbles with the mixing, then drain the water, refill, and repeat. You want the soap combined with the water ever so slightly, but not enough that you get suds.
Step #7: Submerge the sweater in the water and move it about. You want to ensure the dish soap gets to the stain well, hence moving the sweater.
Step #8: Take your hands off the sweater and let it rise to the surface. Give it at least three minutes and then take it out. This can get very wet fast, but don’t squeeze your sweater. You could ruin it for good. Instead, let the water drip over the tub or sink. Have a few towels ready, too.
Step #9: Empty the water from the sink or tub by pulling the drain. Now you want to refill the water once more. Make sure it’s cold.
Step #10: Put your sweater back in the tub or sink. Submerge it and move it a bit. Your goal here is to rid the sweater of all soap residue. This can take close to a dozen times, so be patient.
Step #11: When you’re finally done with all that, you want to grab the big towel you had set aside for this cleaning task. Place it flat and then put the sweater on top of it. Now, roll the sweater in the towel. Don’t squeeze; just let the towel soak up as much water as possible.
Step #12: Unfurl the sweater from the towel.
Step #13: When the sweater is as dry as it gets, place it on the paper with the outline you had made. The reason you drew your sweater on a piece of paper in the first place was because soaking the sweater like you did can shrink it. It’s possible to tug it back to size, but you’d have no idea how big would be too big without the outline.
Now you can readjust the sweater by gently pulling on it. Don’t tug too forcefully or you could rip the sweater.
Can you wash olive oil out of clothes?
Yes, you can use your washer as part of your method for cleaning olive oil from your favorite stained garments. We illustrated as much with the methods we highlighted in this article. However, washing your clothes isn’t the first step in the process.
In most cases, you want to begin by blotting the oil. Then you want to apply your product, such as a liquid dish soap, cornstarch, hydrogen peroxide, aloe vera, shampoo, WD-40, and the like. Sometimes, you should wash off the product you used on the stain before putting it in the washer. Other times, leave the product on and then wash the shirt, pants, dress, or skirt as is.
How should you clean olive oil out of shoes?
What if your clothes were spared in your olive oil spill but your shoes got soaked? Hey, it can happen, especially if you accidentally elbow your bottle of olive oil off the table or counter and it splatters all over the floor.
If it’s suede boots or shoes we’re talking about, then you want to cover the stain with liquid dish soap. Wait for 10 minutes so the oil can begin disintegrating via the soap. Next, use a scrubber brush, but make sure it has soft bristles so you don’t wreck your shoes. Get the soap in there well. Next, with a damp cloth, clean the liquid dish soap residue. You may have to do this a couples of times to remove the stain completely.
- Basic hair spray, nothing fancy: Suave Max Hold
- Well proven & the one I have at home: Dawn Dish Soap
- Lower cost, highly rated: Palmolive Ultra Dish Soap
- Good Old Arm & Hammer
- Arvesa Aloe Vera Gel (great to keep around for your skin after you remove the stain)
- Shout Advanced Grease & Oil Stain Remover (the brand/type I personally use)
- Very highly rated: Spray n’ Wash
- Argo Cornstarch, cheap and simple
- WD-40, timeless