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How to Get Essential Oils Out of Clothes (Easy Tips for Quick Results)

Did you accidentally spill a few drops of essential oil on your favorite outfit? Don’t worry, you can fix this tragedy. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to get essential oils out of clothes in the most efficient way. We’ll explore all best practices for removing the stain, including pre-treatments, using household products, and laundry detergents. And if you happen to ruin delicate fabrics, we’ll teach you how to deal with that as well. 

Even if you’re not very experienced in laundering, you’ll be able to follow the simple tips below and ensure your clothes remain in perfect condition. Now, let’s rescue your outfit from that horrid essential oil stain.

Do Essential Oils Stain Clothes?

Yes, essential oils can stain clothes. The damage will depend on the type of fabric, the spilled amount, and the oil color.

Essential oils can penetrate the fibers of your clothes, so they’re not as simple to remove in a single wash. Also, the darker-colored ones, such as patchouli, usually stain fabrics a lot more. What’s worse, if you don’t treat the fabric properly, you risk permanent discoloration of your favorite shirt.

What to Do Immediately After Staining Your Clothes

To clean an essential oil spill, you must act quickly. So, read on and follow the steps below.

Blotting and Absorbing Excess Oil

The first thing you should do is to gently blot the stained area with a clean paper towel or cloth. Don’t rub the stain as that may cause it to spread all over your jeans and make an even bigger mess. Blotting it will remove the excess and prevent the oil from penetrating the fabric further. 

Identifying the Fabric and Read Care Label Instructions

Hope you didn’t cut the label like I usually do. If you did, and the fabric looks delicate, start experimenting with the more gentle solutions below.

If you didn’t cut the label, read the fabric and care instructions carefully. Different fabrics require different approaches to stain removal. 

Avoiding Heat or Hot Water

If you run the fabric under hot water in desperate hopes of removing the stain, that will have the opposite effect. Essential oils contain volatile compounds that can react to high temperatures. Heat will help them evaporate and penetrate deeper into the fabric. Also, the oil becomes more fluid under high temperatures, so the stain might spread all over.

Heat matters for the fabric, too. If your shirt is made from polyester or nylon, applying heat to stain can result in permanent damage to your favorite wardrobe piece.

So, what should you do instead? Read on to find out the proper steps for getting rid of that essential oil stain.

woman putting away laundry

How to Get Essential Oils Out of Clothes

Follow these steps to save your favorite dress from spilled essential oil:

  • Pre-Treatment: If you have baking soda or cornstarch, sprinkle some on the stain. These powders are super absorbent and will help you get rid of excess oil.
  • Add Dishwashing Detergent: These detergents are great at breaking down grease, which includes essential oils. Apply a small amount to the stain using a sponge or clean cloth.
  • Use Vinegar Solution: Vinegar is highly acidic, which will help break down the oil. Mix it with an equal amount of water, and dab the solution onto the stain with a sponge or clean cloth.
  • Rinse Under Cold Water: After treating the stain with dishwashing detergent and vinegar solution, rinse it well under cold water. This will remove the oil leftover and the cleaning agents.
  • Wash the Clothes: Remember to check and follow the label instruction for laundering. Use the necessary temperature and program depending on the fabric.
  • Check the Stain Before Drying: If the essential oil isn’t removed entirely, don’t machine dry or iron the stained clothes. Adding heat will only make things worse. Instead, you should repeat the steps above, or look for a commercial cleaning product for essential oil stains.

By following these simple steps, you’ll get that fragrance oil out of your clothes for good. Make sure to read the additional tips for extra help along the way. And if you spilled some on you, you might also want to know how to get essential oil off your skin.

Additional Tips and Considerations

If you want to learn how to remove essential oil stains from your clothes, you should also consider the following:

  • Always test the fabric first by applying the cleaning solution to a hidden part of it. Some cleaning solutions can be too harsh depending on the type of fabric, leading to discoloration or more damage.
  • If you’re removing a stain from silk or lace, be extra gentle. Don’t rub the stain with all your might. Instead, gently dab the stain with a mild cleaning solution.
  • If you don’t have baking soda or cornstarch, you can use salt. 
  • If you’re dealing with a stain from citrus essential oil, you can try dissolving it naturally with lemon juice. Apply it directly on the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and rinse it out with cold water.
  • You can also try dabbing the stain gently with alcohol. Rinse with cold water after. 
  • If the stain is stubborn, consider using an enzyme-based laundry stain remover.

Remember, patience is key. Some essential oil stains may need multiple treatments to remove entirely. Don’t give up on the first try. That’s good advice for anything in life really. 

And if nothing removes the stain, you can always ask a professional dry cleaning service for help.

The result from these tips may vary depending on the fabric, the essential oil, and how old the stain is. Still, with the right approach and amount of tries, you’ll successfully learn how to get essential oils out of clothes no matter what.

And once you deal with that problem, don’t forget to properly dispose of the leftover essential oil.


How long does essential oil last on fabric?

Essential oils can last on fabric anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days or more. It all depends on the type of oil, the type of fabric, and where you keep your clothes. Lighter oils dissipate quicker, but heavier ones can leave a nasty stain.

Do diluted essential oils stain clothes?

Diluted essential oils are less likely to stain clothes. Still, depending on the type of oil, the fabric, and the spilled amount, they may leave a permanent mark on your favorite shirt. Still, you can minimize the damage by acting quickly and applying the right cleaning solution.

Does peppermint oil stain clothes?

Peppermint oil can stain clothes, depending on the fabric and the spilled amount. The damage would also depend on the color and concentration of the essential oil. 

Does tea tree oil stain clothing?

Yes, tea tree oil can stain clothing, especially if you apply too much of it. If the essential oil has a dark color or is highly concentrated, it may leave a nasty stain.

How to get tea tree oil out of clothes?

To remove tea tree oil from clothes, immediately blot the excess oil, then apply dishwashing detergent to the stain. Gently rub the fabric to work the detergent into the stain. Rinse under cold water, then launder as usual.

How do you get essential oil stains out of cotton?

To remove essential oil stains from cotton, blot the excess oil, apply dishwashing detergent, and gently dab the fabric. Rinse under cold water, then launder as usual with a laundry detergent suitable for cotton. Pre-test any cleaning solution on a hidden area before use, and consider commercial stain removers for stubborn stains.

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