washing an olive oil stain out of clothes

How to Get Olive Oil Out of Clothes: Quick Step-By-Step Guide

Whether it’s a clumsy spill while putting it on your salad or more significant cooking damage, dealing with olive oil stains can be frustrating and challenging. The secret? Act quickly. The longer the oil stays on the fabric, the harder the stain will be to remove. 

In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to get olive oil out of clothes for good. We’ll tell you how to assess the damage and the fabric you’re saving. We’ll also explore alternative methods to give you more options depending on the items you already have at home.

Does Olive Oil Come out of Clothes?

Yes, olive oil can come out of clothes, but you have to deal with it quickly. The longer the stain stays on your favorite shirt, the deeper into the fabric it goes. But if you follow the steps below, you’ll have no problem getting rid of it.

Keep in mind that results may vary depending on the fabric and how old the stain is. In some cases, you may need to repeat the steps multiple times or consider alternative methods such as using a commercial stain remover for particularly stubborn stains.

Overall, cleaning olive oil spills on clothes can be frustrating, but they’re not impossible to remove. With prompt action and the right cleaning technique, you can successfully eliminate these stains and keep your favorite jeans looking their best.

How to Get Olive Oil Out of Clothes: Step-by-Step Guide

Follow the steps below to successfully remove a vegetable oil stain from your clothes.

Step 1: Act Quickly

Acting swiftly can significantly improve your chances of completely removing the stain. Here’s how to effectively this first step:

  1. Stop what you’re doing as soon as you notice the stain. Unfortunately, just like every other problem in life, if you ignore it, it will get worse. 
  2. Place a clean cloth or paper towel underneath the stained area. This will prevent the oil from spreading to the back while you blot the front.
  3. Gently blot the stained area with a clean paper towel, napkin, or cloth. Don’t rub the stain. This can spread the oil deeper into the fabric.
  4. If the paper towel or cloth absorbs too much oil, replace it with a new one. And whatever you do, don’t throw the excess oil down the drain.

Important Tip: Do not use heat to try to speed up the drying process when removing an olive oil stain from clothes. This will make the stain harder to remove.

Once you’ve blotted the area well, it’s time to check the fabric.

Step 2: Assess the Fabric

Before proceeding with the olive oil stain removal, you must assess the fabric your clothing is made of. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Check the Care Label: If you didn’t cut the care label like I usually do, the information there can save you from ruining your clothes during cleaning. The label should give you all the details on how to handle the washing and whether the garment requires special care.
  2. Identify Delicate Fabrics: Silk, wool, satin, and lace require extra care. If that’s you case, consider seeking professional cleaning or using gentler stain removal methods to avoid damaging the material.
  3. Test the Fabric: If you’re not sure what the fabric is, test a small, less visible area first. Apply your chosen cleaning method and look for any color fading, bleeding, or fabric damage.

Adjust the cleaning method depending on how delicate the material is. 

Step 3: Pre-Treatment

Pre-treating the olive oil stain on your clothes will help break down the oil and prepare the fabric for washing, increasing your chances of complete stain removal. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Apply Dishwashing Liquid or Detergent: Place a few drops of liquid dishwashing or laundry detergent onto the stained area. That’s effective for breaking down oil and grease. Gently spread the detergent over the stained area, ensuring it covers it fully.
  2. Let It Sit: Give it about 5-10 minutes for the detergent to do its magic.
  3. Scrub Gently (Optional): If the stain is stubborn or has been there for a while, you can use an old toothbrush or a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the stained area. Be careful not to damage the fabric.
  4. Rinse With Cold Water: Hold the fabric with the stained side facing down so that the water flushes out the oil and detergent, instead of pushing it further into the fabric.
  5. Inspect the Stain: If the stain is no longer visible, proceed to washing. If you can still see the stain, repeat the pre-treatment until you see significant improvement.

This method is good for cleaning the stain from cotton or polyester. Note that polyester may not always respond as well to this process as natural fibers like cotton, so you may need several pre-treatments to completely get the olive oil out of your jeans. 

If you’re dealing with a more delicate fabric, like satin, avoid vigorous rubbing, harsh chemicals, or excessive heat.

washed clothes left to air dry

Step 4: Wash

Once you’ve successfully pre-treated the olive oil stain to the point that it’s no longer visible or significantly reduced, it’s time to wash your shirt. Washing helps remove any remaining oil and detergent leftovers from the fabric.

Depending on the care label, you’ll have to either handwash or machine wash the garment to treat the olive oil stain:

  1. Handwashing: Let the stained area soak in soapy water for about 15-30 minutes. This helps lift any remaining oil and detergent residues. After soaking, use your hands or a laundry brush to gently rub the stained area. Do that until you’re confident that the stain is no longer visible.
  2. Machine Washing: Add mild detergent and start a regular cold water cycle. Use cold water unless the care label shows a different temperature.

Getting olive oil out of clothes isn’t difficult, but you might have to repeat the steps above based on your first results.

Step 5: Check for Stains

Don’t hurry to dry the garment or you might get undesirable results. You should first assess your progress:

  1. Inspect the Stain: If you can still see the stain, don’t dry the garment, as heat can set the stain. Instead, repeat the pre-treatment (Step 3) and wash until you achieve the desired results.
  2. Dry Appropriately: If you successfully got rid of the olive oil stain, you can safely dry the garment according to the care label. Avoid using high heat unless you’re sure the stain is completely gone. If you’re not sure, it’s best to air-dry the garment.

By following these washing instructions, your clothing will be free from any traces of olive oil and detergent. Remember to be patient and thorough for the best results.

Alternative Methods

If you’ve tried the steps above and the stain persists, or if you prefer alternative methods to remove the olive oil stain, here are two effective solutions:

Baking Soda and Vinegar

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Cold water


  1. Blot the stained area with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  2. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda directly onto the stain.
  3. Wet the clean cloth or sponge with white vinegar.
  4. Dab the vinegar-soaked cloth onto the baking soda-covered stain. You should see a fizzing reaction as the two substances interact.
  5. Gently scrub the stain with the cloth or sponge.
  6. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  7. Check for any remaining stains and repeat the steps if needed.

This is probably the best way to get olive oil out of clothes. Baking soda + vinegar is a killer combination for getting rid of olive or essential oil stains on your clothes.

Commercial Stain Removers

What you’ll need:

  • Commercial stain remover for oil or grease stains — The Emergency Stain Rescue Spray is incredibly effective as long as you follow the instructions correctly. It doesn’t smell great, but it will get the job done.
  • Cold water

How to proceed:

Follow the product’s instructions. For most stain removers, you apply the product, let it sit for a specified time, and then wash the garment as usual.

Important Notes: 

  • Test before you apply. There’s always a chance of the fabric not tolerating the stain remover well. 
  • Do not leave the stain remover on your favorite shirt for longer than the specified time. Otherwise, you risk damaging your clothes.

Now you know how to get olive oil out of clothes with really stubborn stains. After applying a commercial stain remover, you should still wash the garment to ensure the fabric is clean and free of any residue.


Are olive oil stains permanent?

Olive oil stains aren’t necessarily permanent, but that might depend on the fabric type, stain age, and your stain removal efforts. Quick action and proper cleaning can often completely remove these stains, but older or stubborn stains may be more challenging to deal with.

What is the fastest way to get oil out of clothes?

The fastest way to get oil out of clothes is to act immediately. Blot the excess oil with a paper towel or cloth, then apply a generous amount of dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent to the stain. Rub the fabric to work in the detergent, rinse with cold water, and repeat if necessary.

Will baking soda remove oil stains on clothes?

Baking soda can remove oil stains on clothes, especially if you combine it with vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda on the oil stain, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then scrub with a damp cloth or sponge. Note that you may have to repeat the process on more stubborn stains.

Will vinegar remove grease from clothes?

Yes, vinegar can help remove grease stains from clothes. Apply white vinegar directly to the grease stain, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then blot or scrub gently with a cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and repeat if necessary for stubborn stains.

Does OxiClean get olive oil out of clothes?

OxiClean can effectively remove olive oil stains from clothes. Mix it with water to create a paste, apply it to the stain, and allow it to sit for the recommended time. Then, wash the garment as usual. Still, consider a home remedy to remove an oil stain from clothes, like a mix of baking soda and vinegar.

Does Shout remove olive oil stains?

Yes, Shout can help remove olive oil stains from clothes. Apply it directly to the olive oil stain, rub it in gently, and let it sit for a few minutes before washing the garment.

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