HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Removing Oil Stains From Fabric - Any foolproof methods?

The best I've found so far is to rub Palmolive dish soap into fresh oil stains. This doesn't always work though.

What do you do?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: catrn

      I've never tried Dawn catrn, thanks.

      1. re: catrn

        I agree. I always use Dawn dish soap. Get's out grease stains from my t-shirts. You know, when you drip salad dressing on yourself! Just squirt on some Dawn and let it set. I even let it set overnight and it gets the grease stain out.

          1. re: jamieeats

            I can't believe how well this works and can't thank catrn enough for this amazing tip!!

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              I really dislike Dawn, the smell stays on the dishes/glasses. So, I don't want to run out and buy some; do you think this would work with my Ajax dishwashing liquid?

              1. re: walker

                Dawn is supposed to be particularly good for breaking up oil. They have more than one fragrance, though.

                1. re: walker

                  I agree w Ruth, in the past I'd tried Palmolive (my usual brand),Sunlight and neither worked as thoroughly and consistently as the Dawn does. I keep it in my laundry room as it doesn't get used for dishes.

                  1. re: walker

                    Any dishwashing liquid will work, unless it is one of those awful bottles they sell at the dollar store which is watered down to nothing. I have had great success no matter the brand.

                    1. re: Steve

                      If it says grease cutting it should be fine. We have Wegmans brand and it works well.

              2. re: Jpan99

                With all these raves about Dawn, I went out and bought a bottle to keep in my laundry room. I'll try it on the next greasy stain I encounter.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  I was raised to believe name brand stuff was a waste of money, my mom always bought generic but my husband's business comes with a lot of greasy, oily (industrial) messes and I learned over the years that Dawn truly does a better job on oil and grease.

                  I don't know what makes it different but some of our suppliers specify that Dawn is not to be used when checking for air leaks in lines so there must be something in the formula.

                  I keep a spray bottle filled 50/50 with Dawn and water in the laundry room to use on food/oil stains.

                  Another product I like is OxyBoost. It is the effective ingredient in OxyClean, just without the fillers. I have a little kid and I have yet to encounter a stain that a long term soak in OxyBoost can get out.

              3. re: catrn

                about 3 weeks ago I decided to revisit Dawn detergent.
                face it, it's pricier than other detergents. < how much better could it be?
                haven't noticed a difference in dish washing but hubby got pot roast gravy on his favorite tee shirt last night with first bite of dinner. < dork. anyway I came in here to see the answers and I'll see how well it does on removing stain from his tee. I'll report back.

                1. re: iL Divo

                  well guess what? stain completely gone.
                  I saturated every place on the tee shirt the gravy got on.
                  rubbed it with finger nail to make sure it went all the way into the fabric.
                  did inside out with the Dawn too just in case.
                  washed in washer, took outside to dry.
                  it's all gone, I'm thrilled, thanks.

                  we were always big fans of LOC by Amway but they don't make it anymore ...
                  wahhhhhhhhh :(

                  1. re: iL Divo

                    They don't?? Amway is dead to me, in that case. I put up with the aggressive sales staff JUST for LOC. No more.

                2. re: catrn

                  catrn, here it is, almost 2 years since my OP and I still think of you each and every time I pull my Dawn out of the laundry cabinet. Dawn has never, ever failed me. The toughest, oldest stains come out in one wash. I share your tip with others on a regular basis. You've save me a lot of clothing over the years and I'm back to thank-you again for such valuable advice.

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    I've used it for decades because it's so high in surfactants that grease doesn't stand a chance.

                    1. re: mcf

                      Is it too OT to mention that for the same reason it's excellent for drying out occasional skin outbreaks.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Very interesting Joan. Good to know.

                      2. re: mcf

                        I had to Google surfactants mcf (hanging head in shame) but having read the info, this makes total sense. It's nice to find such an effective product and even better that it's so inexpensive.

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs


                          And don't forget that Healthy Harvest surfactants are great for flushing turkey fryer oil out of your car's windshield washer solution reservoir!

                            1. re: JoanN

                              Told the tale in this thread once before. But thanks. ;-)


                      3. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Since this post, I've been keeping a bottle of Dawn in my laundry room cabinet. It works great!

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          Hey Breadcrumbs, et al- I have a t-shirt that I love but it has some horrendous stains, not grease, I think it was a rogue chapstick that sneaked into the dryer. Dawn doesn't touch it, tried it half a dozen times with varying soak times. Do you have any fixes for old grease/wax stains?

                          1. re: EWSflash

                            I'm not Breadcrumbs, but I've had luck with a line of products (in the US) called "Carbona." It's a 1.5 oz bottle, yellow, and it comes in different formulations--I had luck getting out lip balm stains with the "ink & crayon" version. Good luck. (P.S. In my store, it's in the laundry aisle, with the Shout and other stuff.)

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              try stretching taut the material (reverse side up) over something that will catch/drain hot water, and pour boiling water with about 15% vinegar from a height of a few inches.

                              that should help with the waxy part.

                          2. re: catrn

                            Many years ago, we were having drainage put in our backyard and the trench was being sealed with tar before being filled with rocks. Our cat got out and decided he could leap over that trench. He could not and we ended up with a tar covered cat. We managed to get him inside and as I am chasing a tar covered cat in an increasingly tar covered house (we found paw prints for months) I'm yelling to my husband "Call the vet Call The Vet CALL THE VET!!!!!

                            He did and the vets advice? Dawn dish detergent. Do not try any other brand, just Dawn.

                            It didn't completely do it so we had to go to his Plan B (which did work). But very interesting stuff - I never thought to use it for oil on clothing. I'm off to buy a bottle!

                            1. re: happybaker

                              If it's good enough to wash crude oil from penguins, it's certainly good enough to wash tar from a cat.

                              1. re: mpjmph

                                Doesn't remove chapstick from t-shirts, though, unless I'm missing a technique

                                1. re: EWSflash

                                  Chapstick is a petroleum product rather than a vegetable oil or animal fat, so it might require something different to remove it.

                                  1. re: sandylc

                                    carbona might work. That was my mother's weapon of choice for a lot of stains.

                                    1. re: DGresh

                                      Great minds...didn't see your post, and I just posted about Carbona. Good stuff. I keep several of their formulations on hand.

                            2. re: catrn

                              I purchased a shirt from someone online with an oil stain I washed it and it never came out.. would using dawn still work or is the stain set for good?

                              1. re: loveliverayray

                                If you scroll to the bottom of this thread, you'll see a post by parent recommending talcum powder. I've had great success with Dawn in the past, but I just recently tried the talcum powder on a grease stain that had been through the washer and dryer at least twice. I rubbed the powder in and let it sit a few days until I got around to doing the laundry. Took it right out. I was very impressed. Certainly worth a try.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Funny you say that Joan. I had an oil stain while in China. I didn't have my Dawn w me but I did have baby powder. I was VERY impressed...worked like a charm!

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    I also have had good results with Dawn but recently tried the talcum powder and was very impressed with how well it worked.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Much of the "talcum powder" today is "pure cornstarch". Must it be true talcum, or is cornstarch equally good?

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        Don't know the answer to that. I used Johnson's Baby Powder. Must have been something I picked up at the hospital since it's labelled "Hospital Package; Not for Resale." It does say, though, on the back, ""Soft, pure, silky powder, made from finest talc," and "Active ingredient: Talc." No idea whether that's true of all Johnson's Baby Powder or just that packaged for hospitals.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          This came up in this thread (further down) a couple of years ago. Johnson's baby powder is talc, not cornstarch: http://www.johnsonsbaby.com/products/...

                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                            Ah. Hadn't seen (or perhaps just hadn't remembered) your earlier post. Interesting that the J&J link says one of the ingredients is "fragrance" and the container I have does not. Perhaps they make one without added scent for hospitals? Anyway, good to know. I suspect that from now on I'll be traveling with a small container of Johnson's Baby Powder.

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                              Interesting. I am currently holding in my hands a container of Johnson & "Johnson's Baby Powder" and it is labeled "Pure Cornstarch"! They obviously make 2 versions of baby powder.

                                        2. re: JoanN

                                          While not clothing, I splashed olive oil on my (unsealed) tumbled stone backsplash just 1 week after it was installed. Tried everything to absorb it, and I ended up with success using just straight cornstarch. Took a couple of tries (vertical tile won't hold the product!), but worked great in the long run. Certainly sealed those tiles afterwards.

                                          1. re: pine time

                                            Porous Plus, cannot do without it!

                                        3. re: loveliverayray

                                          I have a friend who swears by Lestoil for oil/grease stains that are already set-in. Have not tried it myself. I assume you work it into the stain full-strength, and let it sit, then rinse it out with warm water.

                                      2. Arm & Hammer baking soda. Rub it into the stain and it will absorb the oil, flick off the excess, then brush with a slightly damp or dry towel. Depending on the fabric, often you can even wear it right away. Stubborn ones may need a washing afterwards, with a little Shout stain treatment.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: purple bot

                                          I'll have to try this the next time we have a concentrated stain. Unfortunately most are splatters or spays of oil/butter. Good idea, and I always have A&H on hand. Thank-you!

                                          1. re: purple bot

                                            If it's an old stain, wet it first?

                                          2. Shout with Resolve seems to work really well...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: inaplasticcup

                                              This is the method I would use. I used to use Spray and Wash, but that product has been discontinued. In my experience Dawn is overrated. It doesn't budge greasy residue on my kitchen cabinets for instance. And there was that article by Cons. Rep. recently that indicated that all liquid dish detergents were pretty much equal.

                                              It helps to soak the stain before washing in the Shout/Resolve, or other laundry stain remover.

                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                ina & sueatmo thanks. Not sure if the formulation is different here in Canada but I haven't had consistent results with the Shout w Resolve here.

                                            2. Yep. Never knew about this until about a year ago - thought oil stains can't be removed. Cue any dish detergent. Works like a charm.

                                              Now.... soy sauce stains -- there's a tricky one.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                I had a nice new white shirt on in a sushi restaurant one evening, and managed to splash a good amount of soy sauce on my sleeve. There goes 80 bucks, said I. The head chef saw it and in the best Japanese tradition got that stern look and said "crub soDAH!" Someone brought a bottle of club soda, which he suggested I pour on the stain. I did, it disappeared like magic, still use it on soy sauce to this day.

                                                1. re: Sasqatch

                                                  Interesting! I thought soy stains are the end. Good to know.

                                                  1. re: Sasqatch

                                                    In her stand up days, Ellen Degeneres had an entire routine on flight attendants and club soda. It was a riot. Nice to know flight attendants and sushi chefs have something in common!

                                                    1. re: Sasqatch

                                                      i hear club soda is good for red wine stains, too, but haven't had to try that yet.

                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                        I've used it, with success, on a fresh red wine stain on white carpet. (When neighbors saw our moving truck getting stuff into the house, they "knew" we didn't have kids when they saw the white couch and white carpet.)

                                                  2. Oxi Clean powder in the little tabs or the Oxi Clean in a spray bottle. I swear by it to clean my husband's greasy work clothes. And we're talking motor oil, hydraulic oil and gear grease.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: vafarmwife

                                                      That's interesting vafarmwife, I've used Oxi Clean on wine stains but never oil and grease. Thanks for the idea.

                                                      1. re: vafarmwife

                                                        OxiClean has a relatively new product that is a gel formulation. I find this to be much more effective than the spray bottle for spot treating clothes prior to washing.

                                                        For things like work clothes, I would think that pre-soaking would be best?

                                                        1. re: vafarmwife

                                                          I am using the spray and it has been the best stain remover so far although oil can be stubborn. Better than shout and zout.

                                                        2. Dawn, Shout,Oxi Clean,Spray and wash and the rest work on rather fresh oil/grease stains but if you have older oil stains that you've run through the wash and dry cycle numerous times, try to find Stain Devils by Carbona. There are several types depending on the stains.Blood,wine,dye.ink,oil and some others but it's only worth it on old,stubborn dried in stains.
                                                          I used it on years old grease stains on some black polo shirts that was regulated to car and yard work and now completely stain free.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: Duppie

                                                            Duppie where do you buy Stain Devils? Do you find it at your supermarket or a specialty store? I'm excited to find this!! Thanks!

                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                              Here in New Jersey I buy it at our local grocery chain called Shoprite and the most popular are always the ones for blood,oil/grease, and wine . They are usually in the laundry detergent aisle in 1.7 oz yellow containers. good luck.

                                                              1. re: Duppie

                                                                Thanks Duppie, if I can't find them here I'll pick some up next time we're in Buffalo. Much appreciated!!

                                                            2. re: Duppie

                                                              Also vouching for Stain Devils - love the different varieties. I get them at my regular grocery store.

                                                              1. re: Duppie

                                                                I use "goo gone" which is also great on chewing gum. It's petroleum based which I think is really the only thing that works well on oil stains.

                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                  I used to soak my aprons and whites in Super Clean by castrol and it worked very well on grease stains but I ended up smelling like a scrubbed garage floor.

                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                    An update on goo-gone. I don't know if they've changed the formula, or I've just had some weird trouble, but I had a small oil stain on a cotton t-shirt, and when I sprayed it with goo-gone and washed it, I ended up with an even bigger dark stain on the shirt, as if the goo-gone itself was leaving an oil stain. I tried using dishwashing detergent (I happened to have palmolive on the kitchen counter). I drizzled it over the area lightly, then used my finger to kind of smear it around the dark area. I didn't use very much because I have a front-loader that doesn't use much water. It completely removed the stain- I was very pleased.

                                                                2. I've found that dish detergents and hand soaps work just as well, and sometimes better, than laundry soaps, especially if I use a wet toothbrush to gently work the soap into the spots themselves (I let it sit for a bit after that, before putting it into the washing machine). My boyfriend comes home spattered with butter and oil, and I've found that just soaking the shirt with whatever I was using didn't cut it. But the toothbrush works every time.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                    Hah, I've just been rubbing w the dish soap oadl. I'll see how I make out w the toothbrush, good idea!!

                                                                  2. If we're talking oil on a fine piece of clothing, say a silk shirt or even fine cotton, the safest bet is dry cleaning.

                                                                    1. I've found that, of the laundry pre-wash treatments I've tried, Zout is way more effective than Shout or Spray 'n Wash, and OxiClean can bleach darker colors. But I'm going to be looking for Stain Devils, now.

                                                                      1. Saw test results recently, don't recall where, that Shout Advanced Action Gel is the most effective of the pre-wash treatment products. Been using it ever since and I think it works better than Dawn, which is what I used to use.

                                                                        I've also had good experiences with a product called Greased Lightning. It's great for grease that can build up in the kitchen over time (at least, in my kitchen) and I've gotten out some badly set in grease stains on clothing with it as well.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                          Have you found a solution for those stains I call "shadow" stains? You've treated the stain, you've washed the garment, and yet there is a remaining stain that is particularly apparent on dark fabrics.

                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                            I've had some success, but not total, with the Shout Advanced product. Problem is, once you've dried the garment, the stain is much more difficult to remove, and those stains are very hard to see on damp, dark, material. It often takes several treatments. It also seems to help if you pre-treat and then let the garment sit for a few days before washing.

                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              It's not foolproof, but my MO is, if possible, to get the pretreatment on the garment ASAP, even if I won't be washing it right away, then hang it to dry rather than put it in the dryer - especially with darker things where it's not always apparent whether it came out when it's still wet. Unfortunately, IME, it's dark things where the stains are most likely to elude me in the first place and become set in the dryer before I discover them.

                                                                        2. Here's a method I was taught by a friend in the fabric treating business. Has worked every time, on all fabrics. Baby powder. Here are the steps:
                                                                          1. Layout garment on a flat surface with stained area smoothed out.
                                                                          2. Liberally sprinkle power on stain.
                                                                          3. Tap in gently with finger.
                                                                          4. Allow to sit overnight.
                                                                          5. Over the bath tub (or out on the back porch), brush off with a good clothes brush. (You may
                                                                          have to brush vigorously on a flat surface to get out the powder that got absorbed into fabric.)
                                                                          6. Look at stained area and say, WOW, that really works!

                                                                          It has never failed me.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: CocoDan

                                                                            Re baby powder, are you using the talc baby powder or the corn starch baby powder?

                                                                            1. re: shallots

                                                                              I beleive J&J baby powder is corn startch. It has worked 100% of the time for me, except once when there was a little bit of tomato mixed in with the oil. I'm forever splashing salad dressing on my dress shirts. Oil always comes out.

                                                                                1. re: CocoDan

                                                                                  So- cornstarch- doesn't smell like a dirty diaper

                                                                              1. re: CocoDan

                                                                                We were in Rome once when my husband splashed olive oil all over a brand new shirt. The waiter came running over with what appeared to be a spray can filled with powder. He sprayed it on the oily spots, we left it on the shirt overnight and the next morning the stains were pretty much gone!

                                                                                I will have to try the Dawn dishwashing liquid trick one of these days.

                                                                              2. There's a product called "Incredible" that I always keep on hand that does an "incredible" job on grease stains. I buy it at Bed Bath & Beyond. I squirt it onto the stain straight from the bottle. I let it soak in for a minute or so, then I pour a little liquid laundry detergent on top of the treated spot and pop the garment into the wash along with the rest of the laundry and remaining detergent. It's really pretty amazing stuff. It's best to use it when the stain first occurs, but I've even used it a couple of days afterward with remarkable results.

                                                                                1. Lestoil is a very, very heavy duty detergent that always works for me. It is very thick, almost a gel. You prewash the item (or just wet it), pour the stuff on the spot, and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Warning--it has a very strong smell. Rinse well (it will take a lot of water to get the smell out), let dry and repeat if needed. It's a hassle but this stuff works. I can't find it in the Bay Area so bring it back from NYC when I visit.

                                                                                  1. Thanks so much to everyone who posted their great suggestions and T&T methods here. I'm back to report that I'm thrilled to have found a method that works for me!!!

                                                                                    I picked up a bottle of Dawn dish detergent and haven't looked back. I pour it on the stain, rub it in, allow it to sit (timeframe depends on how old the stain is) and . . . I have yet to find a stain this wonderful detergent can't tackle! I even pulled out my most stained cooking shirts and they all came clean!! I can't believe it!

                                                                                    Thanks so much again to everyone!

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                      Dawn is very high in surfactants, that's why it also dries your skin so much, cuts grease so well. If you ever need to amp up the grease removal (like when the windshield washer container of my car was filled with turkey fryer oil by mistake) just by a refill bottle of concentrated Healthy Harvest fruit and vegetable cleaner. I didn't have to replace the car reservoir after using it to remove the turkey oil residue, and no longer smell fried turkey every time I spritz.

                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                        I venture that there is a really funny story there.....
                                                                                        Frier oil deposited in a old washer fluid bottle and forgotten in the garage....cold dark rainy morning....curses that can never be repeated again if you tried... yep been there.

                                                                                        1. re: Duppie

                                                                                          Got the first part right. Sent DD to the garage to get a refill and didn't notice the color was off til the brown sediment at the bottom appeared as she was pouring it in... Husband too embarrassed to take it to dealer (he'd left it there for MONTHS as if it might go up in value, his habit). The day I forgot NOT to use it when empty, I was blinded by the smear of grease and smell of T'day gone rancid. But it makes my recommendation of Healthy Harvest concentrate all the more persuasive for the grease that ails ya, dontcha think? After having it siphoned out by the dealer, it took a few cycles of fresh washer fluid with high amounts of HH added to get it completely clear.

                                                                                        2. re: mcf

                                                                                          I have never heard anything like this before - no one will top this one.

                                                                                      2. What ever soap, detergent or stain remover you use, work the stain from both sides of the fabric when ever possible.

                                                                                        1. Another remedy is artifical sweetener. I saw this on a tv segment with Hints from Heloise. She poured olive oil on a silk blouse. Then she put sweetener on the stain to help blot it. The sweetener is so fine that it goes into the stain and absorbs. Let it sit and then wash the garment. I tried it with a pair of khakis that I spilled on and it did work. You can do it right at a restaurant -- depending on where the stain is.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                            Agree with rednails, Lestoil is fantastic. It even gets out old grease/oil stains on clothes. Or you can buy Naptha which is very strong but works like crazy. I keep it in a spray bottle in my laundry room and the Lestoil in an old dish detergent bottle with the pull up top. Easy to apply!

                                                                                          2. Dawn USED to make a product that was supposed to allow you to put things like casseroles (that you KNEW would not come out spotless) into dishwasher... think it was called Dawn Power Dissolver?? In a spray bottle and came out like a loose foam. Had that slippery consistency of spray oven cleaner with NO nasty fumes. Used for intended purpose... only so so imo. BUT work great on OLD food stains as a pre-soak. Have a few beige, terry-something oven mitts that work great but ALWAYS end up with gunk on the thumb and finger area. A pre-soak with other products and then hot water wash with bleach got out most of the schmutz, but they never were totally clean. I liberally applied the Power Dissolver and just let them hang around will wash day. Just about EVERY OLD stain came out completely. Unfortunately, seems to a product that's no longer around??

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: kseiverd

                                                                                                searched for it on the web and found it at Walmart. :-)

                                                                                              2. I have a product called Simple Green. It works on everything. My son (many years ago) brought his bike in the house to work on and got bike grease all over my rug. Simple Green took it out and you would never have known it was there. You can also use it in your washer (where you can't use Dawn in any quantity).

                                                                                                1. I've said this before on this thread but I think it bears repeating. Yes, detergents such as Palmolive or Dawn dish soaps may work some of the time, but if you are trying to remove a grease stain from something of value...a silk shirt, a cashmere sweater, a fine linen tablecloth, using a detergent may ruin the item, or make the stain more difficult to remove. If you know that the stain is oil-based, by far the safest approach is to take the item to a good professional dry cleaner

                                                                                                  1. We used to own a laundromat/laundry service.

                                                                                                    For oil, wine and other stains the only thing that worked was Spray'n'Wash. It removed most stains, however it sometimes changed the colour of certain fabrics, particularly the darks.

                                                                                                    If that didn't work I would soak the area overnight in a 50/50 solution of phosphate-free perfume-free liquid soap and oxy-bleach. This was also the only way to remove mildew stains, but the piece had to be cold-washed,dried and more solution applied several times.

                                                                                                    One of our customers showed us the following and it stunned us. Her husband had a small blood stain on the front of a light coloured shirt. "Come here," she said. "Spit on this!" She then proceeded to work the saliva into the stain and it slowly came out and was totally gone after washing!

                                                                                                    Apparently this works only with the saliva of the person whose blood caused the stain.

                                                                                                    And, of course, washing any stain in hot water causes it to set - use cold.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: DockPotato

                                                                                                      Never heard of the saliva for blood stains, but on light-colored fabrics, hydrogen peroxide is magic on blood stains. The fresher the blood, the better it works, but it's still worth trying on dried but unwashed blood stains. Pour on (it will foam just as it would on a wound), work in, rinse and wash in cold water. Only on light-colored fabric, though; peroxide will bleach dark or saturated colors.

                                                                                                    2. Indian food and silk tend to go together. Put some baby powder over the stain and place a hankie on top of it. Then iron on high heat without steam. Usually, this will remove the stain for clothes that are usually dry cleaned.

                                                                                                      1. Lestoil. I ate some (very tasty!) cioppino the other night and got just one spot, high and center, on my tee-shirt. I wet the shirt, poured Lestoil on it and let it soak overnight. Next morning, I rinsed the shirt and saw there was still a bit of an oil spot on it. Reapplied Lestoil, rinsed again a few hours later - spot completely gone.

                                                                                                        Warning on this stuff--if left in the original plastic bottle, the bottle will eventually disintegrate. I have learned to transfer it into a glass jar.

                                                                                                        1. Talcum Powder. Cover the oil stain with talcum powder and rub it in a little. Then leave it to sit for 24 hours. Wash it. The oil will all come out. Even oil that has been there three years and was set with a clothes dryer! (If 24 hours doesn't get it all out, the person who told me about this trick said then give it 48 hours, but I have never needed it.) Talcum powder absorbs all the oil and works like magic.

                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: parent

                                                                                                            I assume Johnson's Baby Powder, or will any powder work? I wonder what the active ingredient is? Cornstarch, as someone noted upthread?

                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              I specifically avoided the cornstarch ones and bought talcum powder. Not sure if the cornstarch would have worked as well as i didn't try it.

                                                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                Talc is getting tough to find these days. Original formula Johnson's Baby powder is still talc + fragrance.

                                                                                                                1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                  But…Johnson's also makes baby powder which is "pure cornstarch" and at our local pharmacy, this seems to be more commonly stocked than talcum!

                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                    Last I hear they make both.

                                                                                                                    Babies supposedly are not supposed to breath talc - not good for their lungs, they say.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                      Talc used by women in the groin area has been implicated in gynecological cancers, according to my oncologist.

                                                                                                                  2. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                    I bought store brand (Shoprite) which was talc+fragrance

                                                                                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  When you get an oily drip while dining out, reach for a packet of artificial sweetener and rub it in right away.
                                                                                                                  The actual amount of sweetening agent is very small - powders or starch are added for bulk. They will absorb the oil and keep it from spreading through the fabric.

                                                                                                                1. Carbona's line of spot removers includes one for cooking oils/grease that works very well. I keep the entire set in my laundry room.

                                                                                                                  1. timing is everything. i was reading this thread yesterday.
                                                                                                                    today in the store i dropped an entire glass bottle of sesame oil ("Cleanup on aisle seven!"), which splattered everywhere including my pants. couldn't get home right away, but two hours later i hit all the spots with Dawn. all good.

                                                                                                                    1. Repeat message...but still really important!!! I've said this before on this thread but I think it bears repeating. Yes, detergents such as Palmolive or Dawn dish soaps may work some of the time, but if you are trying to remove a grease stain from something of value...a silk shirt, a cashmere sweater, a fine linen tablecloth, using a detergent may ruin the item, or make the stain more difficult to remove. If you know that the stain is oil-based, by far the safest approach is to take the item to a good professional dry cleaner. For something of value, this should be the first step, not something to try after the talc or the Dawn approach fails!

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                        Jo- I suspect people would rather spend ~$4 on a bottle of multipurpose cleaner than ~$4 per stained garment.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                          But, as I said "on something of value". Yes, I'd much rather spend $5 to dry clean an oil-stained silk shirt or cashmere sweater worth perhaps $100 or even much more, than to risk setting the stain and ruining the garment by using talc, Dawn or whatever else. For "something of value", I would definitely leave it to the professionals...without thinking twice!!

                                                                                                                      2. Warning?
                                                                                                                        I am the family food spiller and have gone running off to restaurant restrooms many a time.
                                                                                                                        Be careful with hand soaps, and even some dish detergents (Palmolive here's looking at you) because they include a skin protectant. That's why GoJo doesn't work -> takes out one stain but trades it for another.
                                                                                                                        Last night I probably ruined a shirt I borrowed from TeenHound (she's away for the week) because I decided to treat myself to "liquid butter" on the popcorn at the movies. Shirt looks like I was misted with Wesson.

                                                                                                                        1. Based on all the great comments in this thread, I just tried Carbona Stain Devil #5 on a pair of dark gray cotton twill pants. I had somehow managed to sit on some kind of oil at a restaurant and had a dark stain on the back pocket. I'd washed and dried them before I knew it was there.

                                                                                                                          Following another site's suggestion, I tried baking soda followed by scrubbing with dish detergent and washing in hot water. I then dried them again. Stain still there. Now they've been dried twice.

                                                                                                                          Yesterday I purchased Carbona at my grocery store. Soaked the stain and scrubbed it into the area with a toothbrush. Let them sit for a few hours then rinsed the area thoroughly with warm water and let them air dry overnight.

                                                                                                                          Checked this morning: Stain is entirely gone. I was shocked and thrilled. It's like a miracle, couldn't be happier, I highly recommend it. Thank you for all of the suggestions!

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: magalia

                                                                                                                            Yes, that line of stain removers is magical. I have them lined up on the shelf above the washer and dryer.

                                                                                                                          2. Shampoo (made to remove grease from hair)