Essential oils are good for so many things, like calming and relaxation, or helping you to breathe easier. Unfortunately, when you apply them to your skin, they can readily get onto your clothing. The resulting ‘grease’ stain is difficult to remove with regular washing, but what can you do about it? Is it time to throw out that blouse you love? Luckily, you don’t have to live with stains, nor should you throw out the clothing. I’ll give you several different methods for removing essential oil stains. Moreover, all of these techniques work on other oil stains as well. Instead of worry and waste, you’ll be a spot treatment expert when you’re done reading this. Removing essential oil doesn’t need to be a headache. With these smart life hacks, you’ll have your favorite shirt looking like new in no time.
How do I get essential oils out of clothing? You can get essential oil out of clothing with dawn dish detergent. Not only is it gentle enough to get marine oil spills out of wildlife, but it can save your favorite shirt as well. The same ingredients that decrease your dishes will help lift that essential oil right out of fabrics.
Using Dawn to Remove Essential Oil Stains
My go-to method for essential oil stain removal has always been dish soap. Most of the time, this simple and effective cleaning method is all you need to get oil out of clothing. Follow the easy steps below to treat a fresh essential oil stain.
- Blot any excess oil with a washcloth or paper towel to remove as much as possible before treatment.
- Using a few drops of Dawn dish soap, cover the stain. It shouldn’t take much. Often a drop or two will do the job.
- Scrub the soap into the fabric. I use a dish brush just as I would for greasy pots and pans. However, you may want to use a soft cloth or dish sponge if the fabric is delicate.
- If necessary, turn the fabric inside out and treat the other side. This is more common for thick, winter-weight materials.
- Place your pre-treated fabric in a laundry basket and wash it as usual.
- If you plan to do laundry immediately, I suggest giving the soap a minute or two to help it lift the grease stain.
Pick up a three-pack of Dawn Ultra Platinum Advanced Power from Amazon. This particular variety of Dawn has four times the grease-fighting power, making it ideal for oil stains. Not only is Dawn gentile enough for live animals and human skin, but it’s strong enough to handle deep stains. Have Dawn delivered to your door when you order right here.
How Dish Soap Works on Oil
If you’ve ever seen footage of an oil spill and the affected animals, then you already know this particular brand is used to help save their lives. Scrubbing off industrial oil is no mean feat. However, that doesn’t explain why Dawn works so well.
The answer is simple enough to summarize. A soap molecule has two sides. One is hydrophobic and avoids water, while the other end is hydrophilic and attracts water. Like the opposite poles of a magnet, these two sides work together to create the whole molecule.
The hydrophobic end of the soap molecule attaches to the grease or oil, and the other side attaches to water. The result is that you end up with micro drops of oil suspended inside water.
If you want to see this for yourself, get a clear glass, some cooking oil, and some water. When you pour a small amount of oil and water into the same clear cup, you can see the separation. That makes it hard for water to wash away oil because they can’t mix without help.
Now add some dawn dish soap and stir things up. You’ll see how the solvent allows the oil and water to mix. While they aren’t genuinely touching, the soap creates a barrier around the oil droplets that water can mix with and wash away.
Get Oil Stains Out with Coca Cola
Sometimes it’s not a delicate blouse you stained with essential oils. If you accidentally pour a whole bottle on your jeans or knock one into the laundry hamper, then you have a much bigger mess. Moreover, sometimes we all run out of dish soap.
No problem. You can use another handy household item to get rid of that oil. Simply dump a can of Coca Cola into your wash along with the regular soap and damaged items. Diet Coke works just fine as well.
Sodas contain carbonic and phosphoric acid, which is also why it stings when you hold them inside your mouth for too long. These acids will help break up and remove your essential oil stains in no time. Plus, it’s safe to add a second or third can if you have a big mess on your hands.
Are you running out of soda at home? Have a ten pack of Coke Classic bottles delivered. You don’t need ‘cans,’ just the liquid inside. Make sure you stash a couple of them in the laundry room for oil emergencies instead of drinking. Get yours from Amazon when you click here.
Go Natural to Remove Essential Oil Stains
For those who don’t ‘do’ soda, there’s still plenty of ways to remove essential oil stains from clothing. Try putting baking soda on a fresh essential oil stain instead. Scrub the powder into the mostly dry fabric with a medium-stiff bristled brush, and let it absorb your oil for twenty to thirty minutes.
The baking soda may discolor as it absorbs oils. If this happens, use a flat side of a butter knife to scrape that oily baking soda off the garment. Repeat the soda-treatment until it no longer becomes discolored.
Keep in mind that essential oils can transfer from one layer of clothing to the next. You don’t want to cause a new spot. Use a thin piece of plastic or some cardboard between stains and unstained fabric to keep the oil in place as you work.
Next, add some dish or laundry soap to the area and scrub again. You can let this sit for half an hour if the stain is particularly bad. Then toss it in the washing machine on the hottest possible setting for your fabric.
Use regular laundry detergent and a half to a full cup of white vinegar. You don’t want apple cider vinegar because it’s less potent and has a color. The vinegar reacts chemically with the baking soda to help remove stains. Meanwhile, the soap bonds to the oils and also helps pull them out of the fabric.
Remove Essential Oil From Clothing with WD40
What do you do with an old, set-in essential oil stain in your clothing? Sometimes we miss something, forget about it or set it aside. Then that greasy little problem bonds to the fabric. Don’t worry. All is not lost.
I have another trick up my sleeve for getting out older stains. For this, you’ll need a can of WD40 and some heavy-duty laundry detergent. It will take a little bit longer to remove an old stain than a fresh one, but this should save your favorite fashions.
I recommend a pack of WD-40 Multi-Purpose Lubricant from Amazon. You can keep some with your laundry supplies. You’ll never have to worry about those oil stains with a can of this surprising stuff around the house. The rest can go with your other household repair products for squeaky door hinges and other uses. Check out the Amazon reviews right here.
WD40 Stain Removal
Follow these steps to remove that set-in essential oil stain from your clothing. Using an industrial lubricant might seem counterintuitive, but it’s surprisingly effective.
- Spray the stain with WD40. Be generous and make sure you cover the whole thing, front, and back. This helps make the stain fresh again, so it will come out like you just spilled.
- Set the garment aside for at least half an hour. You may want to wait a full hour if the stain is ancient, or the fabric is thicker. Don’t mess with it or scrub it into the fabric.
- Next, you’ll want to rinse thoroughly with hot water. A sink sprayer is ideal for this, but you can hold it under the tap if necessary. Get as much of the WD40 out as possible, ideally, all of it.
- Grab that heavy-duty laundry detergent, and spot treat the remaining stain. Now you can scrub the clothing, but don’t rinse it at all yet.
- Leave the detergent covered stain to set for about half an hour. Again, you can wait longer, and some people prefer to let the shirt dry for about an hour before washing.
- Wash again in the hottest water the fabric can take. It’s okay to toss some materials into a large pot of boiling water on the stove.
- Repeat these steps until the stain is gone, or there’s no improvement.
While almost all stains will come out, on rare occasions, you might have a stain from the color of the oil. Unfortunately, that is like dying fabric, and there’s nothing you can do other than bleach it, re-dye the whole piece or cover it up with a clever patch.
Whenever possible, treat your essential oil stains as soon as they happen. The faster you act, the less likely those spots are to remain on your clothing stubbornly. Still, with these four simple tricks, you should be able to get most oil stains out, even if they’ve set in.
Keep in mind some oils have natural colors from the plants they come from. Jasmine, Patchouli, Tangerine, and German Chamomile are all examples of oils that can stain from the natural dye rather than the oils. Additionally, some carrier oils might have color in them. Oil removal and color removal are not the same, but if you act quickly, these cleaning methods might help you prevent color staining as well.
When putting essential oils on your skin, always be careful to verify they are safe for topical use. Moreover, try putting oils on the area behind your ears, or anywhere your clothing is less likely to touch.