16 ways to get rid of oil stains

When repairing a car or bicycle, it is easy to stain your clothing with an engine oil stain. But getting rid of it is very difficult. Especially if you start to display it not immediately, but after a while. Conventional detergents and stain removers will not help with this problem. But our experts have learned and tested for effectiveness several ways to remove oil stains and are in a hurry to share them. The same means can be used to remove traces of any oil-oil contamination: engine oils, technical lubricants, fuel oil, etc.

Basic rules for removing oil stains

stain removal

Machine oil is a general term that includes not only light-colored oily liquid for lubricating door hinges, bicycle chains or sewing machine mechanisms, but also darker and thicker oil for automobile engines (motor), various lubricants (solid and liquid) .

There are three types of machine oils:

  1. mineral – based on oil, followed by distillation and purification;

  2. synthetic – based on synthetic hydrocarbons obtained from refined products;

  3. semi-synthetic – based on no more than 20% synthetic components.

Thus, any oil consists of petroleum products and has a high chemical stability, firmly eating into the fibers of the fabric. That is why it is very difficult to remove it – it is necessary to use solvents or strong alkalis.

If an oil-oil stain appears on your clothes, then in order to remove it without traces, you need to follow several rules.

Get rid of contamination as soon as possible, best in the first minutes. Only fresh oily stains can be removed with grease dissolving agents.

To prevent the stain from spreading over a large area, it is necessary to pour salt, soda, crushed chalk, starch on it as much as possible. These powders are absorbent and will quickly absorb most of the oil. Their efficiency can be increased by preheating to 50-600C in a microwave oven or in a frying pan.

Do not wash or soak things in hot water if the oily stains have not been previously treated with adsorbents – the size of the contaminated area may increase.

Before processing in any way, a substrate should be placed under the contaminated area – a towel rolled several times. So the oil after dissolving will not contaminate the clean surface of the product.

When removing old oil stains with solvents from delicate fabrics or painted things, you should first check how they will affect the material and paint on an inconspicuous area of ​​the product, and only then apply the product.

Care should be taken when working with solvents: work in durable rubber gloves, a respirator, and goggles. In addition, it is important to consider that these products are highly flammable, so you need to clean things away from open flames.

Removing stains with industrial products

Engine oil stains are stubborn stains that cannot be removed with conventional stain removers and washing powder. That is why the developed special industrial means for their removal:

  1. Dr. Beckmann – stain remover for machine oil, grease and bitumen, 50 ml (Germany) – 130 rubles.

  2. Mellerud – means for removing oil stains (Germany) 500 ml – 650 rubles.

  3. Duty Oil – liquid for the removal of technical oils, lubricants and petroleum products, 5 l (Russia) – 1000 rubles.

  4. Pro-Brite Axel-6 Oil & Grease Remover – aerosol for removing stains from vegetable and industrial oils (Russia), 300 ml – 350 rubles.

  5. CLEANMULTI FORTE Pramol – alkaline cleaner for removing fat and oil (Switzerland), 1 l – 550 rubles.

All products contain a special combination of solvents and non-ionic surfactants for fast and effective removal of oil-oil contaminants.

People who are constantly faced with machines and various mechanisms by the nature of their activity need to have one of the tools at hand. They are guaranteed to help remove even old traces of lubricants, machine or engine oil.

Alternative methods of removal

Alternative methods of removal

If there is no special agent that removes traces of engine oil, then you should not rush to the store to buy it. First, you need to try using the tools and solvents you can find at home or at any hardware store.

How to remove fresh stains

If less than an hour has passed since the clothes were contaminated, the oil-oil contamination can be removed using the following methods. They are suitable for all types of fabrics, white and colored items:

  1. Laundry soap (72%). Moisten the stained area with hot water and rub generously with soap. After 30 minutes, brush the stain and rinse.

  2. Dishwashing liquid. Pour the product undiluted with water onto the contaminated area, leaving it for 20-30 minutes. Rub with a brush before rinsing off the liquid.

  3. Ammonia. For delicate fabrics, dilute the ammonia in water in a 1: 1 ratio. It can be applied to cotton and linen products without diluting. Ammonia should be left in place of contamination for 15-20 minutes, then rubbed with a sponge and rinsed with water.

  4. Bile soap (or liquid stain remover based on it). Contains fatty acids and bovine bile, good for removing oil stains. Treat the traces of engine oil with soap (until abundant foam is formed), wait 40-60 minutes, rub with a brush and rinse with water.

  5. Ethanol. Rub the oil-oil contamination with a swab moistened with alcohol until all traces disappear.

After treating clothes soiled with machine oil in any of the ways, it is necessary to wash them with detergent in the washing machine or by hand.

Advice! Before removing the oily stain, iron the stained area through tracing paper or parchment paper with an iron (set the temperature according to the type of fabric). Some of the oil will absorb into the paper, making it easier to remove the stain.

How to remove old traces

Solvents must be used to remove oil stains that are already deeply absorbed into the fibers of the fabric. But it should be borne in mind that most of them are not suitable for silk, wool, synthetics, as well as colored things. In total, we have found 5 effective ways to remove stubborn stains:

  1. Refined gasoline. Best used to clean delicate and dyed fabrics. It is based, just like in engine oil, oil, so it will dissolve it and help remove stains from clothes. Moisten a cotton pad or napkin with gasoline and gently rub the stained area with it. You can put the disc directly on the stain for 15-20 minutes and then brush it with a soft-lined brush.

  2. Gasoline and dishwashing liquid (or baking soda). An even more gentle way to remove old traces of engine oil. Mix the ingredients in a 1: 1 ratio and apply the mixture to the stain for 30 minutes. After rubbing the dirt with a brush, send the thing to the wash.

  3. Ammonia with turpentine. This combination is also safe for fine and natural fabrics, but it is not suitable for processing colored items. Mix both products in equal proportions and rub the mixture into the contaminated area. After waiting 30 minutes, rub the fabric with a brush and rinse.

  4. Thinner 646, acetone or white spirit. It removes oil stains well, but we recommend using them only for cleaning light-colored cotton or linen fabrics. With a cloth soaked in solvent, wipe the stain until it disappears completely. To avoid stains, you need to clean it, moving from the edges of the contaminated area to the center.

  5. Kerosene. It is also a petroleum product that dissolves machine oil. With a cotton swab soaked in kerosene, you need to wipe the stained area until the oil traces disappear. Then lather with laundry soap and rinse under running hot water. The product must be washed immediately after processing. Kerosene is not suitable for removing stains from colored items and clothes made of silk or synthetics.

After cleaning clothes from oil stains with solvents or ammonia, a specific unpleasant odor remains. You can get rid of it by washing the item with a fabric softener and drying it in the open air.

Dry cleaning

Dry cleaning

Fuel oil or engine oil stains are very difficult to remove. If none of the methods helps to eliminate pollution or if you have doubts that you can save your favorite thing on your own, you can use the help of specialists.

Dry cleaning is a reliable way to get rid of oil traces on clothes, which does not require any effort from you. Things from any material will be provided with qualified assistance without the risk of spoiling it.


Due to the multicomponent composition of engine oil and a difficult-to-remove base from petroleum products, it is not easy to remove the traces left from it. But, using the advice of our experts, it is still possible to do this. If you do not postpone the processing and washing of the soiled thing on the back burner, then the chances of saving it with the help of improvised means increase significantly. Old oil-and-oil contamination will be removed only by solvents or dry cleaning.

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