How to Take Oil Stains Out of T-Shirts

Air-dry oil stained clothing to check for any traces of the oil.
... Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Whether you dripped vegetable oil onto your T-shirt while cooking or accidentally soiled it while changing the oil in your car, you might be ready to throw in the towel on your favorite T-shirt. The greasy makeup of oil makes it seem nearly impossible to remove, but you can get oil out of the fabric by paying a little extra attention to your beloved shirt before you toss it in the wash.

Cover the oil stain with baby powder, salt or cornstarch. Pat your fingers over the powder to press it into the fabric.

Leave the powder on the oil stain for a few minutes to soak up the oil, then shake out the T-shirt to remove the powder.

Lay the T-shirt on top of a pile of paper towels so the oil stain is face down. Apply dry cleaning solvent on a clean rag and dab it onto the back side of the oil stain.

Flip the T-shirt back over so the stain is facing outward and let the dry cleaning solvent dry completely.

Pour undiluted laundry detergent onto the oil spot and work it into the T-shirt fabric using your fingers.

Apply a petroleum-based laundry pretreatment product to the oil stain. Let it sit for two minutes.

Wash the T-shirt with laundry detergent using the hottest temperature setting that is safe for the fabric according to its care label.

Check the T-shirt after washing and before placing it in the dryer. If oil or oil residue is still present, treat the stain again using the same method but eliminating the step of using an absorbent powder.

  • When treating a stain, avoid placing garments in the dryer until you're sure all of the stain is gone as heat can make it more difficult or even impossible to remove.

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.