Effectively dealing with oil stains on garments can be an uphill battle if relying solely on regular washing cycles. Why? Simply because oil and grease repel water - a quality known as hydrophobicity.
So, what's the solution when you have an unfortunate encounter with a spattering frying pan or a buttery-handed child, turning your clothes into a canvas of greasy blotches?
Our founder David Lambert spoke to Made for Mums to create a straightforward guide to rid your clothes of pesky oil stains from the comfort of your home.
How To Remove Oil Stains
Step 1 - Examine the Care Label
Start by inspecting the care label on your clothing item. This will provide you with guidelines on the ideal washing method and temperature to prevent any damage.
If the label displays a circle symbol, with or without the letters P, F or A inside, it means your garment is dry-clean compatible. "Dry cleaning stands as the unrivalled solution to remove oil," says David Lambert, a laundry maven at LaundryRepublic, "It is specially designed to dissolve grease. If your clothing is labelled ‘dry clean only’, we suggest not attempting a home clean."
If your garment is fit for a home wash and you are not keen on dry cleaning expenses, or if the care label exhibits a circle with a crossed line (indicating it's unsuitable for dry cleaning), then proceed to the following step.
Step 2 - Absorb Excess Oil
For this, Dave advises sprinkling a layer of Bicarbonate of soda or cornflour (cornstarch) over the stain and letting it rest for around 15 to 30 minutes. This should help absorb the excess oil, making it easier to brush off.
Step 3 - Dispose of Excess Powder
Positioned over a sink, shake off any unabsorbed bicarbonate of soda or cornflour from your garment.
Step 4 - Employ an Emulsifier
Now, it's time to dissolve the oil using an emulsifier. Dave suggests washing up liquid for this purpose. Gently rub a small quantity of washing up liquid onto the stain and let it sit and soak in for approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
Step 5 - Machine Wash
Load your garment into the washing machine, setting the temperature to the maximum level advised by the care label. Avoid cold water as it could potentially set the stain. Incorporating a stain-removal agent like Vanish Oxi-Action is also recommended. "It's proven to remove oil stains from not only cotton but also delicate fabrics like silk and wool," says Lisa Williams, Executive Housekeeper of The Grand Hotel in York. For more options, browse through our top washing powders, liquids, and pods recommendations.
Step 6 - Inspect for Stain Removal
Once the wash cycle concludes, check if the oil stain has vanished. If the stain persists, redo Steps 2 to 6. Do not dry your garment until the stain has been thoroughly eliminated.
Step 8 - Dry your Garment
Finally, air-dry your garment.