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Greasy Peasy: Remove Oil Stains from Your Clothes Easily

by Anant Khare 18 May 2022

Imagine you've just got home from a lovely meal with friends or a family gathering, and you hang your jacket up only to discover that you've got some unwanted marks. Of course, nothing's worse than having a stain on your favourite clothes, but it doesn't have to be the world's end. There are certainly some ways to remove oil stains from clothes so that whether you were caught in a drizzle, left your clothes next to the barbecue or spilt olive oil on yourself while cooking; you can get your clothes looking as good as new.

Before removing any grease-based stain, make sure it hasn't already been set because once those molecules are locked in, there's little chance of getting them out again.

For example, if the sauce has already dried on your shirt and it's stiff as a board, you will be tossing that one in the wash rather than wearing it again anytime soon. But if there's still some flexibility in the fabric and the stain is relatively recent, there's still hope! If you're lucky enough to notice the spill and grab some baby powder or talcum powder, this will help absorb some of the grease from the oily stain. Also, if the stain is tough to remove, you can opt for plant-powered laundry liquid for the front load and top load; so that your clothing's texture doesn't get spoiled.

What makes oil stains difficult to remove?

There are two main reasons why oil and grease stains are so hard to remove from clothes:

  • -The first is that oils do not contain water, so water-based cleaning products will not work on them. Oil and grease stains are hydrophobic, which means they repel water. If you try to clean these stains with a detergent or soap solution, it will simply bead up on top of the stain without penetrating it. As a result, the colour will become deeper and spread out over time as you continue to wash the garment. To ensure your family's safety, you can choose plant-based laundry liquid with no harmful chemicals.
  • -The second reason oil stains are so difficult to remove is that they have a low surface tension, which allows them to spread out more quickly. To understand this concept, think of all the different liquids you've seen in your life and how they behave in a glass. For example, water forms a nice round puddle at the bottom of the glass, while paint forms a broader, more oval-shaped puddle. The higher a liquid's surface tension, the more spherical it will be in shape. However, lower surface tension liquids have less cohesion between their molecules than higher surface tension liquids, spreading out over the surface more easily.

How to remove greasy stains from your clothing?

Start with the basics: The first thing you need to do is scrape off any excess oil from the clothing. Use a dull knife or spoon to scoop off as much of the stain as possible. Please do not use a sharp object, as it could damage the fabric.

Create your DIY stain remover: Mix one part dish soap with three parts baking soda and stir until it forms into a paste.

Apply stain remover to clothing: Rub the paste into the stained area—work it in there! As you're scrubbing, you'll notice that the paste will start to lather up. This is good; this means it's working! After a few minutes, rinse out the paste and check to see how much of the oil stain was removed. If some of it remains, repeat steps 2 and 3 until all of the oil is gone. You can use plant-based laundry liquid in this step, just like TheBetterhome's laundry liquid for baby clothes and pets. It consists of no chemical preservatives and protects your fabric texture as well.

Wash your clothes normally: If all traces of oil are gone, pop your garment into the washing machine for a normal wash cycle. The heat from drying should help put any remaining stains into your clothing, so make sure you put them through an extra wash if needed!
If you're trying to remove a grease or oil stain from your clothes, the best thing you can do is act fast. Unfortunately, the longer it sits, the more time it has to soak in and bond with the fabric. So here goes another way of removing the stains in quick and easy steps:

  • 1. Blot up as much of the excess grease as possible with paper towels or a piece of cardboard (not cloth) before rinsing the stain under cold water from the backside of the garment. Avoid using hot water as this can cause oil-based paints to set.
  • 2. If you have access to a washing machine and dryer, run the stained area through an entire cycle using detergent and chlorine bleach (if applicable for your fabric). If not, apply laundry liquid for baby clothes directly to the stain and gently rub it with your fingers. Let this sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing well with cold water.
  • 3. If soap and water don't eliminate the stain, dab on some ammonia or white vinegar and let it sit for 15 minutes before rewashing. If necessary, repeat these steps until you achieve your desired results. You can use any plant-based or organic laundry liquid for front and top load. Make sure it contains no harmful chemicals that ruin your clothing's texture.

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