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10+ Genius Ways to Remove the Oil Smell Out of Clothes

10+ Genius Ways to Remove the Oil Smell Out of Clothes

Oil is a highly versatile substance that can be transformed for many uses like cooking, automobiles, etc. Even if you handle oil with care, you can’t avoid it spilling on your clothes.

When you’re often using oil, there’s very little you can do to prevent it from spilling on you at some point. The worst thing about oil is that it comes with an unpleasant smell and leaves stains challenging to remove.

If you’re reading this, oil has probably spilled on your clothes at some point, and you’ve opted to use laundry detergents, dryer sheets, or fabric softeners, all of which have not given you the best results you wanted. 

Sure, it will remove some of the smell, but if it can’t remove the stains, then it hasn’t done much for you. If you can still see the stain, the smell will be there until you deal with the whole issue.

Even worse, oil on one of your fabrics can contaminate other fabrics when it rubs on them. It’s easy for most of your clothes to smell oily when they come into contact because oil particles can travel in the air and attach themselves to other fabrics.

Water cannot effectively remove oil on its own, but you can use the methods below before you decide to throw away your clothes.

Why Avoid Low-Quality Detergent?

Even though you’re on a budget, getting low-quality detergents isn’t going to help you remove the oil smell from your clothes. If anything, it makes you waste money because you will continuously try other cheap options that eventually won’t work.

Some low-quality detergents can remove the oil smell but not the stain, especially when dealing with heavy-duty stains like grease and oil.

Apart from not getting the job done, low-quality detergents wear down your clothes instead of providing a deep clean.

Go for high-quality laundry detergents because you’re assured that even though they’ll cost you a little bit more than low-quality detergents, they will perfectly do the job.

Ways To Remove The Oil Smell Out Of Clothes

There are numerous options you can use to remove oil smell and stains. Some will be sufficient on their own, while others will need a concoction to be helpful. Let’s look at some of these amazing methods.

1. Bleach

Bleach is very popular around the world because it cleans within minutes. Its mainly preferred for heavy-duty work even though it sometimes leaves some collateral damage. Those who use it and have used it overlook the collateral damage it might cause because they just want the job done.

Bleach is supposed only to be used in extreme cases where you’re trying to remove tough stains quickly. When you add it to white-stained clothes, it will leave them looking brighter than ever with all stains and pesky oil smell gone in minutes.

However, bleach will only serve you well if you use it responsibly. Too much bleach will make your clothes have noticeable bleach stains.

2. Heavy-Duty Laundry Detergents

When trying to eliminate oil stains from your clothes, the best method to start with is heavy-duty laundry detergent.  It’s mainly formed to react perfectly to tough stains from grease and oil.

The main reason why heavy-duty detergents are better than regular detergents is that they possess additional enzymes that are used to break down grease and oil trapped in any fabric. 

Sometimes it’s good to use pre-treat to allow the tough stains to be broken down before it gets to the laundry.

3. White Vinegar

White vinegar is a commonly used household cleaner with natural agents for breaking down the most resilient stains. The acid found in the white vinegar breaks down deep dirt, oil, and grease particles stuck in your clothes.

Ensure you use distilled vinegar; however, too much of it can damage your clothes by wearing their color down. Too much white vinegar can also permeate your clothes with its strong, unpleasant smell.

Usually, you’ll require about half a cup of distilled white vinegar to remove the oil smell and stain. Make sure you add it into the rinse cycle in your next wash to get rid of the very unpleasant odors.

4. Use a Can of Coke

However unpopular Coke is, it helps remove pesky oil stains that permeate and damage your clothes.

You’ll need to pour Coke into a clean washing machine, your oil-stained clothes, and any regular detergent you often use to remove the stain and the smell of oil.

The Coke contains an acid that reacts and breaks down resilient stains mainly from grease and oil. It lifts the difficult stains so that the stains are removed easily when you put them in the washing machine.

Coke is entirely safe to use (around children and pets) and has no environmental effect. If you’ve been trying to battle oil smell and stain on your clothes, give Coke a try, and it won’t disappoint.

5. Ammonia

Ammonia is also a powerful cleaning agent capable of removing any stubborn oil or grease stains and smell stuck on clothes.

If you’re using bleach, add a cup of ammonia in your wash cycle, and besides removing stains, it will make your clothes smell better.

The good thing with ammonia is that there are different types with numerous scents like lemon. The lemon one, in particular, is very effective in making clothes smell nice and its acidity to remove stains. 

However, ammonia needs to be handled with care because inhalation or exposure to the skin will cause burning,  fainting, or even death. Use a small amount of ammonia and give it time to ventilate because its fumes can burn your respiratory tract and sinuses.

6. Dish Soap

Using dish soap may be unpopular, but it still works. Even though it cannot quickly or easily remove oil smell or stain, it will ultimately work. You can use any dish soap you want, but you have to dilute it before use.

I recommend you use Dawn dish soap because it’s formed to break up grease or oil. It’s impactful that it can also remove motor oil which is notorious for staining clothes.

After diluting the dish soap, mix a quarter cup of it with water. Next, soak the garments in the mixture for approximately 25 minutes. The dish soap will eventually break down the grease and oil stain that was there.

While mixing, protect your hands by using a wooden spoon or anything you can get hold of that can blend. Once the clothes have properly mixed and soaked, transfer the clothes to the washing machine.

However, you should not use too much dish soap because washing machines cannot handle sudsy soaps. Too much foamy soap will damage your washer, compelling you to fix it or buy a costly new one.

7. Borax

Borax is also meant for extreme smells and stains gotten from oil or grease. When using it, mix a tablespoon of the Borax for every gallon of warm water used. Mix it with your clothes and give it about 30 minutes to soak properly

Once it has adequately soaked, pour everything in the bucket into the washing machine and clean. Borax will work well because it’s alkaline, meaning it neutralizes stains’ acidity.

Borax also changes the washing machine’s pH level, which helps laundry detergents be more efficient in dealing with stubborn stains.

If you don’t want to soak your clothes with Borax, you can simply add a half-cup of it into the laundry, and the clothes will smell magnificent.

However, there’s danger in handling pure Borax as it can burn your skin and eyes if you don’t handle it properly. Equally, you should keep Borax around children.

8. Lestoil and Pine-Sol

Pine-sol and lestoil both make strong detergents meant to remove resilient stains.

This method requires you to pour chemicals into oily and greasy stained areas. You’ll then need to scrub the affected areas thoroughly using a small cleaning brush with a relatively soft bristle-like old toothbrush.

When you have scrubbed the pine-sol or lestoil into the stain, give it approximately 25-30 minutes before placing it into the washing machine.

You’re also allowed to add these cleaners into the washing water for cleaning purposes. Like some other cleaners, they are all-purpose cleaners with a pleasant pine scent to many users.

If one of these detergents isn’t working efficiently the way you want, you can look for other concoctions that will work well as household cleaners. Alternatively,  you can use the different methods available in this article.

9. Baking Soda And White Vinegar

Another ordinary household cleaning detergent is Baking soda and white vinegar. I’ve mentioned them together due to their acidic nature, enabling them to lift tough stains and odors effectively. Baking soda and vinegar combination is only second to bleach in its strength to remove oil stains and smell.

The mixture of white vinegar and baking soda can indeed replace your traditional household detergents in other cleaning duties. You just need to merge a cup of baking soda and white vinegar in a small can, add it to water, and place your clothes and stir for one minute.

After stirring, give the solution approximately 3 hours to perfectly soak for the acid to break down the stains while the baking soda lifts them. When the 3 hours lapses, place the entire mixture into the washing machine and proceed to clean as you usually do.

10. Pre-Wash

Pre-wash is considered a boost in stain removal because it helps break down stains before adding laundry detergents into the mix to remove the stain and smell of oil altogether.

There is a wide range of pre-wash treatments; some work instantly, others take some time. There’s a soap known as GOJO, used by most mechanics for the removal of oily stains. I recommend you add your oily clothes to the washing machine then use the pre-wash specifically on the tough spots. 

How do you identify the best pre-wash cleaners? It’s easy; the best ones won’t require water and should instead contain lanolin. Lanolin is an exceptional agent that deals with stains before washing. In tandem with other laundry detergents, they are ample to remove all the toughest stains.

11. Eucalyptus Oil

As impossible as it looks, you can use eucalyptus oil to remove oil smell and stain, but you must mix it with any dishwashing detergent. The best dishwashing soap that works well with eucalyptus oil is dawn dishwashing soap.

For this procedure to work, you’ll need a quarter of dawn dish soap and one tablespoon of eucalyptus oil mixed. After mixing, eucalyptus oil and a dishwashing soap of your choice, you’ll give it some time, preferably 5 minutes, then apply gently on the oil-stained area and use a relatively smooth brush so that you don’t destroy the fabric.

After you are done brushing it, let it sit for some minutes before you wash it. However, the use of too much eucalyptus oil will only leave permanent spots on your clothes.


Over the years, oil stains and smells have become a common problem among many people. Not many know how to deal with it once it spills on their clothes. Some preferred to throw away their clothes due to a lack of solutions.

This article is an eye-opener that oil spillage on clothes is a challenge with solutions. Surely you cannot miss a method in this article that will work for you when your cloth is stained with oil.  The methods used above will help you fight stains and make your clothes smell pleasant.

However, overuse of some substances like ammonia and bleach will be costly to your health and clothes.