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How to Get Essential Oils Out of Clothes: Tried and Tested Methods and Prevention Tips

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Essential oils have become a popular addition to many households due to their various benefits, from relaxation and stress relief to their delightful aromas. However, anyone who uses essential oils knows that spills and stains can happen. And just because essential oils come in tiny bottles doesn't mean they can't create some of the toughest stains and oil spots, just like motor oil stains. Learning how to remove essential oil stains from clothing will help save your clothing from future oily stains.

As a long-time user of essential oils, I've had my fair share of stains on my clothes. For instance, when I apply a winter wellness roller to my chest and don't allow it to dry, it leaves behind a stubborn stain that regular laundry methods can't handle. It's a testament to how even a small amount of residual oil can lead to a challenging stain.

It also doesn't matter if you use pure essential oils or DIY essential oil blends you create with a carrier oil like coconut oil; if these oils touch an article of clothing, oily stains will happen. 

Easy techniques to remove essential oils from clothing

If you're facing the challenge of a stubborn essential oil stain on your clothing, fret not. I bring you good news! Here are two highly effective methods to remove these pesky stains, accompanied by a prevention tip for the future. Remember to check your fabric care label before using these methods, as some synthetic fibers may not tolerate abrasive products like baking soda or brushes. Following the proper care listed for your fabric is important so you don't damage your fabric fibers even more. 

For the best results, the key to success is to catch greasy stains on clothing that result from drops of essential oil as soon as they occur. This way, you can prevent the formation of set-in oil stains that are hard to remove. It's a simple step that can make a big difference in maintaining the quality of your clothes. 

Good luck using one of these great methods to treat oil-stained clothes.

Method 1: Dish Soap and Baking Soda

Materials Needed:

  • Liquid Dish soap (preferably one with grease-cutting properties or an enzyme-based liquid detergent)
  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • A soft-bristled brush or a clean cloth


  1. Blot the Stain: As soon as you notice the essential oil stain, use a clean cloth or paper towel to blot the excess oil. Do not rub, as this will spread the oil and make the stain worse.
  2. Apply Dish Soap: Squirt a small amount of dish soap directly onto the stained area. Dish soap is excellent for breaking down oils and grease.
  3. Work in the Soap: Using a soft-bristled brush or your fingers, gently work the soap into the stain. Be sure to cover the entire stained area.
  4. Sprinkle Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda over the soaped area. Baking soda helps to absorb the oil and further break it down.
  5. Brush or Scrub: Gently scrub the area with a brush or cloth. You will notice the baking soda turning slightly brown as it absorbs the oil.
  6. Rinse and Repeat: Rinse the area with warm water. If the stain persists, repeat the process until the oil is completely removed.
  7. Launder as Usual: Once the stain is removed, wash the garment as you normally would with a good laundry detergent. Check the stain before drying; if it's still there, repeat the above steps.

Air-drying your garment is a good idea if you don't get the oil-based stains completely out. Air drying helps prevent the stain from being locked in from the high heat of a dryer. 

If you don't have Baking soda, try baby powder to help soak up the oil.

Tips for removing stubborn essential oil stains from clothes. image showing essential oil stain and washing powder in a pink measuring cup.

Method 2 for removing essential oil stains: White Vinegar and Cornstarch

Materials Needed:

  • White vinegar
  • Cornstarch
  • Warm water
  • A soft-bristled brush or a clean cloth


  1. Blot the Stain: Quickly blot the excess oil with a clean cloth or paper towel. Avoid rubbing to prevent spreading the stain.
  2. Apply Vinegar: Pour a small amount of white vinegar directly onto the stain. You should need less than a cup of white vinegar. Vinegar helps to break down the oil.
  3. Let It Sit: Allow the vinegar to sit on the stain for about 10-15 minutes to penetrate and break down the oil.
  4. Apply Cornstarch: After the vinegar has had time to work, sprinkle cornstarch generously over the stained area. Cornstarch acts as an absorbent, pulling the oil out of the fabric.
  5. Brush or Rub: Gently brush or rub the cornstarch into the fabric using a soft-bristled brush or cloth. You will see the cornstarch clump as it absorbs the oil.
  6. Rinse and Repeat: Rinse the area with warm water. Repeat the process if necessary until the stain is gone.
  7. Launder as Usual: Wash the garment in your washing machine. Again, check the stain before drying; if it remains, repeat the treatment.

Prevention Tip: How to Avoid Essential Oil Stains

To avoid essential oil stains on your clothing in the future, here’s a simple yet effective tip:

Use Protective Coverings: When handling essential oils, especially when applying them to your skin or using them in DIY projects, wear an apron or old clothes that you don’t mind getting stained. This will protect your good clothing from accidental spills and stains. Additionally, if you are using essential oils as part of your skincare routine, allow the oil to fully absorb into your skin before dressing. This can help prevent any residual oil from transferring to your clothes.

By following these methods, you can effectively tackle essential oil stains and keep your clothes looking fresh. And by taking preventive measures, you can enjoy the benefits of essential oils without the worry of staining your favorite outfits.

Good luck using one of these great methods to treat oil-stained clothes.

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Learning how to get essential oils out of clothes can be easy.

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