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How to Get Baby Oil Out of Clothing: Stain Removal Guide

Baby oil has dozens of useful applications; you might use it to moisturize your little one’s skin, pull off too-tight rings, or even remove makeup. But when baby oil comes into contact with clothing, it stops being useful and becomes a stain-making nuisance. Luckily, baby oil stains don’t have to be permanent. If you act quickly and use the right stain-fighting tools, you can wash away that oily mess. Here’s your complete guide to how to get baby oil out of clothing and more!

How to Get Baby Oil Out of Clothing: Stain Removal Guide

Does Baby Oil Stain Clothes?

Even though most varieties of baby oil are colorless, baby oil can stain clothes if the oil isn’t treated and washed out quickly. A baby oil stain looks like a dark spot on clothing—like a water spot that never goes away, even after it dries. It’s noticeable on all but the darkest clothing.

What’s more, baby oil stains on clothes can “set” into the fabric and become (basically) permanent if left untreated. Those stains will become more pronounced over the long term as your clothing eventually fades. That means that even an “invisible” stain on a black shirt might become visible as time goes by.

But all of those concerns about baby oil leaving a stain on clothes, sheets, towels, or other fabrics are based on a big “if”: it’ll happen only if you allow the stain to dry and set. If, on the other hand, you take steps quickly to pretreat the stain and wash the fabric, you’ll have nothing to worry about!

How to Remove Baby Oil Stains from Clothes.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to get baby oil stains out of clothes:


Step 1: Act quickly

The longer you delay after getting baby oil on clothing, the more likely it is to set and become a permanent stain. Ideally, you should pretreat the stain before it dries.


Step 2: Pretreat the stain before it dries

Spray the stain with your favorite laundry pretreater (We like Dreft Laundry Stain Remover because it’s tough enough to treat the entire family’s stains, won’t affect flame-retardant children’s sleepwear, and smells absolutely amazing.) and follow any additional instructions on the pretreater’s label.


Step 3: Wash soon and wash hot

As soon as you’re able, get the stained garment into the washing machine (or tub to hand wash, depending on what the garment’s care label recommends). Along with your favorite laundry detergent, use the hottest water recommended by the care label. The hot water will help to break down the oil.


Step 4: Don’t tumble-dry just yet

Avoid drying with heat until you can verify that you’ve gotten the stain out. Allow the garment to drip-dry and examine the stained area. If a stain is still visible, repeat steps 2 through 4 above and consider adding dish soap to your process, as detailed below.

If your baby is a little stain-maker, Dreft can help! Check out our guide to treating stains of all kinds on baby clothes.

Removing Baby Oil Stains from Sheets.

Perhaps some baby oil has gotten on your child’s sheets (or your own, for that matter!) and you’re wondering if you have to turn your bedding into rags.

Removing baby oil stains from sheets works exactly as it does for clothes. Again, if you tackle the oily stain early, you have a much better chance of eliminating it. Simply follow the same steps given above for how to get baby oil stains out of clothing.

How to Get Baby Oil Out of Clothing with Baby Powder.

A powerful step you can take in the fight against baby oil stains is to treat the stain using baby powder or cornstarch, either of which can absorb the oil and make it easier to clean.

To use baby powder to remove an oil stain, lay the stained item on a flat surface and sprinkle powder or cornstarch generously over the oily area. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb the oil, then brush the powder off. Then, you can pre-treat and wash the item as described in the steps above.

How to Get Baby Oil Out of Clothing with Dish Soap.

A time-tested home remedy for oil stains of all types is a product that is specially designed to cut grease: dish soap! To use dish soap for baby oil stains, gently rub the soap into the stain, then rinse with hot water (or whatever temperature recommended by the item’s care label). Repeat, if necessary, then wash as described in the steps above.

When it comes to getting baby oil or any other oily stain out of your clothes or sheets, the key is to act quickly to mitigate and pretreat the stain.

However, if you’re dealing with an old, set-in stain, all is not entirely lost. Two tricks to try on old baby oil stains:

  1. Spray some hairspray onto the stain and let sit 20 to 30 minutes to “reactivate” the oil, then follow the steps above.

  2. Use the dish soap pretreating trick described above, but add some baking soda before rubbing in the soap.

With time and patience, you may still be able to coax out that stubborn baby oil stain.

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