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How To Remove Food Oil From White Shirts?

By Dr. Laundry April 30, 2016

Q: How to remove food oil from white shirts? A: Sure, I can help you with getting food oil stains off your white shirts!  One of the best things to use for cooking oil is actually liquid dishwashing detergent (the kind you use for hand washing dishes) because it is formulated for greasy dishes.  Because liquid dishwashing detergent generally makes lots and lots of suds you only want to use it for pretreating and rinse it away before you put the item in a clothes washer; otherwise you’ll likely end up with excessive foam.  Here’s what you can try:  
  1. Work on the stains when the fabric is dry.  That is, don’t rinse them with water first.
  2. Apply a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent to each stain and gently massage it in.  Wait 5 minutes, and then rinse with warm water.
  3. Next, if your white shirt is safe for bleach (check the care label for the fiber content and don’t bleach it if it has any spandex, wool, silk, mohair, or leather), wash the shirt in hot water using a good laundry detergent and ½ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.
  4. If your white shirt contains any spandex, wash it in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster.
  5. Air dry the shirt and check for success
  I know the air drying step can be a real pain, but it’s important—damp or wet fabric can hide residual oil left behind.  if you miss any of the oily stains when you pretreat with the dishwashing detergent, you’ll probably have some residual oil that you can get all the way out by repeating the treatment starting again on dry fabric.   Please let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks again for writing!   –Dr. Laundry