Stain the shirt to match the stain.
October 3, 2010 11:21 AM   Subscribe

I accidentally splashed cooking oil on a solid-color 100% cotton shirt. The splash left a slightly darker discoloration that won't wash out. If I soak my shirt in cooking oil and then wash it will it assume the slightly darker color and appear evenly colored again?
posted by vapidave to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Probably not but if you've tried everything else, you don't really have anything to lose.

With grease stains, I've had great success with putting pure dish soap on the stain, letting it sit for a few hours and then washing it again. Just make sure and air dry the shirt rather than putting it in the dryer to you don't bake the stain in any more.
posted by VTX at 11:29 AM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: VTX is right about the dish soap. If dish soap on the spot doesn't get it out, you could also try to iron the spot out. To do this, place some pieces of brown paper shopping bag on either side of the stain, and firmly press a hot iron over it. (If you've washed it a couple times, though, this might not work so well. But you'll know for next time.)

If I soak my shirt in cooking oil and then wash it will it assume the slightly darker color and appear evenly colored again?

It might, but I'd only do that as a last resort.
posted by phunniemee at 11:36 AM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: It may work in regard to the color, but a potential problem is that the reason the stain won't come out of the shirt is because there are traces of grease still in it. If you stain the whole shirt with cooking oil you may wind up with an odor as the oil turns rancid, and possibly an ever-so-slightly sticky feel to the shirt as well.

I'm thinking of how revolting some of my work shirts smelled and felt, even after washing, back in my restaurant days when I worked near the fryers. Blech.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:37 AM on October 3, 2010 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Try Stain Devils.
posted by micawber at 11:39 AM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: I really, really wouldn't try that. A few years ago, my mom was doing laundry in my family's house. She grabbed a container of detergent and poured a cup in. When she came back later to toss it in the dryer, she smelled something terrible- my aunt had been collecting old cooking oil in a detergent container and left it in the basement and my mom had used it.

We rewashed the clothes in that load of laundry many times that day, and they never smelled normal enough to consider wearing in public, let alone even around the house. The stench was awful.

Even if it's 'fresh' cooking oil you'd be using, I still think the smell would end up being too overpowering to bear.
posted by rachaelfaith at 11:42 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I like VTX's idea. I usually use Dr. Bronner's at full strength for this purpose,* but I suspect the detergents in dish soap would work even better.

*This happens to me about once a week
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 11:44 AM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: Are you using hot water to wash the shirt? I usually use cold water for my laundry, but when it comes to grease stains I need to use hot.
posted by orange swan at 11:45 AM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: Nthing the dish soap suggestion. I've never had a grease stain that I couldn't get out with plain blue Dawn. It works on all kinds of oily stains.

If you have the dish soap with bleach, you might want to test it somewhere inconspicuous first to make sure that it won't remove the color from your shirt.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 11:48 AM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have no idea about removing grease stains, but please don't soak your shirts in cooking oil before putting them in the dryer. Even with washing, not all of the cooking oil will be removed, which leads to the unfortunate possibility of heat + volatile oil + cloth = fire. See also this list of dryer safety tips.
posted by ayerarcturus at 12:21 PM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: ok, not that you want an expensive solution- but i've had grease stains on shirts that wouldn't come out by running them through the washer a few times, but taking them to the dry cleaners, and pointing out the stain, always took care of it.
posted by saraindc at 12:22 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: Lestoil. It even works on greasy stains that have been through the washer and dryer several times.
posted by kittydelsol at 12:26 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Dish soap usually works for me, but if it doesn't? K2R spot lifter has never failed me.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:30 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: I've had good luck with the stick version of spray n' wash for oil stains - even on dark solid color knit t-shirts.
posted by kirst27 at 12:35 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The easiest way to get an oil "stain" out is an aerosol spray like K2R or Goddard's Spray cleaner. Or you can DIY by making a thin paste of rubbing alcohol (or lighter fluid) and corn starch, put it on, let it dry completely and brush off the powder and maybe do it again. Then wash as you normally would. Of course first test the fabric to see if this mix bleaches the color. A dry cleaner can spot clean this for you, too.

Oil doesn't exactly stain fabric, in that it doesn't add a dye to fabric, instead the oil just doesn't come out completely and so the area appears darker. What these sprays do is add two things at once---a oil solvent and an oil absorber like corn starch.
posted by tula at 12:43 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Try putting dish soap on the spot, like VTX suggests, then soaking the whole shirt in super-hot water. Like straight from your kettle. That should dissolve the grease.
posted by apricot at 12:49 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: See if you can find "RIT Super Stain Remover". It works way better than stain devils. Wal-Mart stopped carrying it a few years ago, but I was able to find it online. It gets greasy stains out even if they've been through the dryer. Link
posted by artychoke at 12:51 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: The greatest stain-removing trick of all time for grease spots is this: baby powder. Buy a cheap bottle of baby powder, and liberally sprinkle it all over the spot. Let it stand for a day or two, then shake out the excess in the sink or outside. You'll see a little splotch of baby powder in the shape of your oil spot still on the shirt. This is a good thing!

Scrub the spot with a bit of Shout gel or other stain remover (or dish soap, I've been told, but I've never tried it myself), and toss it in the wash. This technique works the first time about 99.98% of the time. If the stain is still there, repeat the process once more and I can pretty much guarantee the stain will be gone.

The really wonderful thing is that it even works on old spots that have been through the wash/dry cycle several times over. Believe me, as a Generously-Breasted American whose chest is a magnet for food spots (even though I am a very careful eater!), this trick was life-changing.
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:57 PM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I actually tried your suggestion on a $400.00 handbag that I spilled oil on! I took a sponge and "oiled" the remainder of the bag - it worked like a charm! You could not tell where the original stain was - I still use the purse!
posted by pamspanda at 2:36 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: The concept is not unheard of. Before dry cleaners, the common establishment was called Cleaners & Dyers. You would buy light-colored clothes, and if they became stained, have them dyed to a darker shade to refresh them. And so on until black.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:38 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: Seconding everyone else who says try to remove the grease that's causing the darkening on that one spot, rather than greasifying your entire shirt. There are some good recommendations in this thread.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:04 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: I must admit I have wondered about this myself, thanks for asking the question. You might try ZOUT stain remover, just keep at it, the stain should fade over time.
posted by jennstra at 5:07 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: It's been mentioned above: Lestoil, Lestoil, Lestoil. It WORKS. You can get it in most grocery or hardware stores.
posted by yawper at 8:10 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: My mom used plain old Dawn dish soap, like suggested above, throughout my childhood to remove grease/oil from clothes. It always worked, and I have have been using it since leaving the nest. Still works great. Just soak the spot for the day/night with soap and wash as normal. Don't dry until the spot is gone if you can.
posted by dozo at 8:00 AM on October 4, 2010

Best answer: When I worked as a maid at a motel, we used to use a mechanics hand degreaser to get makeup stains out of the towels and washcloths. Make sure to get one without grit in it, though. This works really well on any greasy stains, but will make your clothes smell like the cleaner for a couple of washes.
posted by annsunny at 9:06 AM on October 4, 2010

Best answer: I use the method described by shiu mai baby, but with cornstarch instead of baby powder (and dish soap can be substituted for the stain remover).
posted by spinto at 11:01 AM on October 4, 2010

Best answer: The name of the degreaser is goop. you just rub it in and throw it in the wash.

Sorry, I'm a bit spacey this morning.
posted by annsunny at 11:22 AM on October 4, 2010

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