How to Remove Engine Oil from a Raincoat


Kim asked: How do I remove engine oil from a rain coat? Engine oil was spilled on a raincoat that is nylon and polyester. What is the best way to remove it? I have tried Oxy, but it didn’t work.

Engine oil can be a nasty stain, but fortunately it can be removed with a great deal of success. The earlier you can treat the stain, the better, so you can expect the results to be excellent on a fresh stain. Older stains may require a bit more work, but when you replace that motor oil with a little elbow grease you may be surprised by how good it’ll look! Although these steps are considered safe for nylon/polyester raincoats, it’s best to adhere to any precautions listed on the garment label. Here’s what to do.

You Will Need:

  • Paper towels
  • Baby powder
  • Scrub brush
  • Dawn dish detergent or color safe bleach
  • Hot water (as hot as label directions allow)
  • Large tub or washing machine

Steps to Remove the Oil:

  1. Begin by blotting the stain with clean, dry paper towels. Remove as much of the oil as possible. Work both sides of the stain until the paper towels no longer lift any of the stain.
  2. Sprinkle the remaining stain with baby powder. Allow it to set for a few minutes and soak up the remaining oil.
  3. Use the scrub brush to whisk off the powder. Repeat the powder application and removal until the powder no longer turns brown from the oil.
  4. Generously coat the stain with Dawn or color safe bleach. Bleach is harsher and more likely to weaken or damage your fabric, so use with caution.
  5. Use the scrub brush to work the detergent or bleach into the fabric.
  6. Put the raincoat in the washing machine (if allowed) or in a large tub full of hot water. Run it through a wash cycle or allow it to soak before rinsing by hand.
  7. Repeat if necessary until the stains are gone.
  8. Allow to coat to air dry completely.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • It’s always a good idea to spot test fabric before treating it with detergents, especially harsher ones like bleach.
  • A stain releasing product may be used in place of the detergent. Wash as normal after pre-treating the stain, then repeat the process as necessary.
  • Always treat oil stains as soon as possible. The longer they set, the more likely they are to stay.
  • Do not put the raincoat in a dryer until the stain is gone. The heat will set the stain and you’ll be stuck with it.

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