How to Remove Olive Oil Stains from a Wool Sweater

Robin asked: How do I remove olive oil from a wool sweater? I recently splashed some olive oil and lemon juice mixture on a wool sweater. How can I get that out? I have not done anything yet except blot as much as I could.

Removing stains from wool can be a little tricky to tackle yourself. It’s often best to take it to a professional cleaner and allow them to treat the stains. If you want to remove them at home, here is a method that many have found safe and effective. If your item is machine washable, see the additional tips for a quicker cleaning option.

You Will Need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Mild bleach-free dish detergent (ex: Dawn or Ivory)
  • Tub or basin
  • Cold water
  • Large sheet of paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • Large absorbent bath towel

Steps to Remove the Oil Stains:

  1. If the oil stain is minor, you may be able to remove it with a simple absorbent.
  2. Cover the stained area with cornstarch.
  3. Allow it to set for 30 minutes so the cornstarch can absorb the oil.
  4. Brush clean with a clean, white cloth.
  5. If the stain remains, you can repeat the above steps or wash the oil out with the following steps.
  6. Start by laying the sweater on the large sheet of paper.
  7. Trace around it with the pen/pencil. This will provide a template to lay the sweater back out to its original shape and size while it dries.
  8. Fill a tub, sink or basin (depending on the size of the item being washed) with cool to cold water.
  9. Add a few drops of bleach-free dish detergent. If the stain is really tough, try applying some detergent directly to the stain.
  10. Agitate the water lightly to mix.
  11. Immerse the sweater in the water.
  12. Swish it around gently a few times to work the soap and water into the sweater. Do not wring, twist or pull on the sweater or it will lose its shape.
  13. Let the sweater sit in the water for 2-3 minutes and allow the soap to work.
  14. Remove the sweater carefully being careful not to pull any parts and drain the soapy water.
  15. Refill with clean water
  16. Place the sweater back in the clean water to rinse.
  17. Remove the sweater and drain the water.
  18. Repeat steps 10-12 until all of the soap is removed.
  19. Once rinsed, lay the sweater on a large, absorbent towel.
  20. Roll the towel up with the sweater inside.
  21. Gently push the water out of the sweater.
  22. Repeat until the sweater is damp.
  23. Lay the sweater on top of the paper with the outline traced onto it.
  24. Make sure it fits the original size and shape. Make adjustments as needed as the sweater dries.
  25. Allow the sweater to air dry completely.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Some wool sweaters are machine washable (check the care instructions on the tag), which will make the stain removal process much simpler. In these cases, you will be able to spot clean the stain and machine wash the entire sweater. Do not machine dry it, as the heat will cause shrinkage.
  • Wool is natural hair, and some have found basic shampoo effective in removing oil and grease stains.
  • Never use any products with bleach to clean wool. It will weaken the fibers.

Comments

  1. Donna says:

    I’ve had some success with sandwiching the stain between sheets of paper towel (2-3 deep) and applying a warm iron to the paper towel. Good luck.

  2. Daizy says:

    Oil is the thing which is not removed easily from any fabric. Thanks for providing such a great tips to get the stains out!

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