How to Remove Rancid Massage Oil from White Towels


Patty asked: How do I remove rancid massage oil from my white towels? I use a massage oil where the carrier oil is grapeseed oil. Still, after repeated washing and soaking in hot water, I cannot get the rancid smell out of my towels. Any advice please?

Ridding towels of a greasy or oily mess and the accompanying odor is easy. Simply try this next time you put them in the wash, and they’ll come out clean and fresh smelling every time!

You Will Need:


Steps to Remove the Odors:

  1. Spot treat any particularly oily or rancid areas of your towels with Citra-Solv. Spot treating is optional.
  2. Put the towels in the washing machine. Add your usual detergent.
  3. Add 1-2 oz. of Citra-Solv to the regular wash with the detergent.
  4. Run the washing machine through a routine cycle.
  5. When the load is finished, check the towels. If the smell and/or stains are still there, rewash with a higher amount of Citra-Solv.
  6. Do not dry the towels until the smell and/or stains are gone. The heat may set the stain and make removal more difficult.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If possible, hang the towels out to dry on a sunny, warm day. The sun acts as a natural bleaching agent and will help to freshen the towels.
  • For extra whitening power, you can also use bleach. This will not remove the actual oils, so you still need to clean with a degreaser like Citra-Solv, but it will help with lingering stains.
  • Citra-Solv contains no harsh or toxic chemicals, making it safe for use around pets and children.
  • Once your towels are clean and new, head on over to!



  1. Oh my word. I used massage oil from bath and body, and I will never use the stuff again. All my black clothes and smocks are forever rancid due to the smell. Seems like the mint/etc. fragrance evaporates as the sunflower-based oil spoils. Beware, most massage oils are the same.
    Question: after using detergent, body wash, and soap, does anyone have any other suggestions? Thanks.

  2. Try using a half cup of ammonia mixed with water in the machine before loading. Hope it helps.

  3. I have had the same problem with grape seed oil in dish towels. The best method I have found so far is hand washing them in the sink with dish soap and loads of baking soda. It is true that the heat from the dryer makes the smell worse so I opt for this method and hang dry even though it is time consuming.

  4. Please inform me how to wash off grape seed oil from towels used for massages.

  5. I have been a massage therapist for over 10 years. I buy a water dispersible massage oil, which washes out of clothes and supposedly towels. My towels are still in great condition after several years, but they do still have some residue of oil. I also use excellent quality essential oils and wonder if they are the culprit. I won’t stop using them though. I will try the Citra-solv. If you need any further info on where to get the H20 massage oil, let me know, or just google it. That is all I use. Hope this helps

  6. Hi Kristine,
    Did you have any luck getting the oil out of your towels? I use the water-dispersible oil too, but after a few uses, they still have oil residue that I would like to remove. Thanks!

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