Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 3, 2015
Photos By: Northern Belle Diaries

Let’s face it; we’ve thrown away more shirts than we care to admit after working a weekend out in the garage. Whether it’s our lawn mower or the Mustang, chances are you’re draining, filling, or lubricating something with oil. Trying to keep oil splash at bay is tough and eventually you end up “decorating” your T-shirt with a nice Rorschach pattern made from 10W30. But there may be hope for that oil stained shirt yet, especially if it is cotton.

We stumbled across a site earlier this week espousing the virtues of how well this home-made oil stain removal process took care of those stubborn set-in stains that just won’t budge in normal washing. We checked it out and gave it a try ourselves and low and behold, it flat out works! So we decided to share it with our readers here.

Lisette is a blogger at Northern Belle Diaries and gets the credit for saving her husband’s collection of shirts from the donation pile. Her original blog dates back to July 2012 and has been shared worldwide. Below are the steps for removing set-in stains on cotton (which may work on other blends/materials) and be sure to check out her update where she shares readers’ comments on what worked for their stain removal at Northernbellediaries.com. Happy stain fighting!

What's Needed To Remove Oil Stains From Clothes

  • A scrap of cardboard to place under the stain
  • WD-40 or similar penetrating oil
  • Baking soda
  • Dawn liquid dish detergent
  • Old toothbrush
  • Standard laundry steps after stain removal process
  • Q-tips (optional)

Steps To Removal Oil Stains


Step 1. Place a scrap piece of cardboard underneath your stains. This will prevent transferring any stain to the back of the shirt. Spray each oil stain with WD-40. (Note: if the stain is really small, use a Q-tip to dab WD-40 onto the stain.)

Step 2. Pour a generous helping of the baking soda onto the oil stain and WD-40.

Step 3. Use your old toothbrush to scrub the baking soda into the oil stain on the shirt. Scrub until you see chunks of soda have soaked up the oil/WD-40.

Step 4. Repeat this process using a fresh application of baking soda until hardly any clumps appear. Wipe excess baking soda off of the shirt.

Step 5. Apply Dawn liquid detergent onto the area and scrub it in with the toothbrush.

Step 6. Wash the shirt as usual and to have stain-free clothing once again!