How to remove olive oil stains

Olive oil is a kitchen staple that adds delicious flavor to countless dishes. However, this versatile oil can also leave behind stubborn stains on clothing, upholstery, and other fabrics if spilled or splattered. Removing olive oil stains can be a challenge, but with the right techniques, you can get your items looking fresh and clean again.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process for effectively removing olive oil stains from a variety of surfaces. We’ll cover the best cleaning methods, essential stain-fighting products, and share expert tips to ensure you get the best results. Whether you’re dealing with a recent olive oil spill or a long-set stain, you’ll find the information you need to tackle the problem and restore your belongings.

remove olive oil stains

Olive oil is a natural, plant-based fat that is liquid at room temperature. This makes olive oil stains unique compared to other types of oil or grease stains. Olive oil is composed primarily of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can penetrate deep into fabrics and create difficult-to-remove stains.

When olive oil is spilled or splattered, it quickly spreads and soaks into the fibers of the material. As the oil dries, it hardens and becomes more difficult to treat. Over time, olive oil stains can also oxidize and discolor the fabric, making them even harder to get out.

Another challenge with olive oil stains is that they can leave a noticeable ring or outline, even after initial cleaning attempts. This is because the oil can spread outward from the original spill area, creating a larger stain pattern.

Treating Olive Oil Stains Quickly

The sooner you can treat an olive oil stain, the better. Acting fast is key to preventing the stain from setting in and becoming more difficult to remove. As soon as you notice an olive oil spill or splash, follow these initial steps:

  1. Blot the stain: Use a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towels to gently blot and lift as much of the excess oil as possible. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can push the oil deeper into the fabric.
  2. Apply a stain pretreatment: Look for a specialized stain remover or pretreatment product formulated for oil-based stains. Apply it directly to the affected area, making sure to cover the entire stain. Allow the product to sit for the recommended time before washing.
  3. Wash the item: Once you’ve pretreated the stain, wash the item as soon as possible using the hottest water temperature safe for the fabric. This will help the cleaning agents in the detergent better penetrate and lift the oil stain.

If the stain is on a delicate fabric or item that can’t be washed, take it to a professional cleaner as soon as possible for specialized treatment.

Removing Set-in Olive Oil Stains

If an olive oil stain has had time to set in and become more stubborn, don’t worry – there are still effective ways to tackle it. Here are some recommended methods for removing older, more difficult olive oil stains:

  1. Pre-treat with dish soap: Liquid dish soap can be an effective degreasing agent for olive oil stains. Apply a small amount of dish soap directly to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing. The soap will help break down the oil.
  2. Try an enzyme cleaner: Enzyme-based stain removers are designed to break down the molecular bonds of oil and grease stains. Apply the enzyme cleaner to the stain, allow it to sit as directed, then wash the item. One popular enzyme-based stain remover is OxiClean Max Force Gel Stain Remover.
  3. Use baking soda and vinegar: Make a paste by mixing baking soda and white vinegar, then gently rub it into the stain. Let it sit for 30 minutes before washing. The baking soda will help absorb the oil while the vinegar cuts through it.
  4. Apply cornstarch or talcum powder: Sprinkle either of these powder-based products generously over the stain and let it sit for several hours or overnight. The powders will help draw the oil out of the fabric fibers. Brush or vacuum the powder away before washing.
  5. Launder with an oil-fighting detergent: Look for laundry detergents that contain special ingredients to target and lift oil-based stains, such as Persil ProClean Original Liquid Detergent. Run the item through a wash cycle using the hottest water temperature safe for the fabric.

For particularly stubborn olive oil stains, you may need to repeat the pre-treatment and washing process a few times to fully remove the stain. Be patient and persistent, and the stain should eventually lift.

Removing Olive Oil Stains from Fabrics

Olive oil stains can occur on a variety of fabrics, from clothing and upholstery to carpets and linens. The approach you take will depend on the type of fabric and the age of the stain. Here are some tips for tackling olive oil stains on different surfaces:


  • Pretreat the stain with a stain remover or dish soap before washing.
  • Launder the item in the hottest water safe for the fabric, using an enzyme-based or oily stain-fighting detergent like Tide PODS Plus Febreze Odor Defense.
  • For set-in stains, try rubbing a small amount of cornstarch or talcum powder into the fabric and letting it sit before washing.
  • Avoid putting the item in the dryer if the stain remains – the heat can set the oil further.

Upholstery and Carpets

  • Blot up any excess oil as soon as possible using clean, absorbent cloths.
  • Spray the stain with a specialized upholstery or carpet cleaner formulated for oil-based stains, such as Resolve Upholstery Cleaner.
  • Use a sponge or soft-bristle brush to gently work the cleaner into the fabric, then let it sit for the recommended time.
  • Blot the area with clean towels to lift the oil and cleaner.
  • For stubborn stains, you may need to repeat the cleaning process a few times.
  • Avoid using hot water or steam cleaning, as the heat can drive the oil deeper into the fibers.

Linens and Bedding

  • Pretreat the stain with a stain remover or dish soap before washing.
  • Launder the item using the hottest water safe for the fabric and an enzyme or oily stain-fighting detergent like Persil ProClean.
  • For set-in stains, try rubbing in a paste of baking soda and white vinegar before washing.
  • Air dry the item if possible, as the heat from a dryer can set any remaining stain.

Preventing Future Olive Oil Stains

The best way to deal with olive oil stains is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some tips to help avoid olive oil spills and splatters:

  • Use caution when pouring, cooking, or transferring olive oil. Pour slowly and carefully to minimize spills.
  • Wear an apron or protective clothing when cooking with olive oil to catch any splashes.
  • Wipe up any small spills or drips immediately with a clean, absorbent cloth.
  • Keep olive oil bottles and containers away from the edge of counters or tables to prevent accidental knocks or bumps.
  • When storing olive oil, keep the containers tightly sealed to prevent leaks or spills.

By taking these proactive measures, you can help reduce the risk of stubborn olive oil stains on your fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. And if a stain does occur, act quickly and follow the effective removal techniques outlined in this guide to get your items looking fresh and new again.


Olive oil stains can be a frustrating problem, but with the right knowledge and cleaning methods, you can successfully remove them from a variety of surfaces. Remember to act quickly, use the appropriate stain-fighting products, and be persistent if the stain is set in.

By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to tackling olive oil spills and restoring your fabrics, carpets, and upholstery to their former glory. With a little elbow grease and the right techniques, you can say goodbye to olive oil stains for good.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.