How to Get Petroleum Distillates Out of Clothes

by David Lipscomb ; Updated September 28, 2017

Petroleum distillate stains are some of the most difficult to remove from clothing, precisely because oil is resistant to water. Because liquid stain removers -- including good old H2O -- have trouble penetrating oil stains, alternative techniques have to be used. Using the right materials and techniques makes worrying about getting these spots off your articles a thing of the past.

Items you will need

  • Baking soda
  • Dishwasher detergent
Step 1

Make a paste out of water and baking soda.

Step 2

Rub the paste into the stain. Let it sit for up to an hour as the oil is absorbed into the mixture. If the article is dry-clean only, wipe off the excess paste and deliver it to the cleaners. Be sure to point out where the spot is so they can focus on it.

Step 3

Wipe away the paste. Apply a dab of dishwashing soap onto the oil stain. The same properties of dishwashing detergent that break up grease and oil on plates and utensils work equally well on clothing.

Step 4

Wash the article as directed on the care tag. Do not machine dry the piece unless you're sure the spot is removed, since heat sets stains.

Photo Credits

  • James Woodson/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.