How to Get Petroleum Distillates Out of Clothes

by David Lipscomb

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.