How To Remove Oil Stains From Jeans

Have you ever thought about how to remove oil stains from jeans?

Are oil stains the most difficult to remove from jeans, and are they harder to remove from jeans than from other types of clothing?

An oil stain is one of the most challenging stains to remove, and surprisingly, polyester is harder to get oil stains out of than jeans!

As with all other oil stains, the quicker you react, the better your chance of a successful removal with fewer steps.

So, knowing what to do is the key – you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money, and problems plus so much more using everyday household products!

Are you ready to get started learning how to save your favorite jeans?

Items You’ll Need

In this section, we’ll list and discuss the everyday household items you’ll need to remove oil stains from jeans.

Additionally, we’ll provide alternatives as possible options for items, if applicable.

Paper Towels (Or Alternatives)

Paper towels or another absorbent material, such as a napkin, tissue, cotton swab, cloth, or towel is used to blot at the stain to soak up any excess oil.

I’ve found that microfiber cloths work best.

Absorbent Powder

An absorbent powder, such as baby powder, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, artificial sweeteners like Equal and Splenda, or something similar, is used to soak up any oil remaining in the stain.


Any kind of hairspray is used to remove more stubborn oil stains from jeans.

Pro Tip:

It’s a good idea to carry a travel-sized hairspray when you’re away from home, so you’re prepared
in the event of any oil stain emergencies!

Club Soda

Club soda is used to blot away an oil stain.

Order some here.


Aspirin is ground into the water – enough of both to make a paste – which works specifically well on white jeans.

Liquid Dish Soap (Or Alternatives)

A liquid dish soap, preferably a grease-cutting alternative such as Dawn or Apex, shampoo, bar soap, etc. are used to remove oil from the stain.


Water, warm or hot, is used with various soaps to clean the stain.

Clean Cloth

A clean cloth, nail brush, old toothbrush, small scrub brush, or towel, etc., is used to rub the various cleaning agents and solutions into the stain to clean it, as well as for wiping away the absorbent powder.

These microfiber cleaning cloths that I found on Amazon work best for this step as well.

Pro Tip:

A big, fluffy makeup brush works excellent with the absorbent powders too!


WD-40 is used, if necessary, to remove more stubborn oil stains from jeans.

Laundry Detergent

Laundry Detergent is used to wash your clothing, as usual, following instructions on the care label.

Step By Step Instructions For How To Remove Oil Stains From Jeans

#1 Remove Any Excess Oil

Use a paper towel or another absorbent paper, napkin, cloth, cotton swab, or towel to blot at the stain, soaking up any excess oil, getting as much as possible.

#2 Absorbent Powder

Apply a generous amount of an absorbent powder from the items list to the oil stain and let it sit for 5 minutes up until overnight, soaking up as much of the oil from the stain as possible.

Wipe or brush away the powder – even using a big fluffy makeup brush.

#3 Liquid Dish Soap

Place a few drops of liquid dish soap, or an alternative from the items list, on the stain, followed by a few drops of water, working them into the stain with your thumb and finger.

Using an old toothbrush or a nail brush, rub the soap into the stain in a circular motion to help loosen up the oil.

Launder the denim as usual, following the garment care label exactly.

However, only air dry until you’re sure the stain is completely gone, as heat from the dryer will only set the stain into the denim, causing it to be much more difficult to remove.

Repeat these steps until the stain is gone, or if you have a more stubborn stain, move on to step #4.

#4 WD-40 Or Hairspray (If Necessary)

If your stain is proving more challenging to remove, a more drastic stain removal technique is to use a little WD-40 or Hairspray on the stained area of your jeans.

You can find WD-40 at any hardware store or even Wal-Mart, but if you want to order it from Amazon, click here.

Before proceeding, it’s a good idea to do a spot test on your jeans to make sure there aren’t any ill effects from the WD-40.

To perform a spot test for WD-40:

Apply a drop of WD-40 to a hidden or inconspicuous area of your denim, such as an inside seam or pocket.

Let it sit for 1 minute, then rinse with water and blot it dry with a clean towel.

If there’s no change, you should be able to safely use the WD-40 on the jeans.

If there’s a change, discontinue the use of the WD-40 and use something else, like hairspray.

Apply some WD-40 or hairspray to the stained area of your jeans and let it sit for 20 minutes.

Wash out the WD-40 or hairspray by repeating step #3.

Move on to step #5 and beyond if further remedies are needed.

Pro Tip:

If you keep a travel-sized hairspray in your bag, you’ll always be prepared when and wherever an oil stain may unexpectedly strike!

#5 Club Soda

Dab and blot or alternate between gently scrubbing and dabbing or blotting with a cloth dipped in club soda until the oil stain disappears.

Club soda is found in most homes, but it’s also located at restaurants and has certainly bailed many people out from a situation in which they end up with an emergency oil stain on their jeans, enabling them to react very quickly to the stain

#6 Aspirin

Ground up enough aspirin into water to make a thick, white paste and let it sit on your jeans for at least an hour before washing your jeans as usual, following the care label correctly.

However, only air dry until you’re sure the stain is completely gone, as heat from the dryer will only set the stain into the denim, causing it to be much more difficult to remove.

Pro Tip:

This method works most effectively with white jeans as the aspirin acts like white vinegar, and the paste will considerably lighten up the area around the stain.

Commonly Asked Questions

Does it matter how long the oil stain has been on my jeans or if they’ve already been washed and dried?

Yes, and no, it’s better and easier to remove oil stains more immediately, and without having been washed or dried, however, it’s not impossible once it’s happened.

Once the oil stain has been set by the dryer, follow some of the more drastic methods such as WD-40, hairspray, or repeating the processes a few times until the stain disappears.

Are there any laundry stain removers for oil stains on denim?

Yes, there are several, all of which can be easily found in places like grocery stores, Walmart, Target, and Amazon, etc.

Pre-treat your oil stain with the laundry stain remover, but be sure to check your denim care label to make sure they’re compatible, before laundering as usual and air drying, until the stain disappears.

Here are one or two I’ve seen getting results, and I found them on Amazon with high ratings and reviews:

The Laundress – Stain Solution, Unscented, Clothing Stain Remover, Baby Stains and Blood Spots on Laundry, Liquid Spot Remover, Laundry Stain Remover, 16 fl.

It conquers tough stains – just a few drops lift old and new stains such as coffee, ink, blood, and oil.

For all colors and fabrics – use on whites, darks, colors, and all washable fabrics, such as denim.
A highly concentrated formula – A little goes a long way!

Puracy Natural Laundry Stain Remover, Enzyme-Based Spot Cleaner, Free & Clear, 25 Ounce

It eliminates blood, oil, cosmetics, pet accidents, and hundreds of other stains.

It’s effective on clothing, dress shirts, bedding, cloth diapers, denim, and other washable fabric.


Did you enjoy learning how to remove oil stains from jeans?

Instead of putting them aside or saying goodbye to your favorite pair of jeans, you’ll now be able to wear them with pride – with little problem and without even less cost, by using a few different techniques and a couple of everyday household items!