How to Remove Oil Stains From Nylon Clothes

How to Remove Oil Stains From Nylon Clothes

The Spruce / Alex Dos Diaz

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to 10

Nylon does not exist in nature; it is a form of plastic developed by a DuPont chemist, Wallace Carothers. Nylon is often manufactured first in large plastic chips which are melted at high heat and drawn through a plate with dozens of tiny holes (a spinneret) to create strands of nylon yarn. The strands can then be woven into fabrics that range from sheer women's stockings to heavy tarps or tent fabrics.

While nylon is extremely durable, it is sensitive to high temperatures in the washer, dryer, or when ironing. Its fibers are dyed during manufacturing so the finished fabric is colorfast and resistant to fading, mold, insects, and water. The fibers used for clothing and accessories are usually soft and silky. However, due to how it is manufactured, nylon material attracts oil stains. Luckily, it isn't too difficult to remove these stains at home.

 Stain type  Oil-based
 Detergent type  Heavy-duty
 Water temperature  Cold or warm
 Cycle type  Hand or delicate

Before You Begin

As with all laundry stains, especially those with an oily base, the sooner you treat the stain, the likelier it is that you'll be able to remove it entirely.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Washing machine or sink
  • Clothes dryer (optional)


  • Heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent
  • Laundry pre-treatment stain remover spray or gel


How to Remove Oil Stains From Nylon Clothes

Oil stains on nylon exercise wear, nightclothes, shirts, or other garments can be tough, but quick treatment will usually remove them.

oil stain on nylon activewear

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

  1. Pre-Treat With Enzymatic or Heavy-Duty Detergent

    Apply an enzyme-based laundry pre-treatment spray or gel, such as Zout or Shout, to the stain. If you don't have a stain remover, substitute a bit of heavy-duty laundry detergent such as Tide or Persil. Work the stain remover into the stain with your fingers.

  2. Wash as Usual

    Follow the washing directions on the care label for the clothing item. Nylon can be hand washed or washed using the delicate cycle in a machine in cold or warm water. If the stain persists, reapply the laundry stain remover and then rewash the garment.


    Don't put the clothing into a clothes dryer until the stain is entirely gone. Heat will set an oil stain, making it almost impossible to remove from nylon.

    pretreating the stained garment

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

  3. Use Low Heat to Dry

    Once you are sure that the stain is gone, dry the garment on the lowest heat setting of your dryer, or hang from a clothesline or drying rack to air-dry.


    Never dry nylon on high heat, which can melt or damage the fibers.

    hanging the garment to dry
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Additional Tips for Caring for Nylon Clothes

Unless the nylon fibers are combined with non-washable fibers, nylon clothes can be machine or hand-washed using cool or warm water and any commercial or homemade detergent (always check the manufacturer's care label.) When tackling oily stains on nylon, opt for a heavy-duty detergent.

If the item is delicate, like lingerie, consider hand-washing or use the gentle cycle in a washer with the item placed in a protective mesh bag.

It is always best to wash nylon garments with similar synthetic fabric items after you have closed all zippers and turned the garments inside out. Washing a nylon shirt with a pair of blue jeans can result in snags and pulls.

Nylon is quick-drying, and air drying is most gentle on these clothes. However, nylon garments can be tumbled dry on low to warm heat. The problem with tumble drying is that nylon clothes can develop static cling. This can be reduced by using natural wool dryer balls or a dryer sheet, however.


  • Ironing nylon clothes is not recommended because an excessively hot iron can actually melt the fibers. If you must press something nylon or with nylon content, use a low iron temperature and always place a pressing cloth between the nylon fabric and the surface of the iron.
  • Using a clothes steamer can remove wrinkles from nylon, but high heat can also cause melting and create holes. Excessive heat can cause the garment to shrink, and that cannot be reversed. Always hold the steam wand at least 12 inches from the clothes and keep it moving.