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 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Washing machine
  • Clothes dryer (optional)


  • Heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent
  • Stain remover (optional)


pretreating the stain with detergent
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

The introduction of nylon fibers in the late 1930s changed both the textile and manufacturing worlds. Not only do women have sheer stockings now, but fishermen have stronger lines, promising ballerinas can buy tutus less expensively, and more durable floor mats are found in most cars.

Nylon is extremely durable but 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 (umbrellas are made of nylon). The fibers used for clothing and accessories are usually soft and silky. However, due to how it is manufactured, nylon material attracts oil stains. You can remove these stains at home, just keep the material away from heat.

Before You Begin

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 as sheer as women's stockings to heavy tarps or tent fabrics.

How to Remove Oil Stains From Nylon

Most stains can be removed from nylon following recommended stain removal steps for the specific stain. Oil stains can be tough but are usually easily removed if treated immediately.

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

    Use an enzyme-based pre-treater or a bit of heavy-duty laundry detergent (such as Tide or Persil) that contains enough enzymes to break apart an oil or protein stain.

    pretreating the stained garment
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 
  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, repeat the cleaning instructions as necessary. Check the garment to be sure the stains have been removed before drying. Heat from a tumble dryer or iron will set oil stains and make them almost impossible to remove from the nylon material.

    putting the garment into the washer
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Use Low Heat to Dry

    Dry on the lowest heat setting or hang from a clothesline or drying rack to air-dry.

    hanging the garment to dry
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Wash and Dry 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.


  • 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. To remove wrinkles, rewash the garment or spritz with water and allow the item to air dry.