Stain Removal for Animal Fats and Oils

Man pouring oive oil
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Yes and no. Both are fatty stains that will need hot water and deep penetration by your stain removers to have a chance of getting all of those tiny fibers of your clothes to be rid of the oil.  But animal fats in some ways are worse than vegetable oils because they have added animal proteins that can be difficult to remove fully.  Technically these stains aren't just oil-based stains or protein based stains but are instead combination stains that need a one-two punch to knock them out.​

How Do I Remove Animal Fat and Oil Stains?

Start by using a spoon or dull butter knife to gently scrape away as much of the stain as possible so that you will only have to deal with the part that has soaked into the fabric. Next, we are going to go straight to a stain remover.  Apply your favorite and let it stand for 7-10 minutes. We want it to soak in and get to all of the oily parts of the stain. Do not rinse, but instead go ahead and add a little liquid laundry detergent directly to the stained area.  If you don't have liquid laundry detergent, use a little dish soap instead.  Allow this to sit for at least 5-10 minutes.

Put the clothing into the washing machine and wash on the hottest setting that is still safe for your clothing type. Before drying, double check that the stain has been fully removed.  Air dry the clothing the first time to make sure you don't see a darkened area where the stain was. If you do, repeat all the steps above until it is fully removed and only then will it be safe to machine dry the clothing.

What Are the Best Stain Removers to Use?

Most laundry stain removers will do a good job.  If you want an added boost, you can look for a stain remover with enzymes that will help break down the protein part of the stain. Liquid laundry detergent and dish soap both do a great job at breaking down the oily part of the stain, too.

What About Old Animal Fat and Oil Stains?

If you've discovered an old stain, you can try the steps above.  You will likely need to repeat them several times before seeing an improvement.  You can also try soaking the stained area in a bucket of warm water and liquid laundry detergent for 30 minutes to an hour before washing in the hottest water safe for your fabric type.

You can also make a baking soda paste of 1/4 cup of baking soda and a 1/4 cup of water.  Mix and rub on the stained area.  Allow it to dry before washing in the hottest water safe for the fabric type.