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How to Get Vaseline Out of Clothes

Vaseline is one of those sneaky substances that tend to smear everywhere when you use it for chapped lips or other ailments! On top of that, this product leaves greasy stains on any fabric it touches. The good news is that you can learn how to get vaseline out of clothes in six easy methods!

The quickest ways to get vaseline out of clothes are to use an iron to melt the grease away or to apply dish soap and gently scrub the grease out. Other effective methods include applying cornstarch to absorb the fresh grease. Soaking in rubbing alcohol or using a strong laundry detergent can also work.

In this article, you will learn what makes vaseline stains difficult to budge. You will discover six simple methods for stain removal. Finally, you will get tips for getting vaseline out of many items like sheets, silk, and carpets!

How to Get Vaseline Out of Clothes

Does Vaseline Stain Clothes?

Vaseline can stain clothes quite badly, as will many other oil-based ointments or lotions. That said, you do not need to let a vaseline stain ruin your clothes! Oil and grease stains may seem impossible, but you can learn a few simple tricks to rescue your clothing from even the toughest Vaseline stain.

Vaseline is the original brand name for petroleum jelly; a product first sold way back in the 1800s. Other brand names like Aquaphor contain a large percentage of petroleum but may also incorporate mineral oils and/or waxes.

These products have health applications like soothing chapped skin and moisturizing dry skin. While the scientific acceptance of the curing properties of this product have waned with time, the FDA does still recognize Vaseline as an over-the-counter skin treatment.

No matter what brand or petroleum jelly you like to use, the key thing you need to understand is what makes petroleum itself such a tricky stain.

Petroleum jelly is a unique semi-solid product composed of hydrocarbons. It originally comes from fossil fuels, as does petroleum! This product is insoluble in water, which makes it a good moisturizer.

Of course, anything that cannot dissolve in water is not likely to easily come out in the washing machine! This is what makes oil stains hard to remove from clothing.

Does Vaseline Come Out of Clothes?

Vaseline stains can come out of clothes when treated correctly. Like most grease or oil-based stains, petroleum jelly can leave dark discolorations on fabric that does not come out in a regular washing machine cycle. Some commercial stain removers will work on grease stains, while others are designed for protein-based stains and will not even touch the oil stains!

For this reason, you may want to focus on treatment methods that work specifically on oil stains. So, what will remove petroleum jelly?

Well, you already know that water will not work. But petroleum jelly is slightly soluble in alcohol, especially if you use strong alcohol such as isopropyl alcohol. It also fully dissolves in more dangerous products like turpentine and chloroform, but you probably want to stay away from those!

Soap is a great degreaser, so a straight application of dish soap or laundry detergent may work, especially if you can catch the stain while still fresh. This makes sense because soap is designed to break down oil particles and remove grease from dishes and other surfaces!

Because of the interesting semi-solid state of petroleum jelly, you can also use heat to melt it into a liquid state and soak it up with a paper towel.

You can also use an absorbent powder to soak up the moisture and remove a lot of it from your fabric without any work at all!

All that said, the bottom line is that you will have to take a little trouble and use a special method targeted at getting oil out of fabric if you want to remove a vaseline stain from your clothes. Keep reading to find more details and step-by-step guides to six successful ways to get these stains out of your clothes!

How to Get Vaseline Out of Clothes: 6 Methods

Does Vaseline Come Out of Clothes

You can get Vaseline stains from clothes using dish soap or laundry soap, rubbing alcohol, a hot iron, cornstarch, or even simple white vinegar! These methods take a little bit of time and effort, but the good news is that they only require basic household products that you probably already have on hand.

As with any stain, your best chance of success is to catch the stain as quickly as possible before it has time to set into the fabric. That said, you can find tips for how to get a set-in grease stain out of fabric later on in this article, so don’t give up hope if a stain slipped past you in the wash!

1. Dish Soap

Mrs. Meyer's Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Cruelty Free Formula, Radish Scent, 16 Oz BottleDish soap is the most effective way to get Vaseline stains out of the fabric. Unfortunately, this method does take a little bit of elbow grease, but it works! This is because dish soap has extra-strong grease-busting properties.

How does this work? Without getting too complicated, dish soap molecules have one end that sticks to oil and one end that bonds with water. This means that the soap can grab tiny bits of oil and suspend them in the water. Once the oil breaks up into tiny droplets within the water, you can easily rinse it away!

To use dish soap on Vaseline stains:

  1. Squirt a good dollop of dish soap right onto the stain. To get precise, you will probably need a teaspoon of strong dish soap like Dawn.
  2. Use your fingers to gently work the soap into a lather over the stain. Make sure the soap gets down into the fibers of the fabric. You could also use a soft fabric brush for this purpose, but make sure you do not scrub from inside the stain to outside the stain, as this could make the stain bigger.
  3. Next, hold the stain under warm running water. Allow the soap and grease to rinse out through the backside of the material.
  4. Once all the soap is gone, let the garment air dry. Check it to see if any staining remains after it dries.

2. Rubbing Alcohol/Isopropyl Alcohol

Rubbing AlcoholSoaking a Vaseline stain in strong isopropyl alcohol is also a great way to remove the stain. This method takes a little more time but less scrubbing work.

Why does it work? Petroleum jelly is insoluble in water but partially soluble in most types of alcohol, meaning the fat lipids can dissolve in alcohol. This is why many stain-lifting laundry detergents include a form of alcohol as well!

That said, some non-colorfast garments could bleed dye when treated with rubbing alcohol.

Make sure you spot-test before trying this method! Simply apply a small drop of alcohol to an inside seam allowance in your garment. Let it sit for ten minutes, and check to see if the fabric has discolored.

You can use isopropyl alcohol on a Vaseline stain in two different ways. For a small stain:

  1. Place something absorbent like a folded paper towel behind the stain so that no grease will escape damaging other areas of the garment.
  2. Soak a clean cotton ball in the alcohol.
  3. Dab the cotton ball onto the stain. Move from outside the discolored area to inside to avoid smearing any grease.
  4. Continue this motion until you have soaked the fabric thoroughly with the alcohol.
  5. Let it sit for five minutes.
  6. Rinse thoroughly under cool running water. If you still see discoloring, try moving straight onto the dish soap method.

For a bigger stain, you can try soaking the stained part of the garment in a container of alcohol

  1. Set up a flat workspace with a disposable container like a plastic cup. Fill the cup half full with isopropyl alcohol.
  2. Submerge the stained section of the garment into the cup, making sure the rest of the garment can easily rest on the flat surface beside the cup.
  3. Let this sit for ten minutes.
  4. Scrub the stained area with a clean rag.
  5. Rinse out the alcohol and let the garment air dry.
  6. Check if the stained area remains discolored or if all the grease is gone!

3. Vinegar

VinegarVinegar and baking soda offer the gentlest, least chemical way to clean Vaseline stains out of clothes. This method is not 100% effective like using dish soap. Still, it does provide a gentle alternative perfect for anyone with sensitive skin or a way to work on delicate fabric that can’t handle stronger products.

Unlike rubbing alcohol, vinegar should not harm most types of fabric. You will want to make sure you wash your clothing after trying this, though, to get the pickle smell out of the fabric!

  1. Mix a bucket containing equal amounts of water and distilled white vinegar.
  2. Submerge your garment in this solution and let it soak for at least ten minutes.
  3. Remove the garment from the water, press out some liquid, and spread it flat on a clean towel, with the stained area facing up.
  4. Apply a spoonful of baking soda to the stain.
  5. Rub it into the fabric, using either your fingers or a soft brush. The baking soda will abrade the fabric, removing the oil particles that the vinegar already loosened.
  6. Finally, rinse out the garment under cool running water.
  7. Put it in your washing machine and wash it as usual, but don’t place it in your dryer. Instead, allow the garment to air dry so you can inspect it once dry and make sure you got all the grease out.

4. Cornstarch

365 by Whole Foods Market, Corn Starch, 16 OunceThe laziest way to get Vaseline stains out of your clothes is to use cornstarch. This soft, absorbent powder can soak up the oil in just a few minutes!
  1. Spread out the garment, so it lies flat. Put a paper towel behind the stained area so grease does not soak into the reverse side of the clothing.
  2. Sprinkle a liberal amount of cornstarch over the entire stain. You want a pretty thick layer of the powder.
  3. Let the cornstarch sit for twenty minutes.
  4. Use a small vacuum to suck up all the cornstarch. Shake out the garment for good measure, and then check to see if any stain remains!

5. Iron

Using heat to melt the Vaseline out of your clothes is one of the quickest ways to remove this kind of stain, especially if you notice it right when it happens! You may need to follow up this treatment with the dish soap method to get all of the oil out, though.

You should also check the manufacturer’s label inside your garment before attempting this method. You can safely iron many types of fabric, but some kinds of material need a lower temperature, and others should not be ironed at all.

  1. To start, use a plastic spoon, a credit card, or even a piece of sturdy cardboard to scrape up as much of the jelly as you can. Try not to smear it across any unstained fabric as you do this! Dispose of this excess jelly before you start on stain removal.
  2. Next, fold up two thick wads of paper towels. One will go beneath the stained area so that the oil does not soak through into any other parts of the garment. The other will go on top.
  3. Set your iron to a low setting. On many irons, you can use a synthetics or delicates setting for this.
  4. Slowly run the iron back and forth over the top paper towel. The heat will melt the petroleum jelly, and the paper towel will absorb it.
  5. Replace the paper towel on top frequently, as fresh papers will more easily absorb more of the grease.
  6. Once most of the grease is gone, allow the garment to cool and then inspect it to see if any discoloring remains. In most cases, you will need to follow up this treatment with either the dish soap or laundry soap treatment.

6. Laundry Detergent

Arm & Hammer 33200-00556 Liquid Laundry Detergent, Clean Burst, 213 oz. 142 loads (Pack of 2)It’s true that simply throwing clothes stained with Vaseline in the wash will not do a lot of good, but you can often treat a stain by applying laundry detergent directly!

Not every laundry detergent will work great on grease, though. Look for a detergent that contains enzymes like lipase or Amylase, or for Alcohol Ethoxylates that can break up the bonds holding those insoluble fat lipids in the fabric. If reading all the ingredients on various detergent canisters seems too much work, just try to find a product that promises degreasing properties!

  1. As always, start by removing any visible petroleum jelly with a flat scraper such as a plastic knife or spoon. This way, you won’t accidentally make the stain bigger as you work.
  2. Depending on the size of the grease stain, apply anywhere from half a teaspoon to one or two teaspoons of laundry detergent directly to the stain.
  3. Use your fingers, a clean sponge, or a soft brush to work the soap into a lather. Rub it well into the fibers of the fabric.
  4. Let it sit for five minutes.
  5. Finally, launder the garment as usual in your washing machine. Just make sure you take it out to air dry instead of putting it in the dryer!

How Do You Remove Set-In Grease Stains?

The best way to remove set-in grease stains is to use the cornstarch method described earlier in this article or baking soda.

To try baking soda on an old Vaseline stain, follow these steps:

  1. Put a piece of cardboard behind the stained section on the clothing to absorb any oil that escapes.
  2. Measure two to three tablespoons of baking soda directly onto the stain. Use a brush to work the soda into the stain until you see clumps forming. This will happen when the baking soda begins to absorb the moisture out of the stain.
  3. Shake away the clumped baking soda and repeat this process.
  4. Now that you have removed most of the oil from the stain try treating it with dish soap.
  5. Finally, wash the garment in your washing machine but let it air dry just in case, so you can check to make sure the stain is gone!

How to Get Vaseline Out of Clothes After Washing?

You can usually get Vaseline stains out of clothes after washing by using any of the methods described in this article. Using a powdery substance like cornstarch or baking soda to absorb the oil up out of the stain works especially well, though you may have to go on to scrub in some dish soap as an additional step.

The problem with treating any oil stain after washing is that it will get increasingly more set-in the longer it remains in the fabric. On top of that, the agitation and friction created in the washing machine can cause the tiny fat lipids inside every drop of oil to work their way deep into the fabric’s fibers.

All of that goes to say that while you can get these stains out, you should expect to spend more time scrubbing and rinsing. You may have to repeat each process multiple times.

How Do You Get Aquaphor Out of Clothes After Drying?

You can get Aquaphor out of clothes after drying in most cases by applying direct grease-lifting laundry detergent or by using strong dish soap. Aquaphor is just another brand of petroleum jelly, though it does often include various other mineral oils and waxes. You can treat it with the same methods you would use on Vaseline stains in clothes.

Grease stains can look almost invisible on clothing and then suddenly appear as dark discolorations after going through the washer and dryer. Unfortunately, it also gets increasingly harder to get a stain out after it has experienced the high heat in the dryer.

Your best bet, in this case, is to try using a really powerful laundry detergent that contains oil-lifting enzymes. Alternatively, you can use Dawn dish soap and follow the steps described in the dish soap method earlier in this article.

How to Get Vaseline Out Of Everything

Now that you know six handy Vaseline removal methods check out these tips for handling tricky stains in special materials!

Cotton

You can easily get Vaseline stains out of cotton fabric using any of the six methods described in this article! Cotton allows really easy care and cleaning as it can handle all manner of soaps and responds well to heat.

If you’re in a hurry, try the iron method to melt the oil right out of the cotton. For another pretty quick solution, try using the dish soap or laundry soap methods.

Silk

It is not easy to get any kind of stain out of silk, but you can try using an overnight method to get Vaseline stains out of this delicate fabric. Make sure you read the care label on your silk clothing before trying any stain removing methods, though!

The safest, most gentle approach when dealing with an oil stain on silk is to sprinkle a thick layer of talcum powder over the stain. Let the powder sit overnight. In the morning, shake off the powder and then wash the garment as you usually would.

Carpet

You can usually get vaseline stains out of a carpet using cornstarch. The great thing about using this method on a carpet is that you can easily vacuum up the cornstarch and leave nothing behind on the carpet!

The other option is to mix up water and dish soap in a spray bottle, spritz the stain, ad let it sit for ten minutes. Then blot the areas with a clean, damp rag to rinse the soap back out.

Out of Sheets

The best way to get Vaseline stains out of sheets is to use the dish soap method described earlier in this article. Dish soap will cut through the grease and lift oil particles out so that they can rinse away in the water. Make sure you scrape away any visible petroleum jelly before you start adding soap, though, to avoid spreading the oil stain!

Alternatively, you can also try using dry cleaning solvent. This is an extreme method but can work well on sheets or a comforter when the Vaseline stain is old and has become set in. For this method, wear gloves and use a rag dipped in the solvent to blot the stain until it disappears.

Off Walls

This one may seem a bit off the wall (see what we did there?), but in some cases, you may need to know how to get Vaseline off of walls! Fortunately, this process is pretty easy.

Just squirt some dish soap onto a clean paper towel and rub this over the stain on the wall. Let the soap sit there for a good twenty minutes.

After the twenty minutes, take a clean fabric rag, soak it in warm water, wring it out, and wipe off the soap. You may have to rinse your rag and wipe the wall a few more times to get away any lingering residue.

Conclusion

Vaseline leaves oil-based stains on fabric that will not come out using regular washing methods. But you can get these tough stains out of clothes using dish soap or laundry soap applied directly to the fabric quite easily! You can also use an iron to melt the oil or simple home remedies such as rubbing alcohol, vinegar, cornstarch, or baking soda.

Vaseline is simply a brand name for petroleum jelly. These methods will also work on other types of petroleum jelly products like Aquaphor.