Vinegar and oil are among the more difficult spills to remove from fabric, but that is no reason to avoid your favorite Italian-style dressing. If you get vinaigrette on your clothes, quick action is the key to avoiding a lifelong oil-based stain. With preparation, you can eliminate the stain in a single wash cycle, returning your clothes to prespill condition. Treat the stain as soon as possible for the best results. Does this Spark an idea?
Apply a stain treatment to the entire area. Select a stain treatment designed to be applied before you wash the garment instead of a stain treatment used as a wash additive.2
Place a towel under the garment to avoid any seeping onto your counter or washing machine. If there is risk of the stain seeping through a layer of the clothing, place a small towel directly beneath the stain as well. Lay the garment flat to allow the treatment to soak into the dressing. Let the stain treatment rest on the dressing spill for the recommended time according to the package directions. Color damage may occur with some stain treatments, so use caution if you let it sit longer.3
Wash the garment with your usual detergent in the wash cycle recommended for that piece of clothing. Select a wash cycle with the hottest water recommended by the clothing care instructions. Do not use a wash cycle that is not recommended for the garment so you do not risk damaging it.4
Check the stain after the wash cycle. Repeat the treatment if it is not fully removed. Then, dry the garment according to the care instructions, or as you normally would.
Apply a layer of baking soda to the stain before treating it to soak up any excess oil. Wipe it away with a paper towel after 5 to 10 minutes.
If a fabric, such as wool, requires special care, follow the manufacturer’s care recommendations or consult a dry cleaner.
If the material is dry-clean only, consult a dry cleaner for stain removal to avoid damaging the fabric.