How To Get Massage Oil Stains Out Of Bed Sheets and Other Fabrics

Sharing is caring!

Oil and Fabric Don’t Mix

Oil and fabric are not friends. Oil on any kind of fabric can leave an unwanted discoloration and stain. And while a small spot on a shirt or table cloth is easy to tend to, what happens when you are dealing with a large oil stain? In this article, find out how to get massage oil out of sheets and other fabrics using fabric spray or dish soap.

By the way, if you are tired of always playing “catch-up” with your cleaning . . . Try this cleaning planner to keep you on track.

how to get massage oil out of sheets and other fabric text with woman getting an oily massage

There are sponsored links on this page from which I may get a commission at no added cost to you.  For more information, please read my Privacy Statement.

Type of Oil These Methods Work For

Natural oils such as:

Synthetic Oil such as:

woman getting an oily massage

Does Massage Oil Stain Sheets?

The answer to this is yes…and also no. If not tended to immediately, then yes, massage oil can definitely stain sheets. But if you follow the steps below and treat the oil as soon as it gets on the sheets or shortly after, you should have no problem getting the stain out.

How To Get Massage Oil Out Of Sheets

You can get massage oil out of sheets with many different products. And let me just say there are plenty of ideas on the internet. But as a scientist, I am going to tell you that there are some things that work and some that do not.

The best way to get oil out of your sheets or any other fabric is to use a product that will break it apart or absorb it. Most of these products will have a basic pH and/or be a surfactant.  

***Note: (A surfactant is something that decreases the surface tension between two substances, allowing for better penetration of the cleaning substance.) [source]

Most of the common surfactants are soaps. But there are other household items you can use too. If you want to know how to get massage oil out of sheets using household items, then check out the easy options below.

Related Post: How To Clean A Filthy House When You Don’t Know Where To Start: 9 Tips To Get You Started

woman pulling white sheet out of dryer

Important Tips For How To Get Oil Stains Out Of Your Bed Linens

1// Tackle the problem fast

The longer the oil stays on your sheets or fabric, the more time it has to spread and go deeper into the material.

2// Use the hottest water possible

Hot water is great for getting oil out of sheets and clothing because it helps separate the oil. Cold water and warm water can actually make it harder to get the stain out since some oil (like coconut oil) can become solid at room temperature.

3// Pre-treating helps a lot

If you are a massage therapist, then keeping a pre-treater close by your massage table sheets so you spray the stained sheets with Spray and Wash Max as soon as possible is a good idea. Even if you don’t have time to wash them right away. Pre-treating is also great for old stains like the ones you find on pillow cases, stubborn stains, and body oil stains.

4// Soak up extra before cleaning

If you spill a large amount and there is a puddle, sop up the extra right away before the oil seeps through the sheets. Use old bath towels, a microfiber cloth, or a paper towel. Anything that is very absorbent and you don’t care if it gets oil on it.

5// If one method does not work try a different one

Not every method will work for every stain or every person. So if one does not work try another one.

6// Do not dry your sheets or clothes until the stain is gone

As soon as you put a stained sheet or article of clothing into the dryer, that stain “sets”. Meaning it will be much more difficult or impossible to get the stain out.

Safe Products At Home that will get massage oil out of sheets:

So you just spilled essential oils or some other kind of oil on your new sheets. Here are some tried and true ways on how to get massage oil out of sheets using some safe and simple products you have at home and a good wash cycle in the laundry.

bottle of dish soap for getting massage oil stains out of sheets

How To Remove Massage Oil From Sheets Using Dish Soap

Liquid dish soap actually surrounds the oil molecules and forces them to break apart so they can not come back together. Or in this case re-absorb back into your sheets or fabric.

The best way to use liquid soap on a fabric oil stain is to run the fabric under water, add a drop or two of dish soap, and rub the fabric until the oil spot is removed.

If the oil stain on your sheets is small, then this would work for them.

If it is a large massage oil stain on a sheet, try this:

Add about 2 tsp of Dawn dish soap (a little bit goes a long way) and hot water into a bucket or sink basin.

Submerge the sheets in the water and rub the sheets together in the water, working the soap into the stained area.

Let the sheets stay in the hot soapy water for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Rinse the dish soap out well, then wash as normal in your washing machine.

person pouring liquid laundry detergent from a blue bottle into a white cap

How To Remove Massage Oil Stains From Sheets Using Liquid Laundry Detergent 

Laundry detergent is a base, like dish soap and therefore will help break up the oil and remove it from the fabric.

Pour the detergent directly on the oil stained sheets.

Rub the detergent around and really work it into the sheets

Allow the detergent to stay on the sheets for 15 minutes or up to overnight without letting the detergent dry.

Add the sheets to the normal washing machine cycle and wash as normal.

If you use your regular detergent and find that the stain is still present, then opt for a more high-quality detergent like Tide 10x Heavy Duty. Tide 10x is especially formulated to penetrate deep into fabric to help remove stains.

a bottle of rubbing alcohol to get massage oil stains out of sheets

Remove Massage Oil Stains From Sheets Using Alcohol (isopropanol, acetone, ethanol)

Alcohol can break down oil that is on your sheets.

Pour alcohol into a spray bottle and spray the stain. Or you can place the fabric into a bucket or basin and submerge the sheets in the alcohol. Let soak for 1 hour to overnight without letting the alcohol evaporate. Clean sheets normally in the washing machine.

jar of baking soda on a wooden background

How To Remove Massage Oil Using Baking Soda

Baking soda and salt are both basic and acidic. But it is the basic part of the salts that will help you get the oil stain out of your sheets. I personally like baking soda better for this, but you can use a fine grain salt if you are in a pinch.

Sprinkle some baking soda onto the oil stain. 

Rub the baking soda into the fabric and oil stain really well.

Allow the baking soda to remain on the oil stain for at least 15 minutes.

Rinse with hot water.

If the stain is still present, do the process a second time.

corn starch in a red bowl with yellow corn kernels on a dark table top

Remove Massage oil from sheets using Corn Starch

Corn starch works a little like baking soda. The powder is sprinkled onto the oil stain and it pulls it out of the sheets or fabric. Supposedly, this will work even on stains that have been set in, but I have to tell you I have not tried it. No corn starch? Try baby powder which contains cornstarch.

Products That Will Remove Oil Stains That You Can Buy

Sometimes, at home products just won’t work to remove unsightly stains. A better option may be to purchase a product that will work better and get your sheets or fabric back in good condition.

Fels Naptha

Fels Naptha bar soap is a soap that is notorious for getting out any kind of stain. Just rub it directly on the oil stain or any other stain with some water and work into the fabric. Rinse and repeat until the stain is gone then wash as normal.

Lava Soap

Lava soap is a soap used by many mechanics to help them get dirt and greasy stains off their hands and out of their clothes. Like Fels Naptha, Lava soap is best for spot treatment on fabric. Work the soap into the fabric using some water. Rinse and repeat until the soiled spot is gone. Then wash as usual in the washing machine.

Tide 10X Heavy Duty Laundry Detergent

If you are washing your sheets regularly due to large massage oil stains, then it may be a good idea to invest in some heavy duty liquid detergents. Tide 10 Heavy Duty Detergent targets heavy staining from all sources.  

Stain Remover Spray Pre-Treatment

If the stain is super stubborn, then you can also try pre-treating the massage oil stain with a laundry stain removal product especially for oil and grease stains. I like Spray and Wash Max for the best stain removal of any kind. Just pretreat the entire oil stain with the spray. Let the spray sit on the stain for at least 1 hour (I like to leave it 24 hours). Then wash in the washing machine as usual.  

Other Heavy Duty Stain Removers You Can Try On Oil Stains- 

***These solutions have been recommended on the internet but I have not tried them myself, so please be cautious when trying them. Be sure to test a small area before putting any of these products all over your sheets or other fabric.


Gojo is a heavy duty degreaser used by mechanics. They use it on their hands. So if you use it on fabric of any kind, please use caution and test it first. Also know that Gojo has many harsh chemicals according to CPID.

Pine sol

Most of us know Pine sol as a floor cleaner. It makes since that it probably has some oil removing properties because it is known for not leaving any streaks on your floors. But again, I have not used this one fabric, so please be cautious and test it in an inconspicuous spot before using it on your sheets.

Coca Cola

I watched a mechanic do this to all of his grease and oil ridden pants he wears to the garage. He placed the pants in a bucket, poured several two liters of coke on them, and then eventually washed them in the washing machine. He does not show the pants at the end, so I don’t actually know if they get clean. Here is the video.

brown hydrogen peroxide bottle with blue cap

When To Use Hydrogen Peroxide On An Oil Stain

After you have tried all of the above suggestions, if you still have a stain, try using hydrogen peroxide. I only recommend this after everything else because hydrogen peroxide does not actually remove the oil. But it will remove the color of the stain made by the oil.

The color of the sheets matters here. If the oil residue or old oil stain is on colored sheets or dark sheets, then definitely spot test the hydrogen peroxide first. You can do this somewhere on the sheets that the test spot will not be seen. Possibly on a fitted sheet near the part that goes under the mattress.

If you decide to use it, apply it to the affected area, allow it to sit and bubble until it is done. Then rinse and repeat as many times as it takes.

white vinegar bottle and vinegar in a glass bowl

After Using Heavy Detergents In Your Laundry

After cleaning your sheets with heavy duty detergents to remove oil staining, try adding an extra rinse cycle to the regular wash cycle. But instead of rinsing with just water, add a 1/4 cup of white vinegar to help remove some of the detergents from your sheets.

This will allow for even cleaner sheets because the vinegar will remove some of the chemicals left behind by the detergents. White vinegar can also be used as a fabric softener for this reason and is a better choice for laundry options.

Related post: The Best Reasons To Use White Vinegar In Your Laundry

Products that will not get massage oil out of sheets:


Vinegar is an acid and is polar. Therefore, getting to mix with oil (which is non-polar) does not work. Vinegar and oil actually repel each other, so the vinegar cannot get into the oil stain to remove it.

cut lemons on a cutting board and a glass bowl of lemon juice

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice works just like vinegar because it is also an acid, and also a polar molecule. The lemon juice will be pushed away by the oil and therefore cannot get into the stain to remove it.

Water Alone

Water has a neutral pH, but it is a polar molecule just like vinegar and lemon juice. Therefore the water will separate away from the oil just like it would if you poured oil and water into a glass.

So Why Do You Use Water With The Other Oil Solvents?

When mixed with solvents like soap, baking soda, corn starch, or alcohol, water actually takes on the properties of the solvents.  

But water can also dilute (make the strength less) your solvents and make them less likely to work when mixed together. So be sure to use the solvent directly on the oil stained bed sheets before using the water to rinse the solvent and stain.

person pouring massage oil on someones back

How Massage Oil Stains Can Happen

Massage oil stains can happen if you happen to spill a bottle of massage oil, body oil, or essential oil.

Oil stains can also happen if you do not rinse the oil off your body before sleeping in your sheets.

grey and white flannel sheets

Type of Sheets Matter

A high quality sheet will be easier to clean oil stains.

Sheets with natural fibers like cotton sheets and flannel sheets are able to withstand being in a hot water soak or washed in the hottest water temperature possible, better than other sheets. 

Synthetic fabrics and blends may not be able to withstand the hottest water possible unless they are of a high thread count, so always check care label before treating stains.

You may consider purchasing microfiber sheets. They may be easier to remove an oil stain. Plus they are comfortable sheets because they are really quite soft.

stack of folded sheets orange, blue and tan on a wood floor

The Color of Sheets Matters

If you are using white sheets, you should have nothing to worry about when using stain removal products.

However, if your sheets are colored, it would be a good idea to test the product in a hidden spot to make sure it will not ruin your sheets.

FAQs About How To Remove Massage Oil Stains From Sheets

How do you prevent oil on sheets?

Prevent oil stains on sheets by having a table nearby where you can set the massage oil bottle.

Remember to wash the oil off your body before laying on your sheets.

person treating an oil stain

How do you remove body massage oil from sheets?

You would remove body massage oil from sheets the same way you would remove any oil. You can use any of these natural stain removers: dish soap, laundry detergent, alcohol, baking soda. Or a regular stain remover that is special for oil and grease like Spray and Wash Max.

What are some essential pre-treatment tips for oil?

If there is a visible pool of oil, a good idea is to sop up the extra oil with a clean rag or paper towel.

Use dish soap, laundry detergent, alcohol, or baking soda on the oil spot to pre-treat the stain. The sooner you treat the spot with a product, the easier it will be to get the oil stain out. Do not dry fabric until the stain is removed. Try different options like commercial degreasers for stubborn stains.

What are the best laundry detergents for body oil?

I like Tide 10x Laundry Detergent and have used it for a long time.

Can you prevent oil stains on bedsheets?

You can prevent oil stains on bed sheets by washing your sheets regularly (like once a week). If you have oil on your body or clothing, do not lay on your sheets until you have washed it off. If you are giving a massage on sheets, make sure there is a table close by to place the bottle of oil.

How often should you wash sheets?

At least once a week.

Are there stain proof sheets?

The closest you can come to stain proof sheets are microfiber sheets. They are surprisingly soft and comfortable. I use these microfiber sheets on my own bed and love them.

How do massage therapists get oil out of sheets?

They use one of the natural stain removers I listed above. Dish soap, laundry detergent, alcohol or baking soda.

How do you wash oily massage sheets?

You can use a good laundry detergent made for getting oil out of fabric like Tide 10x Heavy Duty.

jar of coconut oil with a wooden paddle

Does coconut oil wash out of sheets?

Yes. It will wash out just like any other oil.

How do you get body oil out of pillowcases?

Body oil can be removed from pillowcases by soaking them in one of the following products. Dish soap, laundry detergent, alcohol or baking soda, and then washing them in the washing machine with hot water.

What removes oil from fabric?

Oil can be removed from fabric with dish soap, laundry detergent, alcohol or baking soda and hot water.

How does baking soda remove oil stains?

Baking soda is a salt. Salt is made up of both an acid and a base. The base is what helps remove the oil stain.

Can vinegar remove oil stains?

No, vinegar cannot remove oil stains. It is an acid and is a polar molecule. Since oil is non polar, vinegar and oil do not mix, just like oil and water. Since the oil’s polarity repels the vinegar, it will not be able to break up the oil to remove it.

Will baking soda soak up oil?

Yes, baking soda will soak up and break up oil.

Does rubbing alcohol remove oil stains?

Yes, rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropanol will remove oil stains.

Enjoy That Massage Oil

In the end, massage oil on your sheets is not the end of the world. Even if the stain is large, you can get it out easily with a little hot water and soap. So enjoy whatever it was you were doing with that massage oil without worry!

Happy Laundering!

Julie signature