Vaseline is a great all-around beauty product but it is greasy and can leave marks on your clothes and furniture but there is no need to worry as there are at least 5 great ways to remove Vaseline from sheets and other fabric.
Whether you use Vaseline for chapped lips or grazed skin or you simply use it as a moisturizer for dry parts of the body, you are sure to know that it tends to smear. If you touch fabric with the area you have applied Vaseline or you do not wash your hands fully after application you will quickly see grease marks appearing on the fabric.
While this may be alarming, there are lots of ways to easily remove Vaseline so that there is no long-lasting damage. We will look at the fasted way to remove Vaseline grease stains, including using an iron, and products that you can buy from the store to help remove unwanted stains.
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
What is Vaseline?
Vaseline is used for both medical and beauty purposes and was first discovered by Robert Chesebrough in 1859. The much-loved product is over 150 years old and can be found in grocery stores and drugstores.
According to the Vaseline website, Vaseline is described as being a “pure petroleum jelly” that is made from a “is a blend of mineral oils and waxes”.
Does Vaseline Stain Clothes?
While Vaseline does not always stain clothes you may find that it will stain some fabrics if you do not take action to remove them quickly enough. Like many other oil-based products, Vaseline will not go away on its own, and washing as normal with your other laundry may mean that the stain is there forever.
Sold as a semi-solid substance, Vaseline is a petroleum jelly made up of hydrocarbons. It is not soluble in water which is why it is used as a moisturizer and why it can stain if the smear is not handled properly.
When treated correctly it is possible for Vaseline stain to come out of clothes but not when you put them through your regular washing cycle. Soaps, detergents, and alcohol all work well at dissolving grease and oil stains so we take a look at ways you can use these to remove Vaseline from fabric.
5 of The Best Methods to get Vaseline from Sheets and other Fabric
As mentioned, you can get Vaseline stains out of sheets and fabric by using detergents and soaps and there are also other options, including vinegar. If there is a late stain on your fabric then using the product mentioned may take some time but it will be worth the effort that you put in.
When looking at the 5 best ways to get Vaseline from sheets and other fabrics the most important thing is to act quickly.
This will mean checking the list of ingredients and choosing the one that you know you have at hand or being prepared and reading this article to add items to your grocery basket in preparation for when you next use Vaseline.
1. Dish soap
Without much of a doubt, regular dish soap is the most effective way to get vaseline smears out of sheets and fabric. Not only is it the best way to get oil stains out most people will have dish soap in their home for washing dishes, pots, and pans.
While this is a great method for removing stains it is time-consuming and you will need to put a lot of effort into scrubbing the stain.
It does take a little bit of elbow grease, but it works! Dish soap works well as it is designed to get rid of grease and oil on our dinner plates and pans.
The soap molecules cling to the oil and pull it out of the fabric and into the water (this is why you see little pools of oil floating o the water after using dish soap). These droplets of oil, soap, and water are easily washed away from your sink.
- Squirt a teaspoon-sized amount of the dish soap directly onto the stain. Any brand will work but for the best result use a brand that has good reviews.
- Gently work the soapier the stain using your hands until it begins to bubble. Take your time doing this to ensure that all fibers are covered in soap. A toothbrush or a small brush may also work but be careful not to brush too hard as the Vaseline may spread onto more areas of your fabric.
- Hold the stained fabric under lukewarm running water until the soap runs away
- Wring the water from the fabric and allow it to dry. This is important as you need to check if the stain has disappeared. If you can still see the stain repeat the process and as soon as you see no stain wash as normal in your machine.
2. Rubbing Alcohol/Isopropyl Alcohol
Alcohol or isopropyl alcohol is also effective at getting rid of Vaseline and it can be quicker than using dish soap. Petroleum jelly is not soluble in water but is in alcohol, which is why it is effective but not everyone will have alcohol at home.
If you read the ingredients list on regular laundry detergent you will see alcohol listed in most formulas. When using alcohol you must test a small area to make sure the alcohol does not damage your material or discolor it.
- Place a paper towel behind the stain in case any grease seeps through into other areas of the fabric
- Place alcohol onto a cotton wool pad/ball and dab onto the stain being careful not to smear the grease
- Once all of the stain is covered with alcohol allow it to soak for 5 minutes
- Rinse under cool water until all of the alcohol has run away from the fabric
If there is a large Vaseline stain you can place the fabric into a bowl of alcohol for 5 minutes.
Vinegar is a classic natural cleaning ingredient that is commonly used to remove stains either on its own or alongside baking soda. Using vinegar is not as effective as using dish soap but offers a gentle alternative if you do not like using harsher detergents on your fabrics or if you have sensitive skin.
- Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bowl
- Place the fabric into the bowl and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes
- Remove the fabric from the mixture and squeeze out the excess liquid and spread it out on a towel
- Dab the stain with baking powder and rub it into the fabric using your fingers. The baking soda will, hopefully, soak up the oil
- Rinse the fabric under cool running water and squeeze out excess water
- Wash as normal in your machine to get rid of the smell of vinegar
Cornstarch is a quick and easy alternative to using baking soda but it may not get tough Vaseline stains out of fabric. As cornstarch is very absorbent it can quickly be applied to the fabric when you are in a hurry.
- Lay the fabric flat and sprinkle a thick layer of the cornstarch onto the stain
- Allow the cornstarch to sink in for at least 20 minutes
- Shake the cornstarch out of the fabric or use a small vacuum if you have one
5. Ironing the Stain
We mentioned early on in the article that ironing Vaseline stains is an effective way of removing the oil from fabric and it is likely to be the quickest. The heat from the iron will melt the Vaseline out of your clothes without any use of soaps or detergents.
Before following this method you should take care to look at the label on the fabric to make sure that it is suitable to be ironed. If it is suitable or you are in doubt as to whether you should use an iron you should always start on the lowest setting.
- Use a spoon or a credit card to remove as much of the Vaseline from the clothing/fabric/sheet as possible and discard. Take time to do this slowly as you don’t want to smear the stain
- Take two thick stacks of paper towels and place one stack under the stain and one over the top
- On the lowest setting, iron over the top of the paper towel gently so that the heat can absorb the Vaseline
- If there is a large stain replace the paper towels several times so a fresh set of towels can absorb as much of the oil as possible
- Allow the fabric to cool and check that all of the stains has gone and if not repeat the process
If you want to try simply placing your fabric into the washing machine to remove the stain you can look for detergents that specialize in removing oils.
As a busy mom, Raz knows firsthand the challenges of balancing parenting and household management. Raz is constantly searching for ways to simplify her life and loves sharing her experiences and tips with others. Whether it's finding creative meal solutions for picky eaters or discovering the latest time-saving home organization hack, she is always on the lookout for ways to make life easier for her family and herself.
Last update on 2023-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API