How To Remove Oil Stains From Silk Saree? [Step-by-Step Guide]

Oil stains

You can find sarees made of materials like rayon, polyester, georgette, cotton, and a plethora of other fabrics.  Silk sarees are rare today because gathering the material is very labor-intensive and more expensive than other fabrics. If you do own a silk saree, that’s fantastic; but getting oil stains out can be a bit of a challenge.

Washing silk requires attention to detail because of its delicate fibers. Read on to learn how you can safely eliminate oil stains from your saree without compromising its integrity. 

Avoid Traditional Laundry Methods

There are two reasons silk is challenging to wash. The first issue is that silk can become stiff when you use detergents; in issue two, silk shrinks when exposed to heat. Let’s tackle the first problem with washing silks – laundry detergents. To specify, it’s the alkali materials in some detergents that make them hazardous to silk. The fabric becomes coarse and frayed and may start deteriorating. 

As a general tip, a mixture of shampoo, vinegar, and water is a good substitute for alkaline detergents.

The second problem you’re liable to face when washing silk clothing is shrinkage. Silk, for all its beauty, is a weak substance. Exposure to high temperatures will make the protein fibers contract and tighten. Just five minutes of pre-washing can damage silk; soaking and then adding heat to the silk will also cause shrinkage.

If you don’t want your saree to shrivel on laundry day, then you’ll have to opt for handwashing, your machine’s delicate cycle, or take them to the dry cleaners.

Clean According to the Label

Sometimes DIY is cheaper, but other times, you have to bite the bullet and pay for professional assistance. This grease stain removal tip is simple – if the saree cleaning label says that the fabric is dry clean only, abide by the instruction.

Silk is an easy fabric to ruin, and trying any homemade remedies may completely wreck the clothing. Paying for dry cleaning can be a pain, but it’s better to leave your garment in the hands of a pro than risk avoidable damages.

Remove Excess Grease With Talcum Powder

As soon as you see the stain, put some talcum powder on top of it, and it will absorb the grease from the silk’s fibers. After the oil has been removed, dust the powder off and then wash the garment in cold water. If you’ve caught the stain after it’s dried, the talcum powder can still work. All you’ll have to do is dust the powder on the splotch, cover it with paper towels, and run a medium-hot iron over the area. 

The idea is that the heat will reliquify the grease, allowing it to be absorbed by the paper towels. You will have to be careful with this method, though. Even though the paper towels keep the heat from damaging the saree, don’t hold the iron on the spot for very long. After you’ve got the oil out, you should wash the silk with cold water. 

Oil and Water Don’t Mix

You’ve likely heard this cliche before, but oil and water do not mix. You can take that literally when you’re doing laundry, as water will just embed the stain further into the clothes. It’s always a requirement to attempt getting the grease out of your saree before you wash it. 

Keep Away From Salt

Salt is a popular way to remove stains from clothes and is a fantastic way to remove blotches from coarser materials like jeans. Using the seasoning on silk, however, is a terrible idea. Salt doesn’t get rid of stains so much as it eats fabrics. Silk stands no chance against the corrosive nature of salt.

Apply Liquid Dish Soap To Break Down the Stain

Liquid dish soap lacks the alkaline harshness that detergents do, making it a great oil remover for silk clothing. Ten parts water and 1 part liquid dish soap are needed to mix your silk shampoo. After you’ve made your cleaner, you should test the garment for colorfastness. We’ll explain this better later, but basically, if a drop of your soap causes fading, cut your losses and have a professional dry cleaner handle the saree. 

If the soap didn’t damage the saree, gently pat it in with a clean sponge and leave it for 10 minutes. You can handwash the silk with shampoo or detergent, especially for hand-washable clothing in lukewarm water, and rinse in cold water. Be sure that you carefully look over the saree and repeat if the stain is still there. If you’ve removed the oil, hang the saree to air dry.

Check Your Saree’s Colorfastness

I mentioned colorfastness earlier when explaining how to use dish soap to remove grease stains. Colorfastness is a piece of clothing’s ability to resist fading or running. Silk is a material that’s very prone to fading, so before you wash it, you should check how likely your saree is to fade when washed. 

When using dish soap (or any solution) to clean silk, you should test an area to check for fading. You can dab a bit of the soap somewhere most people won’t see and let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this at all, you’re probably better off going to a professional. It’s a general rule of thumb that patterned, bright, and dark-colored silks are best left to dry cleaners. 

Hand Wash With Delicate Wash

If your saree is hand washable, you can try The Laundress Delicate Wash to remove stains. Delicate Wash is a specifically formulated soap that removes stains from silk without damage or fading. 

You’ll need to fill a wash bin with cold water and add two drops of detergent. Next, you should dip your saree under and stir the water until the soap defuses. After your saree has soaked for 30 minutes, rinse it until there are no more suds and gently press the water from the garment.

Try White Vinegar or Lemon Juice

I’d already mentioned vinegar as an alternative to detergent earlier, but lemon juice helps remove stains from silk sarees too. You would need one part vinegar or lemon juice and one part lukewarm water to make the cleaning concoction. Earlier, I had said that soap could cause silk to fade, but it’s a little more complicated than the soap itself, causing damage. 

The real issue is that soap has to be thoroughly rinsed with water, and you have to dab suds away. Vinegar and lemon juice don’t lather or foam, so you’re less likely to cause unintentional damage to your saree. 

Removing Grease Stains With Vinegar or Lemon Juice

The first step you need to take after making your stain remover is checking for colorfastness. You can take the same steps I detailed above to check for potential fading with the vinegar or lemon juice concoction. After you’re sure the garment won’t fade, dab (do not rub) the stain with a clean cloth and wash with the appropriate detergent.


Silk sarees are delicate, hard-to-find clothing pieces and need special attention when being washed. Silk is prone to stiffening when exposed to certain alkaline detergents and shrinking when washed in hot water. 

To avoid damages, you can either use talcum powder or dish soap to remove the oil stain before laundering the fabric. Cleaning your silk saree may take a lot of work, but I hope this article makes laundry day a little bit easier.