Baby oil is a pretty common thing to have around the house and new parents will usually get a few bottles during a baby shower because it’s such a traditional gift. Unfortunately, baby oil can make quite a mess if you aren’t careful and even using it as intended in your baby’s hair can lead to frustration. Fortunately, it’s possible to get baby oil out of anything and I’m going to show you how!
Mineral oil, the most common ingredient in baby oil, is hydrophobic and therefore doesn’t dissolve in water. To get mineral oil out of hair, clothing, and other materials, you will need to use a degreasing soap such as Dawn, a dry-cleaning solvent, or white vinegar to help remove the oil.
Every stain is a little different, but most oil stains will respond to one of the cleaners listed above. To make sure that you bring the right materials for your job, read on below to learn how to get baby oil out of anything hair, clothing, carpet, sheets, walls, and hardwood floors!
Why is baby oil hard to get out?
How to get baby oil out of hair
It’s pretty common for people to add baby oil to their hair as a moisturizing treatment. While it can work wonders, it can also be a pain to remove once the treatment is over. The molecular properties of mineral oil make it adhere to the individual hair strands and water alone (even hot water) won’t get it out completely.
Removing baby oil from hair:
- Apply some baby powder to your hair and try to massage it down to the scalp. The powder will soak up some of the oil and make it easier to rinse away.
- Mix a tablespoon of dish-washing soap (the best one for the job is probably Dawn – it works on the penguins!) with a tablespoon of your normal shampoo.
- Wet your hair and work the mixture into a lather. Be sure to get down to the scalp and don’t miss any areas!
- Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so that it can break down the oil and help pull it from your hair strands.
- Rinse with warm water several times to get everything out.
Bonus tip: Add lemon juice to your hair before the last rinse to get the last bit of oil out!
One treatment should do the trick, but those of you with extremely long or thick hair may need to go through the process again to get everything out.
The biggest issue with removing oil from hair is that you do, in fact, WANT to have some oil left in your hair so that it doesn’t dry out. It is indeed a balancing act. Once you are done removing the baby oil from your hair, it might be a good idea to go ahead and run a conditioner back through it as well so you don’t just let it dry out again!
How to get baby oil out of clothing
Unlike hair, you really don’t have to worry about removing all of the oil from clothing. In fact, that’s exactly what you want to do. That means you will be able to deploy stronger methods if necessary, but usually, the basics will still work.
My tried and true method for removing any kind of oil-based stain from clothing requires Dawn dish soap and a toothbrush. In my house, we keep both of these items handy in the laundry room because my job tends to create a lot of these stains on my work clothes.
Removing baby oil from clothing:
- Apply enough Dawn dish soap to the fabric to completely cover the baby oil stain plus a little extra (don’t worry about using too much, but don’t go crazy!)
- Take your toothbrush and gently scrub the stained area. Be sure to hit it from multiple angles and directions to really work the soap into the fabric. Depending on the type of fabric, you will need to be more or less gentle with the brush.
- Optional – Rinse out the soapy fabric in the sink and retreat if necessary.
- Put the clothing in the washing machine, add detergent, and run a normal cycle with the hottest water setting the material will allow.
- Check to make absolutely sure that the stain is gone before you dry it.
- If the stain persists, repeat the pre-treatment process.
This process has always worked for me, but I can’t stress enough to double-check that the stain is gone before you throw it in the dryer. If you dry the oil into the fabric, it’s going to be almost impossible to get it out later!
If you are struggling with baby oil stains then you probably have some dirty baby toys to deal with too. Check out my resource here on cleaning up baby toys of all shapes, sizes and materials!
How to get baby oil out of carpet
Carpet is another material that is crazy easy to spill something on – even baby oil. Luckily, most modern carpets are designed for this kind of abuse and they will generally be relatively easy to treat and you won’t have to worry much about damaging them.
Removing baby oil from carpet without a carpet cleaner:
- If there is a lot of oil down, or the spill just happened, try to scrape off excess oil from the top of the carpet.
- Sprinkle baby powder or cornstarch onto the oil and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. The powder will absorb some of the surface oil.
- Vacuum up the powder and evaluate the stain.
- Spray a dry-cleaning product or a carpet stain remover that is meant to be used on oil stains (what I’ve used in the past). You can also soak a sponge in the chemical and scrub gently.
- Blot up the chemical with a fresh towel.
- If the oil is still there, use equal parts Dawn dish soap and white vinegar (not apple cider) and scrub the solution gently.
- Blot up the soap and vinegar and then rinse with a clean, wet towel.
Removing baby oil from carpet with a carpet cleaner:
If you have access to a carpet cleaner then your life will be a little easier!
Follow the same steps above, but use the carpet cleaner on rinse mode anytime it says to blot or vacuum up the cleaning solutions.
How to get baby oil out of sheets
Similar to clothing, you will follow a system of pre-treatment for your baby oiled sheets before laundering them.
- Apply Dawn dish soap (or any other degreasing dish soap) to the stain. Make sure that you completely cover the whole stain plus a little extra (don’t use too much, but make sure it is covered!)
- Gently scrub the stain with a toothbrush (for small stains) or a larger cleaning brush (for bigger stains). Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Rinse the sheet out in a laundry sink if you have one and check the stain.
- Re-apply Dawn and gently scrub again if necessary.
- Put your sheets in the laundry on a normal cycle with the hottest water that the fabric can stand. Don’t worry about washing out the Dawn before throwing it in, it won’t be enough to cause problems with the load.
- Before you put the sheets in the dryer, make sure that the stain is gone!
- If the stain is still there, redo the pre-treatment process and wash again.
Again, I can’t stress the importance of not drying the oil-based stain before it’s gone! You risk setting the stain in and making it even harder to remove!
How to get baby oil off of the wall
We won’t ask any questions about how it got there and it’s probably best if you don’t either. Suffice it to say though, it wouldn’t be a huge shock if I found baby oil all over my wall if the baby got ahold of the container!
If you have painted walls and the paint is of high quality then it might just wipe off. If you see that the oil isn’t wiping off and instead has gotten down into the paint, read on.
Removing baby oil from the wall (painted):
- Make a cornstarch paste by adding a little bit of water to cornstarch.
- Apply a generous amount of the paste onto the wall stain.
- Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Wipe off with a damp cloth
- If the stain remains, wet a washcloth with white vinegar and gently scrub the stained area.
- Keep up the process, dipping the cloth into fresh vinegar each time, until the stain is gone.
- Be sure to wipe down the whole area if there were drips!
How to get baby oil off of the floor (hardwoods):
If the oil is fresh, you might be able to get away with using a little cornstarch or baby powder if you act quickly. Just sprinkle it generously all over the oil and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to soak up the oil.
If the oil has dried or the baby powder doesn’t do the trick, then you’ll need to whip out the mop bucket and:
- Add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar, a couple of tablespoons of Dawn dish soap, and a couple of quarts of water.
- Dampen a cloth or sponge and start scrubbing the stain gently.
- Wring out and freshen up the cloth frequently. Use a separate towel to dry up the excess if necessary.
- Repeat until the stain is gone.