Tried and True Ways to Remove Massage Oil Stains
Massage oil stains are a part of every massage therapist’s life, whether you’re still an amateur practicing on your significant other or have an established reputation in a massage studio. Wherever you may be in your path as a massage therapist, one thing you will always have to tackle at the end of the day is potential massage oil stains. These stains can be pesky and resilient, but that doesn’t mean they are impossible to remove.
How can I remove massage oil stains? There are 3 great ways to get rid of massage oil stains, whether they are fresh or not. These methods include:
- Blot and Scrub Method
- Wash and Soak Method
- Hairspray Method
If you are struggling to get rid of massage oil stains, you have come to the right place. We are going to comb through tons of massage oil information, from top picks when it comes to massage oils as well as trusted and true methods for stain removal. We will also be sharing useful tips and tricks to avoid stains, and some rather unique and out-of-the-box methods to consider.
What is Massage Oil?
Before we can combat the stain, we must first know the enemy. Which, in this case, just so happens to be an important part of massage – the oil. What exactly is it? Well, just as you might think, massage oil is going to thoroughly lubricate the skin, so there is less uncomfortable friction when rubbing your forearm, hands and fingers across the body.
Have you ever tried to get a massage without any type of lubricant? It’s a disaster and can cause more discomfort than actual stress-relief. That’s why massage oil is necessary for a successful and refreshing massage, in and out of the massage studio.
Aside from that, massage oils will also act as a carrier for therapeutic oils that can’t stand alone. Such therapeutic oils can include lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint. Each of these comes with their own advantages
- Lavender has a calming effect- which helps to amplify a state of calm that will ultimately leave the mind and body feeling rejuvenated.
- Eucalyptus can help support respiratory function and help reduce inflammation.
- Peppermint can help soothe digestive issues and reduce the severity of headaches
But I digress . . . let’s get back to the original discussion and save the vast topic of essential oils for another day.
Are All Massage Oils Created Equally?
No, not all massage oils are created equally. Some may be more nourishing to the skin than others, while some work best for acne-prone skin. To help make your decision easier, we are going to discuss the top 3 massage oil picks that don’t stain and why they’re the best on the market.
- Fractionated Coconut Oil
When you think of coconut oil, what comes to mind is a solid, yet very greasy substance that gets on everything. This annoying oil might have its health benefits, but it’s certainly not something you want to struggle with when performing a massage. That’s where fractionated coconut oil comes into play.
Fractionated coconut oil is far different from its original coconut oil counterparts. Fractionated coconut oil is lightweight and not as greasy, but still provides plenty of lubricants to be applied across the body. The best part about coconut oil is it is not prone to staining on sheets and clothes, and when stains do appear, they are a cinch to remove.
We recommend the Majestic Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil. With over 8,000 positive reviews on Amazon, you can feel confident that this product will get the job done. It doesn’t stain easily, can be washed out effortlessly, and provides plenty of hydration without that uncomfortable greasy feeling. It also acts as a carrier oil for aromatherapy, so you can mix and match to your client’s content.
2. Jojoba Oil
Another popular oil you might hear a massage therapist talk about is jojoba oil. This oil, which is actually a wax instead of a typical ‘oil,’ is known for its antibacterial properties, making it a top choice for acne-prone individuals. It is also not prone to staining like other massage oils and has a long shelf-life.
The pitfall with jojoba oil is that it will likely need to be reapplied often throughout the massage. This is due to the fact that it is absorbed very quickly by the skin, which is a great thing to avoid potential light stains and keep the body nourished and hydrated, but it does mean more effort on the behalf of the massage therapist.
For a top-notch jojoba oil option, we recommend the USDA Organic Jojoba Oil 16 Oz. with Pump by Cliganic. With only a single ingredient- jojoba- you can feel confident that this carrier, non-staining oil will keep your clients happy. It’s lightweight, quickly absorbing, and already has a strong presence in the community with over 1,000 positive reviews.
3. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is a commonly sought-after oil because it is known to be extremely beneficial to the skin. Jam-packed with linoleic, palmitic, and stearic acid, your skin comes out looking healthier and youthful after every massage.
Of course, not everything is sunshine and rainbows with sunflower oil. This type of massage oil tends to go bad quickly, so it isn’t a good choice for every other month massagers.
For sunflower oil that provides delicious massages every time, we recommend Banyan Botanicals Sunflower Oil. This organic oil is lightweight and incredibly moisturizing without a greasy or heavy feeling. Clients will love it, and you can feel confident knowing it won’t buildup on your massage linens.
Massage Oils to Avoid
As we mentioned earlier, not all massage oils are created equally. Some of these massage oils may have some incredible nourishing properties and are easy to use, but you’re risking some intense staining. Let’s look at the top 3 massage oils that stain the most:
- Almond oil: Unfortunately, almond oil tends to be one of the most popular oils for massages. However, this go-to product- while being hydrating and sweetly scented- can create stains extremely quickly and will buildup on your massage linens in no time.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is relentless when it comes to making your skin feel smooth and delightful, but it’s also relentless when it comes to staining.
- Grapeseed oil: Grapeseed oil is a bit more expensive than the others and is rapidly absorbed by the skin, which is why so many massage therapists opt for it. But what they might not realize is that grapeseed oil is greasy and can cause stains in an instant.
And it’s not just massage oils you need to be aware of. There are many essential oils that can stain too – including:
- Blue Tansy
- German Chamomile
Try to avoid these essential oils as much as possible as they can create some stains that just won’t quit.
How to Remove Massage Oil Stains
Looking down at your massage linens and seeing stains- whether a single stain or multiple scattered across the sheet- can be a huge turnoff to both therapist, as well as client. After all, a sheet that is riddled with stains does not look professional and you could lose clients who mistakenly perceive your sheets to be ‘dirty.’
But buying a new sheet for every client is simply not a cost-effective solution to the stain problem. If you’re struggling with stains, we have the top three methods to handle them below. Continue to read, and we will also be sharing some out-of-the-box stain solutions that you can try when all else fails.
Blot and Scrub Method
The best thing you can do when you see a massage oil stain is to act as quickly as possible. Of course, this means that the hour-long massage might be able to accommodate this stain-fighting remedy. However, if you can act fast, then this is the best option for getting rid of oil stains on sheets and clothing.
What You Need:
- Baking Soda or Baby Powder
- Stain Remover
- Dish Soap
- Laundry Soap
- Start by soaking up the oil with a plain cloth or napkins. Simply place it on top and push onto the oil stain to try and soak it up. Do not try and scrub the oil stain off, or this could cause the oil to penetrate the fibers even deeper.
- Then, pour baking soda or baby powder on top of it. These materials are designed to soak up the oils. Therefore, it’s imperative to act fast when you notice stains, as the sooner you apply these oil-lifting products, the better results you will have.
- Let the baby powder or baking soda sit for 20 to 30 minutes. This will give the material plenty of time to pull the oil out from the sheet.
- Spray the oil stains generously with a stain remover. Any stain remover will do, but try and find a stain remover that is specifically made for oil stains, such as Shout Spray Advanced Stain Remover.
- Dab a bit of dishwashing soap to a toothbrush and scrub the stain. Dishwashing soaps like Dawn have anti-grease power that not only clears off your dinner plates but can work wonders on cleaning stains off the fabric. Use the toothbrush to scrub off the oil stain.
- Wash in hot water. You want to make sure the water is as hot as possible, as is it will be able to pull out the oil stains from the sheets.
- Add laundry soap and ammonia to the wash. You may use whichever laundry soap you prefer, but it’s always best to use a laundry soap that is geared towards removing oil stains, such as Bon Vital’ Fresh and Clean Detergent. You can also add ¼ to ⅓ cup of ammonia to increase the success of removing stains.
- Dry in the sun. It’s always best to use sunlight rather than a dryer if you can. The sun will be able to pull out any leftover stains in the sheets or fabrics.
If you do not have a toothbrush on hand, you can always simply massage the dish soap into the fabric. This will work just as well as the toothbrush and may take up less time.
Wash and Soak Method
If you have a lot of sheets to launder, it can seem quite a pain to use the baking soda and dish soap method. After all, you must wait between applications, and all the extra scrubbing on your behalf can take up far too much time out of your schedule. If this is the case, don’t worry- there are other wonderful options, such as the wash and soak method.
What You Need
- Laundry Soap
- Vinegar or Oxygen Bleach
- Start by washing the sheets. Yes, without any pretreatment. A quick wash will help to lift the stains.
- Fill the water and add a stain-fighting ingredient such as vinegar or oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach is an excellent choice as it works to lift stains and is suitable for all types of fabrics and colors. Vinegar can also work if you have some on hand.
- Add ¼ cup of ammonia. Ammonia works well to remove stains, so adding this on top of another stain fighter should do the trick.
- Let the sheets sit in the concoction for as long as possible. If you only have 30 minutes on your hands, then let the sheets soak for that amount of time. But it is ideal to let the sheets soak overnight, for around 8 hours, to be successful.
- Wash the sheets again as normal. When the wash cycle is complete, check to make sure the stains are removed before drying.
- Dry in the sun. Remember that drying in the sun will allow your sheets to be fresher and brighter, while also increasing the chances of a stain-free result. However, you can dry in the dryer if needed.
Some massage therapists have found that adding a clean towel in with their massage sheets has increased their success of removing stains. This is because the towels add some toughness around the sheets, and the towel will work to ‘scrub’ the sheets and remove the stains.
Now we know how to thoroughly treat new stains. But what about stains that are older? Some may be under the impression that old oil stains can’t be removed, but we disagree. In fact, all it takes is a little hairspray to bring these linens back in business.
Hairspray contains alcohol. The alcohol essentially soaks into the old stain, bringing it to the surface once more. This is necessary to do, as an old stain that is locked into the fibers won’t be touched by any stain-fighting power. Bring it to the surface using hairspray and it can be easily removed.
What You Need:
- Hairspray (With a High Alcohol Content)
- Spray a generous amount of hairspray directly onto the stain. You want the area to be soaked with hairspray in order for this to work.
- Let it sit for around 20 to 30 minutes. Try to let it sit for as long as possible. The longer the alcohol sits on the stain, the easier it will be to remove it.
- Wash and dry like normal. Remember that letting it dry in the sun is always going to be the best choice, but you can always opt for the trusty dryer.
Pro Tip: WD-40 Method
Now we know how to thoroughly treat new stains. But what about stains that are older? Some may be under the impression that old oil stains can’t be removed, but we disagree. In fact, all it takes is a little WD-40 to bring these linens back in business.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Just put a little WD-40 on it?” Well, that is essentially how this method works for removing old oil stains from fabric. Simply spray some WD-40 directly onto the stain and let it sit for around 20 to 30 minutes before washing and drying like normal.
WD-40 works best for set-in stains because the oils found in the product will help to bring old oil stains back to life so they can be removed from the fabric. Hairspray can also work in place of WD-40.
Out-the-Box Stain Solutions
If you have tried virtually everything and you’re still struggling, it might be time to look outside of the box. There are plenty of ingredients that can combat oil stains that are ruining your massage sheets. Let’s look at some of the most intriguing out-of-the-box stain solutions that people have found success with.
Remove Stains Using Essential Oils
We know that a plethora of essential oils can be the cause of stains, but did you know that some essential oils can also work to get rid of them? With the right combination, you can create a stain-fighting product that leaves your sheets and clothing looking brand-new. Let’s take a look at this great concoction brought to us by DIY Stain Remover with Essential Oils.
What You Need:
- 1 Bar of Unscented Castile Soap
- ⅓ Cup Washing Soda
- 2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar
- ½ Cup of Water
- ½ Cup of Your Preferred Laundry Soap
- 4 Drops of Lemon Oil
- Ziplock Bag and/or Container
- Start by placing the soap, washing soda, and vinegar in a saucepan. Heat on low until all the contents are melted thoroughly.
- Add laundry soap and lemon oil to the mixture. Make sure it is thoroughly blended.
- Place in a Ziplock bag or container to cool.
- Remove, as needed, and rub into stain. When a stain appears, simply take out a bit of the concoction and massage it into the stain for a few minutes.
- Wash the sheets or clothing as normal. Wash with hot water and dry normally. The stain should be removed.
That’s right- Cheez Whiz isn’t just for your favorite crackers anymore. It can be used to treat oil stains. Pretty incredible, isn’t it? Kind of makes you wonder if this cheesy deliciousness should really make its way into our bellies.
But the fact is this: if you spray a little Cheez Whiz on an oil stain and massage it into the fabric, you can wash it, and the fabric will come out stain-free. It’s worth a shot if you have some extra Cheez Whiz lying around, right?
The shampoo is a grease-fighting miracle in the shower, so wouldn’t you think that it would work well on grease and oil stains, too? Yes, and you would be correct. Just make sure that you’re using a shampoo that is specifically designed for those who suffer from grease-riddled manes. Then, massage it into the stain and wash as normal.
Are you a coke fan? If you’re a lover of all things coke, then you will be happy to know that your stash in the refrigerator can also work on your stubborn oil stains, too. All you need to do is pour some of your favorite soda on top of the oil stain and let it soak for about an hour. Then, wash your fabric as normal, and the stain should be removed.
Don’t worry about any of the food colorings of Coke cause concern about further staining. While there is some caramel food coloring, the amount is so low that it won’t cause any dark spots on your massage linens.
Did you know that you can use paint thinner to remove oil stains from your clothing and sheets? While it might not smell like the best solution, plenty of people have found success using this unique method. All you need to do is pour the paint thinner directly over the oil stain, then rinse with water. If you still see the stain, then repeat and launder when ready.
What About Bleach?
A lot of people assume that bleach has the power to remove stains. And while it might make your clothes appear lighter and brighter and help disguise the stain, it doesn’t have any stain-removing power. That being said, bleach does not help to get rid of stains on clothes. In fact, it can be harmful when applied to certain fabrics and can wreak havoc if you use pure bleach on colored garments or sheets.
The best thing to do is to treat the stain before applying bleach. This will ensure that the stain is actually taken care of before you try and brighten and whiten your linens.
Avoiding Oil Stains in the Future
The best way to combat an oil stain is to stop it at its source. Luckily, there are tons of handy tips and tricks to help you avoid the complications of stains on your clothing and massage linens. Check out these tips to avoid massage oil stains, and you won’t have to deal with special stain-fighting products or seemingly endless laundering in the future:
- Avoid products that are known to stain. We discussed earlier which types of massage oils to avoid, including almond, oil, and grapeseed. While they may be popular and great options for the actual massage, they leave pesky stains that are almost impossible to remove.
- Avoid cotton sheets. Cotton sheets are known to be some of the most difficult sheets to remove oil stains. Of course, they are very comfortable, but so are many other sheet options. Your best choice is to find sheets that are stain-resistant, such as these Mellani Bed Sheets that are stain and fade resistant.
- Do not place the oil on your client. While it might be easiest to drip oil over their body and begin the massage, you’re setting yourself for unwanted drips that will lead to oil stains on the sheets. Instead, place the oil in your hands and start the massage.
- Don’t use too much product. Placing too much product is only going to lead to unwanted drips on the sheets. It may be a hassle to keep applying oil to your hands, but it’s not nearly as hassling as oil-ridden sheets.
- Consider sticking to white sheets. While some massage therapists can’t get away from the darker, more sensual colors or those with lavish designs, it will ultimately be easier to remove stains from white sheets. This is due to the simple fact that you can bleach them (after removing stains), which will make stains less noticeable.
- Always wash in hot water. Cold water is not going to help with your oil problems, whether they are barely there or very visible. Cold water pushes the oils deeper into the fiber, while hot water does the opposite. Stick to hot water.
What About Stains on Upholstery or Carpet?
Sheets and clothing aren’t the only things to be concerned about when it comes to massage oil stains. Sometimes these oils can find their way on the carpet below you and even on nearby upholstery such as lounge chairs and couches. When this occurs, you will need to do the following:
- Blot the stain with a cloth or napkin. Try to soak up as much as the oil as possible.
- Sprinkle baby powder or baking soda on the stain. Again, these materials work to soak up oil that is seeping into fibers. Leave it on the stain for at least 10 minutes.
- Scrape away or vacuum the material. You can use a card or fork to scrape away the baby powder or baking soda. If you have a vacuum on hand, sucking these materials up is even more convenient.
- Scrub with a water and dish soap solution. Combine these ingredients and scrub the area where the oil stain is located. Don’t scrub too hard, though. It should be a gentle scrub that is similar to blotting but a bit more rigorous.
- Use a sponge to clean the area of the soap. Don’t leave soap sitting on the couch or carpet! Instead, using a wet sponge, go over the area to clean it thoroughly.
- Soak up the extra liquid. Using a clean towel or napkin, soak up the extra moisture and allow the area to dry.
Massage oil stains can be a thing of the past if you put in a little elbow grease and take steps to avoid stains in the first place. Whether you’re opting for the blot and scrape method or prefer to soak your sheets for success, these tips and tricks for how to remove massage oil stains will ensure that your massage linens look brand new and stain-free.
Richard A. Lehman, LMT, CSCS
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