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How to Get Oil Stains Out of Silk Lingerie

An example of silk lingerie you can use our oil removal technique on. Photo is of a woman with pink hair standing and drawing in front of easel in her bedroom. The bed has pink sheets, there's a mint green chair, and the dresser has perfume bottles and other accessories. The woman wears a light colored floral silk robe, yellow background with pink flowers and blue birds.

This pastel-hued Christine Lingerie robe is a great candidate for this technique! Photo via my Instagram

It’s 8:30pm and you’re eating pizza on the couch in your favorite silk lingerie. You’re totally zoned in to a new episode of your favorite guilty pleasure reality show, when you realize you haven’t finished your kir royale. L'horreur! But as you’re reaching for the coupe on the coffee table, you stop.

Wait a second. Your own chest has caught your eye, but not because you look so cute in your loungewear.

Is that…a tiny oil spot? On the front of your favorite silk robe? Yep. Ugh.

OK, is this chain of events taken from my own highly specific experience? Maybe. But oil on silk loungewear? That’s happened to the best of us.

The delicate nature of silk can make it intimidating to clean, but my favorite trick is super simple and keeps your silks shiny. Here’s how to get oil out of silk, without ruining the fabric.

Photo is of a woman in soft blue silk caftan with angel wings on back standing in front of bed with tulle drapes and pink comforter.

Once you learn this technique, you'll never be afraid to use your favorite items for everyday wear. This silk caftan feels so fancy, but I wear it all the time now! (You can learn how to make your own here!)

Step 1: Examine Your Item

If you’ve followed The Lingerie Addict for a while, you know that not all silks need to be dry cleaned. However, some do.

If you’ve spilled oil on an item that is:

  • White or very pale, with bold pops of color that might bleed
  • Dark or boldly-colored, with white lace trim that may discolor
  • A corset

Take that baby to a trusted dry cleaner and explain the nature of the stain. They’ll take care of it for you.

If your item is a solid color, a low-contrast print, or if you’ve washed it by hand before with no problems, head to step 2.

An example of silk lingerie you should not use our oil stain removal technique on. Photo is of a woman's legs from the midthigh down, wearing dark floral silk pajamas.

I probably wouldn't use this technique on these Olivia Von Halle PJs. The ground of the print is so much darker than the other colors, and may bleed.

Step 2: Dab the Oil Away

Set up an ironing board, or find another flat surface that can be left undisturbed overnight. Place a clean cloth on the board and lay your item out flat, so the stain sits on top with nothing beneath it.

If you catch your oil spill fast enough to see that it’s still wet, remove the excess oil first. Using a second clean cloth or paper towel, press the stain to get as much of the oil out as possible.

If it’s been a few days and the oil wouldn’t deign to come out with a cloth, no worries! Skip straight to step 3.

Use cornstarch to remove oil stains from silk lingerie. Photo is of soft pink ruffled silk knickers on an ironing board, with a plastic container of Argo cornstarch next to them.

These solid-colored Angela Friedman ruffle knickers are the perfect candidate for this technique.

Step 3: Add Powder

Look through your cabinets for the white powder of your choice. I prefer corn starch, but you can use baby powder, baking soda, or even white flour, in a pinch. This will soak up your oil stain.

Sprinkle on enough to cover the stain and gently massage it into the fabric. If the powder gets greasy immediately, top it off with a bit more. Then leave it to soak up the oil. I like to let my powdered silks sit overnight.

In the morning, dust off your silk as much as possible. You’ll probably be left with an odd powdery spot in the shape of the stain.

Step 4: Launder Your Item

Follow our tips on how to care for silk lingerie and give your silk piece a wash in cool water with an appropriately gentle detergent. I like to add a bit of extra detergent on the stained spot to help things along.

This robe by Harlow and Fox has been through the wringer with me—Including this process. Photo via my Instagram.

Once it’s dry, there’s a good chance your stain will be gone like magic! If it’s not, I recommend trying the process over again. If it’s still there after two tries, a dry cleaner will be able to help out. Just be sure to let them know how you’ve treated the stain so far.

I know, I know: It sounds too easy. But this really works, and it won’t damage your silk lingerie at all. So next time you drip pizza grease on your fave robe? No worries. You’ll be ready.

Quinne Myers

Quinne Myers is a lingerie expert living in Brooklyn, NY, where she creates quippy written content, crafts dreamy illustrations, and runs the ethically-made loungewear line, she and reverie.