How to remove oil stain from paper

Paper is often a necessary part of our daily life. Whether you are writing or drawing, you may want to make sure that your papers don’t get stained. If you accidentally spill some oil on them, you may wonder how you can clean it off without ruining the paper.

Oil stains are very common, especially during winter months. They usually occur when you apply too much pressure on the surface of the paper, causing the ink to seep into the fibers.

You can try using a damp cloth to wipe away the oil. However, this method may not always work because the oil may remain stuck inside the paper. In such situations, you may have to soak the paper in warm water. The water should be hot enough to melt the oil but not burn the paper. Once the oil has melted, blot the paper dry with a towel. This method is effective only if the oil is fresh. If the oil has already dried, you’ll have to use another method.

remove oil stain from paper

Dealing with oil stains on paper can be a daunting task. Whether it’s a valuable document, a treasured book, or an important note, you don’t want those unsightly oil marks to ruin the paper. Fortunately, there are several effective methods to remove oil stains from paper without causing further damage. In this article, we will explore some simple yet reliable techniques to help you tackle those stubborn oil stains. Read on to discover how to restore your paper back to its pristine condition.

1. Warm Iron Method

The warm iron method is a popular technique for removing oil stains from paper. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Warm up an iron on low heat and place it on top of the paper for 5 seconds. Ensure that the iron is covering the oil spot.

Step 2: Remove the iron after 5 seconds and check the oil stain. You will notice that it has become lighter or possibly even completely disappeared.

Step 3: Repeat the process as needed to continue lifting the stain. Be cautious not to overheat the paper or apply excessive pressure with the iron.

2. Vinegar Solution

Vinegar is a versatile household ingredient that can also help remove oil stains from paper. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a cup or bowl.

Step 2: Lay the affected piece of paper out flat on a hard, waterproof surface. Flatten it out as much as possible.

Step 3: Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the vinegar solution and gently rub the oil stain. Continue rubbing until the stain is removed.

3. Dry Cleaning Sponge

For particularly stubborn oil stains on paper, a dry cleaning sponge can work wonders. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Purchase a dry cleaning sponge, which is readily available in the wallpaper section at most hardware stores.

Step 2: Gently rub the sponge over the oil stain. The sponge will help lift the oil residue from the paper’s surface.

Step 3: If any residue remains after using the sponge, gently rub it with a kneaded eraser to further remove the stain.

4. Baby Powder

Baby powder, known for its absorbent properties, can be surprisingly effective in removing oil stains from paper. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Cover the remaining oil stain with talcum powder.

Step 2: Allow the talcum powder to sit on the stain for about 10 minutes.

Step 3: After 10 minutes, wipe off the talcum powder. Repeat this process at 10-minute intervals until the stain is completely gone.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda, a common household ingredient, can also be used to remove oil stains from paper. Here’s how:

Step 1: Sprinkle baking soda directly on the oil stain and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.

Step 2: Take a clean cloth or sponge and gently rub the stain using circular motions. Continue rubbing until the stain is fully removed.

Step 3: Once the stain is gone, wipe off any residue with a damp cloth and allow the paper to dry naturally.

It is important to note that the sooner you start working on the oil stain, the easier it will be to remove it. Prompt action can prevent the oil from seeping deeper into the paper fibers and causing permanent damage.

6. Bread

You will need a crumb of fresh black bread (white is not suitable). Algorithm for cleaning a surface contaminated with grease:

  • pinch a small piece of crumb from the loaf;
  • rub into the problem area;
  • crumbling crumbs (they have absorbed fat) shake it off;
  • continue until the contamination is completely eliminated.

Bread crumb is used only for fresh spots. It is ineffective in case of long-standing contamination. Mechanical rubbing of bread is not suitable for thin paper or sheets with a colored pattern – there is a risk of removing the dye along with the fat structure.

7. Flour or starch

Loose ingredients are good at removing fat from both notebooks and important documents.

If flour is selected, then you need to sprinkle the dirty place with flour powder, wait for 20 minutes and shake it off. Remove any stuck particles with a soft brush. Repeat the procedure if necessary.

With the help of starch, fat contamination is removed a little differently:

  • a teaspoon of dry product is diluted in 100 ml of water;
  • using a pipette, apply the solution to the stain;
  • waiting for it to dry out;
  • shake off dried starch grains from a sheet of paper.

8. Salt

Remove the stain with the help of table salt. To do this, the problem area should be well salted, and then covered with a sheet of clean paper and ironed with a not-very-hot iron.

This method can reduce even a little dried fat from notebooks, books, and documents.

9. Chalk

Chalk powder is a sorbent that perfectly absorbs fats and moisture. Rules on how to remove an oil stain from paper with chalk:

  • chalk is ground into powder;
  • the substance is distributed in a thin layer over the soiled area and covered with a napkin;
  • ironed.

10. Tooth Powder

Refers to “heavy artillery” when you want to remove an old fat trail. The product is mixed with gasoline until a thick paste is obtained and carefully applied to the paper with a brush. It is removed with a soft sponge after 10-12 hours.

This method of removing fat from paper has a number of disadvantages:

  • the smell remains;
  • the drawing or printed text may be damaged.

A mixture of gasoline and tooth powder should not be used to clean important documentation.

11. Hydrogen peroxide

The medical product not only disinfects but also degreases well. To remove the stain from the paper, you need to moisten a cotton pad with the product and wipe the problem area. But you should be careful: friction with a wet disk can damage thin sheets. Peroxide is good to use for cleaning cardboard, wallpaper, or Whatman from oil stains.


Oil stains on paper can be unsightly and frustrating, but with the right techniques, you can successfully remove them. The warm iron method, vinegar solution, dry cleaning sponge, baby powder, and baking soda are all effective methods to eliminate oil stains from paper. Remember to proceed with caution and test these methods on a small, inconspicuous area of the paper first to ensure they do not cause any additional damage.

By following these simple steps, you can restore your paper to its original condition and preserve its integrity. So, the next time you encounter an oil stain on paper, you’ll be armed with the knowledge and techniques to tackle it confidently.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I use these methods for all types of paper? Yes, these methods are generally safe for most types of paper. However, it’s always a good idea to test them on a small area first, especially for delicate or valuable papers.

2. How long should I leave the warm iron on the paper? Only leave the warm iron on the paper for about 5 seconds at a time. Be cautious not to overheat or scorch the paper.

3. Is it necessary to repeat the talcum powder application multiple times? The number of times you need to repeat the talcum powder application depends on the severity of the stain. Repeat the process until the stain is completely gone.

4. Can I use these methods on glossy or coated paper? It’s best to avoid using these methods on glossy or coated paper, as they may cause further damage. For such papers, it’s advisable to seek professional help.

5. Are there any alternatives to the methods mentioned in the article? While the methods outlined in this article are effective, there may be alternative methods or specialized products available. You can consult a professional conservator or paper restoration expert for further advice.

Sharing Is Caring:

Camilo Kawas is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in the field of commercial cleaning, with a specific focus on clothes, carpet cleaning and floor care. With a profound understanding of the importance of selecting the right products for effective stain removal from clothes, Camilo has established himself as a trusted authority in the industry.