How to remove pastel oil stains

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Oil pastels are richly pigmented and buttery to apply. However, they are easily swiped onto clothes, or worse still, left in a pocket when the item is washed. It may seem the only thing to do is throw away the clothing. All is not lost, however; there are several ways to remove oil pastel stains from clothes. If you notice the stain before washing, so much the better, as there is a greater chance of successful removal.

Spray the stain with a pre-treatment stain remover. Allow a few minutes for the treatment to work. Apply a little washing up liquid with your finger. Rub gently using circular motions. Be careful not to make the stain bigger. Wash the item at the highest temperature recommended.

After washing, check the clothing carefully. If the stain is still there, lay the item flat, stain side down, on several layers of paper towels. Using a clean, white rag, dab the stain with white spirit. Leave it for a few minutes. Hand-wash the item to remove the white spirit, and rinse it thoroughly before washing.

Check to see if the stain has disappeared. It is possible that the oil component has been removed, but you can still see colour pigment stain. Follow the instructions for using laundry bleach if it is suitable for your item.

If the pastel has been accidentally left in a pocket and subsequently washed, lay the item out flat. Pull the pocket from inside the garment. Lightly spray it with water-displacing spray, and wait several minutes. Rub in washing up liquid. Hand-wash the item in the hottest water you can stand, and rinse it thoroughly. Wash it as usual.

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