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How to remove pastel oil stains

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.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Tip

    If you are unable to deal with the stain immediately, soak the stain with club soda to prevent it setting.


    Follow manufacturer's directions where given. Never mix different types of stain remover or laundry treatments. Always make sure all traces of flammable substances are removed before putting clothing in a dryer.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pre-treatment spray stain remover
  • Washing up liquid
  • White spirit
  • Laundry bleach
  • Water-displacing spray

About the Author

Beverley Gee

Beverley Gee began her freelance writing career in 1982. She earned a National Diploma in information technology and business studies at Coleg Glan Hafren, Cardiff, U.K. She has written for several U.K. publications including the "South Wales Echo" and her local newspaper, "The Diary." She is also a qualified reflexologist.

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