How to Get an Oil Stain Out of Polyester Fabric

30 August 2020

remove oil from polyester

Bean bags - especially those in polyester - are durable and exciting pieces of furniture. With proper care and maintenance, you are likely to enjoy your bean bag for many years to come. However, you might need to remove oil from polyester at least once during the life of your bean bag. But don’t fret! There are two cleaning methods you can use for your stained bean bag and make it look like new again.

Polyester Fabric and Bean Bags – An Overview

Polyester is a “miracle material” that entered the markets in 1951 and became incredibly popular for its versatility and durability. In terms of materials, polyester is a blend of synthesised polymers which can last for many years with proper care, and it is easy to wash and clean. That’s why polyester is ideal for outdoors bean bags! But is polyester waterproof? Generally, polyester bean bags are considered waterproof and stain-resistant. So, no need to worry about deep cleaning them or protecting them against water stains! However, when it comes down to oil stains, the matter is a little different. Indeed, polyester covers often suffer the damages of oil and grease stains, for which you will need to apply a more intensive treatment. Below you’ll find two easy-to-follow procedures to clean your bean bags from oil or grease stains.

How to Remove Oil From Polyester

Before jumping into the procedures on how to clean your bean bag, there are some guidelines to keep in mind to protect your bean bag from damage. Here is what you need to know!

Protect Surrounding Surfaces

Before attempting to clean the cover of your bean bag, it is essential to protect the area where you will operate. Indeed, you might be using chemicals and detergents that can stain surrounding materials and surfaces. Everything you will need for this step is an old cloth or used rag that you can place below the bing bag while cleaning it.

Gather All the Material Before Starting

As we are about to see, leaving chemicals on the bean bag surface for too long can damage the cover. It is recommendable to have all the materials and tools needed at your disposal before starting to remove oil from polyester.

Take Care of the Oil or Grease Stain As Soon as Possible

If you have noticed an oil or grease stain on your outdoor bean bag, don’t wait any longer to clean it! The longer the stain will stay on the fabric, the harder it will be to clean it. While it will still be possible, it might require you to repeat the treatment several times, which can result in a very time- and energy-consuming procedure!

Absorb the Oil Before Cleaning

Before using any detergent on the stain, it is essential to absorb the moisture in excess. This is another reason why cleaning fresh oil stains are much more comfortable and straightforward than attempting to eliminate old or dry dirt. Absorbing this type of moisture is possible through the methods we’ll see below.

Always follow the Manufacturer’s Recommendations.

To remove oil from polyester, you are likely to use detergents before washing the cover in a washing machine. While polyester is exceptionally durable and versatile, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label of the bean bag cover. You might also notice that the bean bag cover is hand-wash only - pay special attention to these instructions! This step is particularly essential to preserve the beauty of the dye and the comfort of the fabric!

Products to Use>

While polyester is generally resistant to mild abrasion and chemicals, you should avoid using harsh chemicals on this material. Among other abrasive solutions, it is crucial to avoid bleach or bleach-containing products.

How to Remove Oil From Polyester – Method 1

This method is efficient because the table salt will help you absorb much of the moisture off the stain when you attempt to remove oil from polyester. Hover, on dry or old stains, it might not be the best solution!

What You’ll Need

  • Paper towel - avoid dyed ones or opt for a clean cloth towel
  • Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Salt - any table salt will work
  • Baking soda - optional, but useful to eliminate odours when mixed with salt

Prepare the Area

Remove the polyester cover from your bean bag and lay it on a cloth or rag to protect surrounding surfaces.

Apply the Salt

Sprinkle the salt over the area of the cover affected by the stain. Just like baking soda or cornstarch, the salt will behave as a natural absorbent, clearing all moisture from the stain. To ensure the salt penetrates through the fibres, rub it against the stain with your fingers.

Let It Rest

Letting the salt resting on the stain for at least one hour will give it enough time to absorb all moisture. Then, wipe or shake off the salt (which will be greasy!) from the bean bag cover. You can use a dry sponge or soft-bristle brush.

Use the Laundry Detergent

Now, apply the detergent on the backside of the cover. Use a towel of your choice to work the cleaning product through the fibres. Then, continue to blot the stain until the signs of grease fade off.

Wash the Cover in the Washing Machine

Apply the laundry detergent on both sides of the cover and wash it in the washing machine. Use the highest temperature possible or follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to Remove Oil From Polyester – Method 2

This method does not require the stain to be recent to work well. Indeed, since you will be using dish soap rather than salt, you can attempt to get rid of any oil stains on polyester. If you prefer a more natural solution than dish soap, you can create a blend of:

  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • White vinegar

This solution is milder than dish soap but just as effective.

What You’ll Need

  • Hot water
  • Dish soap (or the solution we have seen above)
  • Laundry soap
  • An old toothbrush or soft-bristle brush

Moisten the Area

Use the hot water at your disposal to moisten or dump the area with the oil stain. This will make it easier to work the detergent through the fibres around the stain.

Apply the Soap

When picking your dish soap, make sure that is grease-fighting, but does not contain bleach. Indeed, you will need to leave the detergent on the stain for some time. Making sure it is mild enough not to damage the fabric is essential. Apply the soap on the stain.

Use an Old Toothbrush to Rub the Soap on the Stain

Using an old toothbrush or soft-bristle brush, rub the soap onto the stain. Allow it to rest on the bean bag cover for as long as possible, but make sure the dish soap does not dry on the fabric!

Rinse the Area

Use running hot or warm water to rinse the area until free of detergent. If the stain has not fully gone, you might need to repeat the process one more time.

Wash the Cover in the Washing Machine

Once the stain seems to have gone, it is time to wash your bean bag cover in the washing machine. To do so, use a standard detergent and ensure that the settings reflect the manufacturer’s instructions.


Now you know enough to start cleaning your polyester bean bag covers. However, there are a few words of cautions you should keep in mind when doing so. These are important to protect your health and the quality of the fabric.

Don’t Leave Any Chemicals on the Cover for Too Long.

Even if polyester is stain-resistant and durable, it is not immune to the damage that chemicals can cause to it. Even something as mild as simple laundry detergent, if on the stain for too long, can leave behind stain and blots. Generally, it would be best if you did not let the chemicals dry on the fabric.

Spot-Test Every Chemical

Sometimes, you might deal with larger sections of dirt or multiple stains. However, before applying a certain chemical or detergent onto the fabric, you should make sure that the polyester will not remain damaged by it. Generally, to remove oil from polyester, you should proceed with a spot-test. For this step, apply the chemical on a hidden part of the bean bag and proceed with one of the methods above as if you were cleaning a stain. Then, rinse the detergent and wait for the area to dry. If the chemical has not left any sign, you are safe to use it elsewhere!

Repeat the Treatment Is Necessary

Especially in the case of old, dry, or stubborn stains, a mild detergent once won’t be enough to remove oil from polyester. In this case, you might need to repeat the treatment several times until the stain is no longer visible, and the bean bag cover is fully clean. If this does not happen, it is recommendable to bring the bean bag cover to a professional cleaner rather than using harsh chemicals on it!

Enjoy Your Bean Bag!

Now that your bean bag is clean and looks like new, you can go back to enjoy entire afternoons at the poolside. Just make sure you keep greasy food away from the just-cleaned fabric!

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