This Surprising Use for Eucalyptus Oil Just May Be Key for Messy Eaters and Red Wine Drinkers

published Mar 29, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Cleaning chocolate stains from white t-shirt.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

I don’t know about you, but pretty much all of my kitchen linens have stains. That pretty gray tablecloth? It bears the scars of a 2021 pesto incident. My collection of flour sack towels? Red wine splotches on all of ‘em. The set of reusable napkins? Marked by mustard. And marinara. Sure, there’s no shortage of commercial stain removal products — just take a stroll down your grocery store’s laundry aisle — but a recent Instagram Reel has me questioning my techniques. Could a surprising all-natural product be the solution to my toughest food stains?

The Reel, posted by home and cleaning personality Chantel Mila a.k.a @mama_mila_au, shows how to remove stains with eucalyptus oil. The first time I saw it, I was skeptical; doesn’t oil cause stains? But Mila explains in the video’s overlay text that eucalyptus oil is a natural stain remover. She demonstrates the correct way to use it, too. 

First, put a plate behind the stain (If you’re working with a shirt, you’ll want to slide it in between the front and back). This will help catch express oil. After that, sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the oil. Then, use a natural bristle brush to gently rub at the stain. “The baking soda helps draw up the stain from the fabric,” she explains. I noticed that she uses a gentle circular motion with the brush — this is not the time for deep scrubbing, which could deepen the stain. The final step is to simply launder per usual.

The Reel shows how well this works; Mila tackles one of her kids’ stained shirts, and the result looks brand-new. Even more impressive is the fact that the shirt had already been washed. Typically, taking stained fabric through a full laundry cycle will set the stain if not properly treated. 

I’m not a mother, but chatting with my friends who have kids has taught me that food stains are an inevitable part of raising children. (Mila notes in her caption that this is a game-changer for bibs and onesies). 

A little goes a long way with this treatment, so it’s a cost-effective method. Another unexpected benefit that Mila doesn’t mention, but I can’t stop thinking about: Eucalyptus smells amazing! My local health food store carries eucalyptus oil, but you can also find it online if you want to try this. (P.S.: It’s also good for drain deodorizing). I’m going to pick up a bottle and try this trick the next time I spill wine. Which — let’s be real — is probably going to be the next time I open a bottle.

Have you used eucalyptus oil as a stain remover?