How to Remove Petroleum Jelly From Upholstery Fabric

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Mild detergent

  • Clean white rag or absorbent pads


Use a white rag to prevent color dyes transferring onto your upholstery fabric. Check the manufacturer's care instructions for the fabric; special care may be required. Blot the stain. Rubbing the stained area can break down the fibers of the fabric, making it weak.

Petroleum jelly, most widely known by the brand name Vaseline, is a handy oil-based gel that has many uses; a first aid ointment, a skin treatment, a lice remedy and to help heal and prevent chapped lips are just a few. Occasionally some will get onto your upholstery and cause a stubborn mess or stain. Follow these easy steps to remove spills, smudges and stains.


Step 1

Remove surface petroleum jelly. Carefully scrape off the excess with a spoon or table knife.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Apply cleaning solvent to the affected area. You can use isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol) or a commercial cleaner designed to remove oil-based stains and spills. Make sure the cleaner is appropriate for your fabric. Test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous area.


Step 3

Allow a few minutes for the cleaner to break down the jelly. Blot the area with a clean white rag or absorbent pad. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 as necessary. Use a clean area on your rag each time you blot to prevent the spreading of the stain or spill.

Step 4

Make a solution consisting of one tablespoon detergent (Dawn is a good choice) to one cup lukewarm water and spray on the area. Blot the fabric with a paper towel to remove any residual petroleum jelly.