How to get motor oil stains out of clothes? After fixing your motor, the dark brown and thick oil from the engine gets on your shirt or pants, annoying, right? Not only are the stains ugly, but the smell is also unpleasant too.
I bet you want to withdraw the motor oil right now. Hey, you are at the right post. With the proper procedure, the discoloration on your clothes will vanish spotlessly. Check the instructions below.
Have you ever stepped in your garage and had a slippery feeling on your feet? Yeah, that’s because the motor oil is spilled on the floor after checking or replacing the oil for your car or motorbike.
Motors in vehicles need engine lubricant to reduce friction and help the machine run smoothly (1). Usually, you have to replace the oil frequently to sustain the quality of internal combustion engines.
While replacing the oil, there is a great chance it will get on your clothes and leave a messy black stain. Worst, along with the stain, is a heavy oil smell which is really frustrating to remove.
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Like other stains, motor oil stains can be wiped out without much effort as long as you treat them immediately with proper procedure. So, let’s handle the stains right now before the stains become severe.
Now is the critical part; the following methods will help you clean the oil stains away from your clothes. Feel free to choose the most suitable option for your garments.
Besides its famous benefits for skin health, aloe vera is also an excellent grease fighter due to its amino acids content. Not only motor oil but other oil-based stains can also be washed entirely by aloe vera. So, give this product a try.
- A spare toothbrush
- One tablespoon of aloe vera
- A dull knife
- A small plastic bowl
Step 1: Allow the garments to become thoroughly wet with hot water.
Step 2: Slowly push the knife into the fabric to press the excess oil out of the fibers. Use a small plastic bowl as a container for the oil. Remember to work on the other side of the stain to avoid the oil going deeper into the fabric.
Step 3: Apply aloe vera on the oil stain and rub slightly.
Step 4: Allow the aloe vera to soak into the fibers for one hour.
Step 5: Wash the garments with the highest temperature setting on your washer. Make sure the care tag on your garments allows you to do this.
Step 6: Hang the affected clothes on the clothesline and let them air dry.
The degreaser is a strong chemical that can eliminate the oil in just a snap of a finger. If you don’t have a degreaser like WD-40, substitute it with lighter fluid.
Note: You need to be careful while using a degreaser or lighter fluid; these materials are flammable (2), so avoid cleaning near the heat source and choose a well-ventilated place to use this product.
- WD-40 (around 1 teaspoon) or lighter fluid
- An old toothbrush (optional)
- Cotton swabs
- Paper towels
- Dishwashing liquid or laundry soap
Before you start: Degreaser or lighter fluid is powerful cleaning chemicals. You need to test the product on an inconspicuous part of your clothes before applying it to the whole stained area. If any changes are occurring on the garment, stop using the product.
Step 1: Absorb the excess oil with paper towels. Use a gentle force and press the paper on the stained area. Keep on changing for a new piece of paper until there is no oil transferred onto the paper.
Note: Rubbing will only push the oil deeper into the fibers, so don’t rub at all.
Step 2: Blot WD-40 at the stain using a cotton swab not to damage the fabric. However, if the fabric is sturdy, apply the degreaser directly to the stained area and let it soak for a few hours.
Step 3: Rub the dish soap on the affected surface with your fingers. You can use a toothbrush and rub gently on the fabric.
Step 4: Launder the stained garment with warm water and air dry them.
You know what? Shampoo can also cut the greasy oil out of your fabric. The surfactant in shampoo will ease the oil and help you wash them easier. Plus, shampoo works great on soft fabric.
- A sponge or paper towels
- A plastic knife
- A small plastic container
- A small bowl
Step 1: Press a plastic knife to remove the excess oil. Work on the other side of the stain and use a small bowl to get all the abundant oil falling out.
Step 2: Mix a solution of shampoo and water, applying the ratio of 1:1.
Step 3: Use a sponge or your fingers to rub the mixture on the affected zone. Soft paper towels will also be helpful to rub the stain gently.
Step 4: Wait for around 25 minutes. The shampoo will set in and penetrate the fiber to break down the grease oil.
Step 5: Repeat blotting until the oil is completely removed from your fabric.
Step 6: Wash the garments as usual with hot water.
Nail polish remover with acetone will weaken the stain and make it easier to wash out. Motor oil is not even a problem while facing this product.
- Nail polish remover
- Cotton swabs
- Dishwashing detergent
- White vinegar
- Paper towels
Note: Acetone in nail polish remover is so powerful that it could damage your fabric. Make a spot test on a hidden area on your clothes to see if the fabric can endure this chemical or not.
Step 1: Withdraw the abundant engine oil with paper towels.
Step 2: Use a cotton ball to apply acetone to the stained zone for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Rinse the affected area with water. If the stain is still visible, repeat the whole process until the stain is 100% removed.
Step 4: Add a cup of white vinegar while laundering. The vinegar will blow the oil smell out of your clothes.
Step 5: If there is remaining oil on your clothes, some drops of liquid detergent will handle the oil stain. Just keep on rubbing and rinsing with water. Then, rewash your clothes as usual.
Step 6: Allow the garments to air dry.
Mechanics soap is designed to clean out the most stubborn engine oil stain, so the soap is the must-try choice for cleaning greasy stains.
- Mechanics soap or mechanic’s hand cleaner
- Clean rags or cardboard
Step 1: Place the stained garment on a flat surface.
Step 2: Put a clean rag under the stained area. A piece of cardboard will also work. The rag will absorb all the loosened stains that come out from the cleaning process.
Step 3: Apply the mechanics soap on the stained surface and let the product sit for roughly 30 minutes.
Step 4: Launder the affected garment alone not to spread the mechanics soap smell onto other non-affected clothes.
Step 5: Dry the garment as you usually do.
The classic cleaning agent available at almost any house, liquid laundry detergent, is a must-try product. I guess I don’t have to say anything about this product anymore; let’s go straight to the point and deal with the stain.
- A bucket
- Liquid enzymatic laundry detergent
- An old toothbrush
- Plastic spoon
- Clean cloths
- Laundry pre-treatment spray
Step 1: Place a clean cloth between the stained area and the non-affected side.
Step 2: Scoop up all the abundant oil by using the plastic spoon.
Step 3: Blot the remaining oil with towel papers.
Step 4: Spray a liberal amount of laundry pre-treatment onto the stained area and wait around one hour.
Step 5: Rub laundry detergent onto the stained area using your fingers.
Step 6: Rinse with water in a prepared bucket.
Step 7: Launder the item as usual.
Note: If the stain persists, try applying WD-40 or a mechanic’s hand cleaner following the instructions above.
Step 8: If the stain is completely gone, dry the garments.
Dish Soap (Grease-Fighting Type)
Yup, what else can be better with the product that is designed to cut through the oil? Use a grease-fighting dishwashing liquid to say goodbye to the oil stains once and for all.
- Paper towels
- Absorbent powder (baby powder, flour, salt, or cornstarch)
- Laundry detergent
- Plastic spoon
Step 1: Remove the excess oil with a plastic spoon. Only use a light force so as not to push the oil deeper through the fabric.
Step 2: Gently blot the area with a paper towel to suck all the oil out of the garment. Switch to a new paper towel if the previous one is full of oil. Keep repeating until no more grease comes out from the stain.
Step 3: Pat baby powder or any absorbent material near you to cover the affected area and wait for approximately 10 minutes.
Step 4: Brush off the powder using a toothbrush, or simply you can shake the powder off.
Step 5: Drop some dishwashing liquid and water on the surface of the stain. Massage the stained area with your finger to allow the liquid to soak into the fibers.
Step 6: Scrub the stain in a circular motion with a soft toothbrush. You need to work on both sides of your garments.
Step 7: Launder your garment according to the instructions on the care label.
Step 8: Air dries your clothes. Don’t use the dryer because the high temperature might set any remaining stains.
Such a straightforward way to clean the engine oil. Watch this video:
Yeah, when it comes to stubborn stains, don’t forget bleach, especially if your clothes is white. So, let’s see how you can use bleach to clean motor oil.
- Laundry detergent, dish soap, or degreaser
- A clean cloth (to clean the surface)
Note: Test the bleach on an unnoticeable part of the garments; if any discoloration is present, skip this method.
Step 1: Apply laundry detergent or any other grease fighters such as dish soap or degreaser on the stained area.
Step 2: Allow the detergent to work on the stain for 5 minutes.
Step 3: Wash normally with hot water (use the highest temperature allowed on the care label). Add a small amount of bleach into the washer.
Step 4: Wash the first round in 8 minutes, then start the second round for around 12 minutes.
Step 5: Check the stained garment before drying.
Step 1: Wet the surface with water
Step 2: For one gallon of water, add half a cup of bleach to create the bleach solution.
Step 3: Use a clean cloth and wipe the solution on the stained garment. Allow the solution to sit on the surface for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Rinse the stained surface with water and air dry your clothes.
Absorbent powder, like baby powder, is really effective against oil stains from engine oil (3). Baking soda or cornstarch will also eliminate all the greasy oil and help your clothes clean and dry.
- Baby powder (cornstarch or baking soda can be an excellent substitute)
- Clean rags
- Hot water
- A plastic knife
- Liquid detergent (optional)
Step 1: First, put your clothes on a flat surface and place a clean rag underneath the stained area.
Step 2: Scrape off most of the oil by using a plastic knife.
Step 3: Sprinkle baby powder onto the affected zone. Ensure that the entire area is covered with the powder.
Note: Just use a sufficient amount, too much powder will cause inconveniences in the washing process.
Step 4: Leave the baby powder on the garment until the color of the powder changes.
Step 5: Remove the powder with the plastic knife and rinse with hot water (the temperature should follow the instructions on the care tag)
Step 6: Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 until the powder absorbs no oil.
Step 7: If the stain is still present, rub the stain with liquid detergent using a toothbrush. Let the detergent work for 10 minutes.
Step 8: Wash your garments in a high-temperature setting.
Step 9: Dry your clothes when the stain is entirely gone.
Coca-cola’s high acidity and sparkling function are a great weapon to wipe the engine oil out of our clothes. So grab a bottle of Coke in your fridge and try it right now.
- A can of Coca-cola
- Dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent
- Dishwasher detergent (powder)
- Hot water
- Baking soda
- A wired brush
- Paper towels
- A bucket
Step 1: Blot all the excess oil with paper towels.
Step 2: Soak your clothes with warm water to loosen the oil; the suggested temperature is below 130oF (54oC). If your clothes are big, you can use a bathtub or a washing machine to apply as much water as possible to soak the garments.
Step 2: Apply one can of Coke to the stained garments and submerge them overnight.
Step 3: Mix warm water and a sufficient amount of dishwashing liquid on the prepared bucket. You can also use laundry detergent if you are out of dish soap.
Step 4: Gently pour the well-mixed substance on the affected garments.
Step 5: Cover the stained area with baking soda for at least 30 minutes. Then, rub the stain slightly with a wired brush.
Step 6: Dust the stained zone with dishwashing powder and let it sit on the stain for 5 minutes.
Step 7: Use boiled water and pour on the surface of the area (only apply this step if you make sure that the garment’s care label allows you).
Step 8: Continue brushing and rinsing with hot water until the stain color meets your satisfaction.
Step 9: Let your clothes air dry.
An additional way to use Coca-cola to clean engine oil stains. Watch this video:
Hey! These are some important tips you need to know to remove the engine oil stains out of your clothes better. Don’t forget them.
Each type of garment requires different cleaning and laundry techniques; so, read the care label carefully to understand what method is the best for your outfits. Also, follow the directions on the bottle of the chemical you use to avoid harming the fabric.
As soon as the stain appears, treat it immediately. Wet oil stains are pretty easy to fall out. When it is dried or set by the heat, there is a significant chance the stains will become permanent.
With old and dried motor oil stains, the key is to soak and flush them precisely with warm and hot water. The temperature should follow the advice from your garment’s care tag. However, if the label doesn’t allow hot water, just wash with cold water as you usually would.
For some tough and sturdy fabrics like denim, a toothbrush or a small scrubber will be helpful. If you are cleaning delicate fabrics (cotton, silk, or synthetic fabrics), blotting or rubbing with a microfiber rag is an ideal choice.
Don’t miss the following questions; they could provide lots of valuable information for you. Check them out!
Don’t Panic! Just Use The Oil-Fighting Solvents
Although motor oil is greasy and gooey, some oil-fighting solvents will be about to break it down and blow them away. Don’t be afraid when your garment is contaminated with engine oil; calm down and follow the suggested methods.
So, I guess you have picked your favorite “grease fighter” to clean your lovely outfits, right? Tell me the result in the comment section; I would be really happy if the method could help you out. Thank you, I will see you in the next post.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Motor oil – Wikipedia.
- CT.gov – Connecticut’s Official State Website. 2021. Degreaser Management for Individuals.
- Pubs.usgs.gov. 2021. fs-0065-00textonly.pdf