oil shirt
Tips & Tricks

How to Get Car Oil Out of Clothes – 5 Hacks That Works

One of the annoying consequences of working on your car is that you will almost certainly get some oil on your shirt or pants. This is easy to do because there is usually a thin film of greasy oil all over the engine under the hood. It seems to happen no matter how careful you try to be. If you are unfortunate enough to end up with some motor oil on your clothing, do not worry! In most cases, there is how to get car oil out of clothes. There are sometimes where no matter what you do, the oil will not come out.

After you finish working on your car, make sure to clean your seats, and condition your leather seats naturally!

How to Get Car Oil Out of Clothes – Procedures For different Fabrics

Items You Need to Get Out Motor Oil Stains from Fabric Clothing

  • Detergent like Tide or Dawn is best for this. The more concentrated the better. Thick detergent that is made specifically for grease is the most effective. Dawn is my favorite.
  • A brush of some kind. Either a thick bristled plastic scrub brush for dishes or a toothbrush with hard bristles are the best tool for this job.
  • A washing machine
  • Absorbent powder like baby powder, or even cornstarch or baking soda.
  • A thick hand cloth or towel
  • A sink or bucket of water

Step by Step Instructions to Remove the Greasy Stain

  1. Take off the clothing item that has the oil stain and lay it on a table flat. If you have a towel you can lay a towel under the clothing to avoid it picking up any additional dirt or stains from the table, you are laying it on.
  2. Blot the stain with a soft cloth or towel to soak up any loose oil that is sitting on the surface of the fabric. Do not press to hard, just gently move around the stain pressing the cloth down on the clothes over and over until you do not see any additional loose oil soaking into the towel or cloth.
  3. Sprinkle your powder all over the stained area and let it sit on the stain for a few minutes uninterrupted. Once it has been sitting on the stain for a while, take your cloth and press it gently against the powder to soak up any additional liquid that the cloth left behind the first time. Once you have soaked up all the powder with the cloth and the stain appears to be dry, you can move on to the next step.
  4. Now that the clothing item is dry and any excess oil is gone, it is time for the first round of detergent. Take the thickest most concentrated detergent you have and pour enough on the clothes to cover the entire stain. Take your toothbrush or scrub brush and gently massage the soap into the stain using circular motions. Be careful not to press too hard or you could scratch the fabric too much and leave a light spot. Once you are sure that you have covered the whole stain and it is fully soaked with detergent, start blotting it off with a towel or rag.
  5. Let the stain and the detergent fully dry, place it in the sun if you can, and just let the detergent dry and get hard on the fabric. Once it has sat on the fabric and dried for a few hours and is hard, take a fresh brush and some water in a spray bottle and start spraying the stain. Spray it with the water and brush it with the brush until it starts to foam up. Keep massaging it with a brush and letting the foam set into the fabric. Once you have gotten it well, dump out the spray bottle and rinse the stain with the water. Dry it with a towel and let it dry in the sun again.
  6. By now the stain should be very faint, if not completely gone. The lighter the fabric is the harder it will be to remove oil stains. If the stain is still visible it is time for the final step. Now that the fabric is dry and has had one washing session, it is time for the washing machine step. Pour enough detergent to cover the entire stain and let it soak in overnight. The detergent will penetrate deep into the fabric and loosen the oil from the clothing. After the clothes have soaked in the detergent all night, wash them in the washing machine the next day. Use the hottest water that the fabric will allow. There should be a care tag somewhere on the fabric that tells you the water temperature that is safest to wash the clothes in. Run the clothes in the washer and dryer as normal.

Repeat step 6 as many times as needed until the stain is completely gone! And that is how to get car oil out of clothes.

Advice and Hacks for Removing Grease Stains from Fabric

Sooner is Better

It is much easier to remove a fresh stain than it is to remove one that has been set. The faster you can get the clothes off and start the process of stain removal, the higher the chances are for success. Do not wait, if you notice a stain, take care of it right away!

Using Stain Remover

You can use the step-by-step method above which is the safest way, or you can use a shortcut method by using a stain remover chemical like Oxiclean or Shout stain remover.

I did not include these in the “how to get car oil out of clothes” instructions because these chemicals are harsh and can often leave a light spot on your clothing where the stain was. You will need to test the chemical stain remover on an area of the clothes before you use this method.

Once you are sure the stain remover will not leave a light spot, just spray the oil area with the remover and rub it with a toothbrush, let it set for a couple hours, and wash it in the washing machine as normal.

How to Get Car Oil Out of Clothes – Delicate Fabric Alert

For how to get car oil out of clothes that are delicate f your stain is on silk or wool or cashmere it is best to take it to a professional cleaner and let them handle it. It is never smart to work on your car in your good clothes, you should know better!

How to Get Car Oil Out of Clothes – The WD-40 Method (for set-in stains)

This is going to sound crazy, but you can use WD-40 on a grease stain if it has had a lot of time to set in. Just like with the stain remover method you should test the fabric first to make sure the chemical will not leave a spot. To use this method just spray the stain with some WD-40 and rub it in with a toothbrush, let it dry, and wash as usual in the washing machine.

How to Get Car Oil Out of Clothes – The Coke Miracle

Pour some coke on the stain and let it dry. This method will leave its own mark on the fabric, but the idea is that the coke stain will easily come out in the wash, taking the oil stain with it! This how to get car oil out of clothes will work best on darker clothes and is not recommended for white or very light-colored clothing items. You should not be working on any vehicle in a white shirt or pants, anyway!

If you enjoyed this tutorial, make sure you check out the ultimate guide to Subaru tire pressure!