It’s easy enough to wear old clothes when you know you’re going to be working on your car – but if you run into trouble on the road, there’s no opportunity to change into something more practical. That’s when you’re left wondering how to remove oil stains – and if you’re really unlucky, how to shift things like rust and tyre track stains too.
There’s no need to worry, though, because this guide has everything you need to know about removing oil from clothes, as well as some of the other stubborn car stains you might end up dealing with.
How to get engine oil out of clothes
If you’re trying to get oil out of clothes, the most important thing is not to panic – there are few things you can try, even on delicate fabrics. Just remember to read the labels on your clothes and any laundry products before you start.
- Gently blot away any excess oil with a paper towel. This is a good first step if you’re on the roadside and can’t start treating the stain immediately.
- Pre-treat the stain. If your clothing isn’t delicate, you can treat it with Persil bio liquid. You could also use liquid hand soap in a pinch. Mix your chosen pre-treatment with cool water and work it gently into the stain with an old toothbrush, then leave it to sit for a few minutes.
If you’re removing oil from clothes that might not respond well to water-based stain removers, like a delicate silk blouse, here’s something else you can try: cover the stain with plenty of cornflour or talcum powder. These powders will help to absorb and draw out the stain. Leave the talcum powder or cornflour on for a few hours, or overnight, before brushing away.
- Wash the garment as usual, following the instructions on the label. It’s important to let the fabric air-dry until you’re certain that the stain is gone. If you use a tumble dryer while there’s still grease on the fabric, the heat of the dryer may set the stain into the fabric.
There you have it – how to remove oil from clothes! Want to find out more? We have more tips on removing mechanical oil and grease from different fabrics here.
Removing other car stains from clothes
It’s not just engine oil – other car stains can be tricky too. Here’s a few to look out for:
Apart from the smell, spilled antifreeze is mainly a problem because it often contains bright blue, red or green dye, so it’s important to act as quickly as possible to remove it from your clothes. Soak the garment in hot water and pre-treat the stain by applying Persil liquid directly to the mark. Then wash on the hottest setting suggested on the care label. Repeat the process if the stain is still there after the first wash.
- Tyre tracks
These can look messy, but the good news is that they should come out easily enough if you pre-treat them with Persil liquid. The important thing is to try and identify whether the stain is composed of oil or mud. If it’s oil, follow the above steps for removing oil from clothes. If it’s mud, allow the stain to dry before gently brushing it away – it ought to flake off easily. Then wash as normal.
Rust is one of the trickiest stains by far, so act fast if you spot it! Use neat lemon juice or white vinegar on the affected area (it’s a good idea to lay the garment down on an old towel before you start) before washing as usual. Leave to air-dry and check that the stain is gone – if it’s not, treat the stain again.
With this guide in hand, you’re a car stain expert: you know how to get engine oil out of clothes and treat other stubborn marks, too. Hopefully, you won’t have to use your newfound knowledge any time soon, but if you do, at least you can get back to enjoying your road trip as soon as possible.