How to Get Motor Oil Out of Clothes in 7 Steps

You can get motor oil out of clothes by using cornstarch, aloe vera, baking soda, WD-40, shampoo or nail polish remover. Presoaking the stained clothes also can help.

1. Use cornstarch

One way to remove motor oil stains from clothes is to use cornstarch, a household stain remover. Cornstarch is also known as corn flour. It is a carbohydrate extracted from corn, and it comes in a white powder. It is commonly found in kitchens, but it also has household and industrial applications.

To use cornstarch to get motor oil out of clothes, you will need to use a damp sponge or toothbrush. First, lay the stained clothing flat on a table. Then pour a small amount of cornstarch on the stain, and let it set for half an hour. After 30 minutes, take the damp sponge or the toothbrush and brush off the cornstarch. Put the clothes in a washing machine on a cold setting and let the clothes air dry. 

2. Try aloe vera 

You may not have heard of this before, but you can also try to get rid of a motor oil stain with aloe vera. Aloe vera gel and warm and hot water can be used for stain removal. Start by soaking the stained clothes in hot water for 15 minutes. Remove the clothes from the water and scrub the aloe vera gel onto the stained area. Then wash the clothes in warm water and air dry them. 

3. Wash with baking soda

Baking soda is a classic method for removing motor oil stains from clothes. To do so, you will need some cardboard or an old towel, a scraping tool, baking soda and hot water. Start by laying the stained clothes on a table. Put the cardboard or old towel directly under the stained area, and then lightly sprinkle baking soda onto the stain. Wait 15 minutes for the baking soda to set in before gently brushing it off. Wash the clothes in hot water, repeating the process as many times as necessary until the stain is gone. You can dry the clothes however you normally would, when there is no sign of the stain.

If the stain persists, put some liquid soap on the stain, pour baking soda on it again, and scrub the area with a toothbrush or damp sponge. Allow the clothes to sit for 25 minutes. Then soak them in hot water again. 

4. Try WD-40

You also can use WD-40 to remove motor oil stains from your clothes. The solvents in WD-40 can help break down oils, loosening oil molecules away from fabric fibers. You will need a toothbrush, liquid soap and one teaspoon of WD-40. 

Lay the stained clothes on a table, and then carefully pour a teaspoon of WD-40 onto the stain. Wait 15 minutes for the WD-40 to soak into the stain, and then apply liquid soap to the area. Put the clothes in the washing machine and wash them with either warm or cold water before drying them as usual. 

5. Rub with shampoo

Even shampoo can remove motor oil stains because it has surfactant molecules that reduce the surface tension of a liquid, thus helping remove dirt and grime. This works for hair and for removing motor oil stains from soft fabrics. Engine oil and grease tend to be organic based, so shampoo is a trustworthy detergent to remove them. 

Lay your stained clothes flat on a table. Use your fingers or a sponge (or anything soft) to rub the shampoo onto the stain. Let the shampoo set for 25 minutes before you rinse the clothes. You may need to repeat this step several times before the stains all disappear. Put the clothes in a washing machine and dry as usual.

6. Use nail polish remover

You also can use nail polish remover to remove motor oil from your clothes because of the acetone, an organic solvent, in nail polish remover. The acetone bonds oil molecules together, making it easy to remove stains. You will need a gallon of water and one tablespoon of nail polish remover. Apply the remover to the stained area. Rinse it after 15 minutes. Repeat as many times as necessary until the stain is no longer visible. Once finished, you’re good to wash it. 

If there is an odor in the clothes you want to get rid of, add a cup of white vinegar to the wash to cover up the smell. 

7. Presoak

You also can remove motor oil from your clothes by presoaking. This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to clean your clothes. Just remember to presoak with hot water to get the best results. 

You will need a gallon of hot water and detergent, measured for a full wash load. Soak the clothing with hot water and the detergent for an hour. Rewash the clothes and presoak them with warm water. Wash again after 15 minutes. Then dry the clothes as normal.

Alsco’s Uniform Laundry Services

At Alsco, we know there are so many ways motor oil can get on your clothes — through direct splashes, spills or simply wiping your hands on your shirt and jeans. Our uniform rental services include items that are resistant to all manner of stains, and our laundry processes can remove the toughest oil and grease stains. So no matter what work you do, your clothes or uniform can look as good as new. Ask us how we can keep your uniforms looking clean and professional today! 


How to Remove Grease Stains From Your Clothes (November 2014). The Times of India.

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