How Remove Motor Oil from Clothes (8 Best Ways)

If you enjoy fixing things and often find yourself with motor oil stains on your clothes, don’t worry—it happens to the best of us. Whether you’re unexpectedly changing a tire or repairing a bike chain for your kids, oil and grease can easily get on your clean clothes.

The good news is, it’s not a disaster, but you do need to act quickly before the stains become stubborn and difficult to remove. In this guide, you’ll discover how to get car engine oil and bike engine oil out of your clothes using common household items like dishwashing liquid, vinegar, and baking soda.

How Remove Motor Oil from Clothes

When it comes to distinguishing between bike oil and car oil, the main variance lies in the viscosity, or thickness, of the oil—bike oil is thicker than car oil. Despite this difference, both oils can leave stubborn stains on your clothes. That’s why it’s crucial to have effective stain removers that act quickly and efficiently to lift the oil out of your fabrics.

We’ve identified five household items that work wonders when you need to remove car or bike oil from your favorite clothing.

1. Dishwashing Liquid

Dishwashing liquid, known for its grease-cutting power for dishes, is an excellent stain remover for oily and greasy stains on clothing. Here’s a simple method for optimal results:

  • Apply a small amount onto the stained area.
  • Gently rub it in with an old, soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Let it soak for some few minutes.
  • Rinse using cold water.
  • Wash the garment in your washing machine as usual, opting for a cold cycle, and air-dry.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is an incredible stain-removing agent. Create a potent stain remover paste by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with two to three drops of dishwashing liquid. Follow these steps by rubbing the paste into the stain with a soft-bristled brush. Get the best Baking soda for cleaning

3. Use Cornstarch

To remove motor oil stains from your clothes, try using cornstarch, a common household stain remover also known as corn flour. This white powder, derived from corn, can be found in most kitchens and serves various household and industrial purposes.

Here’s how to use cornstarch for oil stain removal:

  1. Apply cornstarch to the stained are and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  2. Use a damp sponge or toothbrush to gently brush off the cornstarch.
  3. Put the clothes in a washing machine using a cold setting, and allow them to air dry.

4. Try Aloe Vera

Surprisingly, aloe vera can also help eliminate motor oil stains from clothes. Follow these steps:

  1. Soak the stained clothes in hot water for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the clothes from the water and apply aloe vera gel to the stained area.
  3. Wash the clothes in warm water and air dry them.

5. Wash with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a classic method for tackling motor oil stains. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Place the stained clothes on a table and put cardboard or an old towel beneath the stained area.
  2. Lightly sprinkle baking soda onto the stain and wait for 15 minutes.
  3. Gently brush off the baking soda.
  4. Wash the clothes in hot water, repeating the process until the stain is gone.
  5. Dry the clothes as usual when there’s no sign of the stain.

If the stain persists:

  1. Apply liquid soap to the stain.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda on the soap-covered area.
  3. Scrub the stain with a toothbrush or damp sponge.
  4. Let the clothes sit for 25 minutes.
  5. Soak them in hot water again before washing.

6. Try WD-40

You can also use WD-40 to eliminate motor oil stains from your clothes. The solvents in WD-40 break down oils, helping to release them from fabric fibers. Here’s a simple method using a toothbrush, liquid soap, and one teaspoon of WD-40:

  1. Lay the stained clothes on a table and carefully pour a teaspoon of WD-40 onto the stain.
  2. Allow the WD-40 to soak into the stain for 15 minutes.
  3. Apply liquid soap to the stained area.
  4. Wash as usual with either warm or cold water.
  5. Dry the clothes as usual.

7. Rub with Shampoo

Believe it or not, shampoo can effectively remove motor oil stains due to its surfactant molecules that reduce the surface tension of a liquid, aiding in dirt and grime removal. Follow these steps:

  1. Lay your stained clothes flat on a table.
  2. Use your fingers, a sponge, or any soft material to rub the shampoo onto the stain.
  3. Allow the shampoo to set for 25 minutes before rinsing the clothes.
  4. Repeat this step as needed until the stains disappear.
  5. Put the clothes in a washing machine and dry them as usual.

8. Use Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover, containing acetone, an organic solvent, is another option for removing motor oil stains. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Mix a tablespoon of nail polish remover with a gallon of water.
  2. Apply the remover to the stained area and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Repeat if necessary
  4. Wash the clothes, and if there’s an odor, add a cup of white vinegar to the wash to eliminate it.

Stain Removal Tips

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when trying to remove bike and car oil stains from your clothes using common household items:

  1. Check Care Instructions: Before attempting any stain removal, review the washing instructions or care label on the clothing. Make sure you know the recommended washing temperature and cycle for the fabric.
  2. Be Cautious with Delicate Fabrics: Exercise caution when using these stain removal methods on delicate fabrics like wool or silk. These materials may need a gentler approach to avoid damage.
  3. Avoid Heat: Heat can set oil stains into fabric, making them more difficult to remove. Whether you’re hand washing or using a washing machine, opt for a cold wash cycle to prevent the stain from setting.
  4. Act Quickly: Time is of the essence when dealing with oil stains. The faster you apply a stain remover to the affected area, the easier it will be to eliminate the stain. Swift action can make a significant difference in the success of the stain removal process.

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