How to get motor oil smell out of clothes

When working a motor or engine, motor oil may spill on your clothes, making them messy and smelly. The smell can linger longer on the clothes, even if the stain has come out.

Worse, the smell may rub on other clothes and spread throughout your wardrobe. This can be frustrating and annoying, but it’s not challenging to remove it.

Here are some materials and methods to get motor oil smell out of clothes.

Materials you will need

  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • A gallon of water

How to get mechanical oil smell out of clothes

When engine oil comes in contact with your clothes, it leaves a stain and odor that are both unpleasant. 

The oil smell comes from chemical components such as sulfur that release odor when heated or exposed to air.

If you want to remove the smell or prevent further staining on your clothes, here are the different methods you can try out:

1. Using heavy-duty laundry detergent

  1. To remove motor oil from clothes, pre-soak them in hot water and a heavy-duty detergent such as Tide Hygienic Clean, measured at full wash load.
  2. Let them sit for an hour.
  3. Rewash the clothes in clean, warm water and detergent.
  4. Wash them again for 15 minutes to eliminate the smell effectively.
  5. Rinse and leave them to dry in the sun.

2. Using vinegar and baking soda

  1. Use a bowl of warm water to form a solution using half a cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar. Stir well until the ingredients dissolve completely.
  2. Put your clothes in a container or bucket full of water and add the solution.
  3. Soak the clothes in this solution for 3 to 5 hours.
  4. Smell the clothes before washing them. Soak them for another 30 to 45 minutes if they still smell of oil.
  5. Wash them with water and detergent for 10 minutes.
  6. Rinse and leave them to dry in direct sunlight.

3. Using dish soap

Dish Soap
Dish Soap. Image by karolina-grabowska for Pexels
  1. Add a quarter cup of water to a bucketful of warm water.
  2. Let the clothes sit in the solution for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the clothes with a wooden spoon to ensure they are evenly soaked.
  4. Wash the clothes with regular detergent and warm water.
  5. Rinse them in clean water and let them air-dry in direct sunlight.

Additional tips and advice

  • Never let the stain settle in; wash it as soon as possible with hot water and detergent to avoid permanent damage.
  • Use a high-quality detergent, such as Tide Hygienic Clean or Persil ProClean Stain Fighter, for the best and most effective results since diesel oil is a heavy-duty stain. Low-quality detergents fail to remove stains and odor and may also ruin the clothes’ fabric.
  • You can use scented laundry detergent or dish soap to remove the fuel oil smell and give the clothes a fragrant smell.
  • Do not use too much dish soap as washing machines cannot handle overly sudsy soap, which can eventually damage the machine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to your burning questions.

Why do my clothes smell like old oil?

Your clothes smell like old oil because your washing machine is malfunctioning due to a faulty part. 

Check under the washing machine for leaks if your clothes still smell of oil after washing.

It can also be because of oil buildup in the washing machine, especially if you wash oil clothes a lot. 

You can solve this problem by cleaning the washing machine using laundry detergent and warm water and running it on an empty load.

How do you get the oil smell out of clothes without washing them?

Using baking soda or vinegar, you can eliminate the oil or diesel smell on your clothes. 

Spray a little vinegar on the stained area and dry them in direct sunlight or the dryer. This will make the unwanted odor disappear.

You can apply a thick baking soda and water paste to the oil-stained clothes. Leave the paste to dry and flake out the remaining residue.

Alternatively, add baking soda and water to a spraying bottle and shake it to form a solution. Spritz it over the stained clothes and let it sit for 15 minutes before drying.

Does motor oil permanently stain clothes?

Car grease leaves a greasy stain darker than the original clothes’ color. The longer the stain is left, the darker it becomes.

If the clothing is not pre-soaked or washed immediately, it may accidentally set the stain and become permanent.

Does oil come out of the washing machine?

Yes, oil can come from a washing machine when you clean your clothes. 

You can clean it with hot water and laundry detergent and run the washer in an empty load for 15 minutes. 

It ensures your washing machine is clean and does not stain other clothes with oil.