How to Remove Motor Oil From Laundry

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Motor oil stains on laundry may look impossible to remove. Their dark, greasy oil can be intimidating, especially on a white shirt or new pair of slacks. There is no need to throw in the towel on your motor oil-stained laundry. You have several ways to remove motor oil effectively from laundry without sacrificing the integrity of the fabric. Your laundry will look as good as new in no time with no signs of motor oil.

Things You'll Need

  • Spoon
  • Paper towel
  • Laundry pre-treatment spray
  • Liquid enzymatic laundry detergent
  • Water
  • WD-40
  • Rags
  • Mechanic's hand cleaner
  • Old toothbrush

Scrape up as much of the oil as possible before you begin to remove the actual stain. Use a spoon to scoop up the motor oil carefully, taking care not to spread it to unaffected areas of the fabric. Gently blot the remaining oil with paper towels to remove the oil further.

Apply a laundry pre-treat spray to the stain. Both Shout and Spray and Wash are easily found laundry pre-treatments. Apply a generous amount of the pre-treatment and allow it to stand on the laundry for an hour.

Pour a few drops of liquid laundry detergent onto the stain. Rub the detergent into the stain with your fingers to work out the motor oil.

Rinse the laundry in the sink with cool water. Wash the item as usual. Inspect the laundry after it has been washed, before placing it in the dryer, for any traces of the motor oil. Do not dry the laundry unless you are certain that all the motor oil has been removed.

Spray the laundry with WD-40 if the stain persists. Rub the WD-40 into the fabric using a clean rag. Continue to rub, switching to clean parts of the rag, until the stain has lifted. Wash the item as usual, inspecting it before putting it in the dryer.

Use a mechanic's hand cleaner as an alternative method for removing motor oil from the laundry. Gently rub a generous amount of the cleaner into the stain using an old toothbrush. Soak the laundry in water and an enzymatic laundry detergent for a few hours before laundering as usual.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place a buffer cloth between the stained side of the fabric and the clean side of the fabric. This will prevent the motor oil from seeping through to the unaffected side of the laundry.

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