How to Remove Motor Oil From Rags


Adding or changing motor oil is a necessary task to maintain engine-based products in top operating condition, but engine work is rarely a clean undertaking. Because engines contain small parts, it is not easy to work wearing gloves, so your bare hands get coated with oil and grime during the process. Rags are the best way to wipe motor oil from your hands without adding lint to your skin like paper towels are prone to do, but before you throw away those oil-soaked rags, try removing the motor oil from the rags with a simple washing process.

Things You'll Need

  • Pre-wash laundry spray
  • Laundry detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Spray the rags with a pre-wash stain removing liquid. Make sure all oily areas are completely dampened by the pre-wash liquid. Allow the pre-wash liquid to remain on the rags for an hour.

  • Wash the rags in the washing machine with regular laundry detergent. Use the "Heavy Wash" setting and hot water. Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

  • Dry the rags in the dryer on a setting suitable for the type of fabric the rags are made from.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wash rags immediately after use before the oil has a chance to dry and set on the fabric.
  • Washing may not remove all discoloration from the rags. Keep discolored, clean rags for use with future projects involving motor oil.
  • If the rags are dripping with motor oil, do not place them in your washing machine. Instead, lay the rags out flat and sprinkle baking soda on them to help absorb the oil before washing.

Related Searches


  • Good Housekeeping
  • "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things;" Reader's Digest Writing Staff; 2005.
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