How to Get Lighter Fluid Stains Out


Lighter fluid is a colorless, highly flammable liquefied gas used to light cigarettes, grills, campfires and wood stoves among other items. Accidentally spilling or splashing lighter fluid can stain upholstery and fabric with poisonous and flammable ingredients. Besides their strong scent and oily appearance, lighter fluid stains make surfaces dangerously flammable. Lighter fluid stains should be removed as quickly as possible from upholstery and fabric using basic cleaning materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • 1 tbsp. liquid dish soap
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • 2 white cloths
  • White towel
  • Prewash stain remover
  • Washing machine
  • 1/4 cup laundry soap


  • Blot the lighter fluid-stained upholstery repeatedly with paper towels. Lift and absorb as much lighter fluid as possible.

  • Pour 2 cups of cold water and 1 tbsp. of liquid dish soap into a bowl and stir it thoroughly.

  • Dunk a white cloth in the soapy water. Repeatedly blot the lighter fluid-stained upholstery until it absorbs the soapy water.

  • Mix fresh soapy water and resume blotting the upholstery to remove the lighter fluid stain completely if oily residue or a fuel scent lingers.

  • Wet a fresh white cloth with cold water. Repeatedly blot the previously stained upholstery to rinse out the soapy water.

  • Absorb moisture from the upholstery using a white towel.


  • Blot the lighter fluid-stained fabric repeatedly with paper towels. Lift and absorb as much lighter fluid as possible.

  • Coat the remaining lighter fluid with prewash stain remover. Allow the stain remover to permeate the lighter fluid-stained fabric for 15 minutes.

  • Rinse the fabric in cold water to ensure all prewash stain remover and lighter fluid is flushed out before laundering the garment.

  • Launder the fabric in your washing machine, following the washing instructions on the garment's care label. Add 1/4 cup of laundry soap to the wash for extra cleaning boost.

  • Hang or lay the washed garment flat to air-dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spot-test the soapy water and prewash stain remover on the affected fabric to protect against possible discoloration.

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  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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