How to remove diesel stains from clothes

Diesel stains and odor can be hard to eliminate from clothing and carpeting. It is also dangerous if you were not able to remove the stains properly. Remember that the stains can make the fabric more flammable, thus it is vital to handle the garments carefully.

Stained clothes should not be washed with other garments. Although it might take more than one attempt to eliminate the stains, using some of the common stain removers or household cleaners might be effective. Read further to learn about techniques on how to remove diesel stains from clothes. 

Steps on how to remove diesel stains from clothes

When you end up with a garment with a diesel stain that is labeled as “dry clean only”, it is recommended to take it to the dry cleaner right away and identify the stain. Remember that it is not safe to utilize a home dry cleaning kit for garments that have been stained with diesel fuel or gasoline. Let us now take a look at the steps on removing diesel stains from clothes.

  • Pretreat the site of the stain. Use a solvent-based stain product or enzyme-based liquid detergent to pretreat the area. Start by working in the treatment by carefully rubbing the site of the stain using a soft-bristled brush. Leave the product in place for at least 15 minutes.
  • Launder the garment. Wash the garment normally using the hottest water suitable for the fabric based on the care label. Carefully check the garment for any stains and odors. Repeat the process if needed.
  • Soaking overnight. This is an optional step especially if there is a lingering fuel odor. Soak the stained garment overnight with enough water so that it is fully submerged along with a cup of baking soda. Wash the garment as usual. 
  • Put the garment in a dryer if there is no lingering odor or on a clothesline. An option is to air-dry outside to help remove the odor. In case a trace of the odor lingers, air-dry on a drying rack or clothesline indoors. It is not recommended to place the garment in a gas or electric dryer. 
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As for garments that are heavily saturated and exude heavy odors, you must fill the washer, plastic tub or deep sink with warm water and add a cup of non-sudsing household ammonia. Close the lid or cover the solution if possible. Leave the garment to soak for several hours or overnight. Drain the washer and launder the garment as usual. Avoid using any chlorine bleach during soaking or washing since mixing ammonia with bleach produces toxic fumes. 

How to remove a dry diesel stain

If rust stains on clothing can be a tedious chore, removing a dry diesel stain can also a difficult task. Luckily, the pre-treatment products that are effective on fresh diesel stains are also effective on old, dried stains. 

  • Rub the stain removal product on the site of the stain. 
  • Leave in place for at least 20 minutes and wash normally using your preferred laundry detergent with hot water. 
  • Allow the garment to dry. 

Remember that the key to getting rid of diesel from clothing is repetition. Inspect the garment for any leftover stains. If there is a trace left, pretreat the garment again and wash before drying. 


How do you remove gasoline from clothing?

If you want to effectively get rid of diesel stains from clothing, simply follow these steps.

  • Sprinkle baking soda, cornstarch or other absorbent powder on the site of the stain. Leave in place for up to 30 minutes and brush away.
  • Pre-treat the garment with a prewash stain remover.
  • Wash using the hottest water that is safe for the fabric. Allow the fabric to air-dry until you are sure that the stain is fully removed. Avoid drying in a tumble dryer.
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Will diesel smell go away?

For those who work with diesel or required to handle it, being careful not to spill it is not just for safety reasons but also due to its strong odor. The diesel smell does not easily go away even with air fresheners. 

Nevertheless, accidental spills can occur, no matter how careful you are. An important thing to bear in mind is that clothes with diesel stains should not be washed together with other garments. If the diesel smell is still present after washing, do not put the garment in a dryer. Remember that the excess heat in the dryer might ignite the diesel, causing the clothes to burst into flames.

Is the smell of diesel harmful?

Diesel fuel is hydrogen-based. Brief exposure to diesel fumes such as when cleaning up a minor spill or adding fuel to your vehicle, can temporarily irritate the skin, eyes or respiratory tract and/or trigger headache, dizziness or nausea. 

Sadly, long-term exposure can lead to serious health issues such as kidney damage, lung cancer and a higher risk of a heart attack.

Final thoughts

When it comes to diesel stains on clothing, they can be unsightly to look at and even exude strong fumes that can be detrimental to health. If you want to get rid of diesel stains on clothes, the methods on how to remove diesel stains from clothes can help you get rid of them effectively.

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