How to Get Engine Oil Stains Out of Clothes: Easy Fix Methods

You love your car, but you don’t love the engine oil stains it leaves on your clothes.

Whether you’re a mechanic, a hobbyist, or just unlucky, you know how frustrating it is to deal with those stubborn, greasy marks.

You’ve tried washing them with regular detergent, but they still won’t come out.

You’ve even considered throwing away your clothes, but that would be a waste of money and resources.

Don’t despair, there is a solution! In this article, we will show you how to get engine oil stains out of clothes using simple, effective, and eco-friendly methods.

By the end of this post, you will be able to enjoy your car and your clothes without worrying about engine oil stains.

Let’s get started!

An image of engine oil stains on clothes
Clothing stained with engine oil.
Photo Credits: inthewash

How to Get Engine Oil Stains Out of Clothes

You can find different laundry stain removers designed to tackle grease at Walmart and Amazon, which might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Alternatively, you can also try the cost-effective and environmentally friendly techniques suggested by experts below.

Use Dish Soap

Nick Valentino, a professional mover from Bellhop Movers, says that soap is the worst thing for oil.

Dish soap is the best way to clean oil stains – and chocolate stains too – because it makes water and oil mix together.

This is called emulsion. We know from chemistry that water and oil don’t mix.

However, dish soap can stick to both water and oil molecules, so it makes them blend.

For this reason, dish soap can break down the oil and make it move.

If oil stains to your clothes, you should act fast before it dries out.

Take off the clothes and dab the oil with clean, dry cloths or paper towels.

Subsequently, wet the spot and squeeze a lot of dish soap on it.

Finally, scrub it hard with a sponge or toothbrush.

For very dark stains, like from motor oil, you can add some baking soda, at Walmart to help.

Scrub as much as you can, then rinse the clothes and look at the stain.

Do it again if you need to before washing the clothes on the hottest setting for the fabric to remove the rest of the engine oil.

Opt for Powerful Natural Cleaners

Engine oil stains can be extremely challenging to remove, often more so than red wine stains or spilled wax.

However, natural cleaning methods, like using vinegar and baking soda, can surprisingly be very effective.

To treat an engine oil stain,

  • Mix equal parts baking soda and white vinegar to create a paste.
  • Apply this paste to the stain using a clean cloth, allowing it to sit for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Afterward, gently scrub the area with an affordable soft-bristled brush, available at Walmart.
  • Rinse the garment thoroughly and launder it as usual.
  • After washing, inspect the stain.

If necessary, repeat the laundering process before drying the garment.

Its important to note that allowing the garment to dry before the stain is completely removed can set the stain and make it more challenging to eliminate.

For Engine Oil Stains That are Dried

Dried motor oil stains are more challenging, yet entirely feasible.

First, remove any excess dried oil using a spoon or a dull butter knife, then heed then:

  • Create a paste by mixing lemon juice and salt.
  • Next, spread the paste over the stain and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Gently scrub the stain with a soft-bristled brush, then rinse with water and launder as usual.

Alternatively, you can blend salt and lemon juice then apply the paste to the stain, leave it for up to an hour, then gently scrub the stain before rinsing and washing normally.

How to Prevent Engine Oil Stains from Damaging Clothes

The most effective way to handle engine oil stains is to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Here are some tips to help you steer clear of getting engine oil on your clothing:

  1. Wear protective attire: When working on your vehicle or engaging in tasks that might result in engine oil getting on your clothes, opt for protective clothing like overalls or an apron. This not only shields your garments but also simplifies the cleanup process for any spills or splatters.
  2. Utilize a catch pan: When undertaking car maintenance, use a catch pan to capture any oil spills or drips. This containment method helps to prevent oil from reaching your clothes or the ground.
  3. Keep a cleaning kit handy: Maintain a readily accessible cleaning kit containing household remedies, commercial cleaners, and other necessary supplies for tackling engine oil stains. Having these resources on hand enables you to swiftly and efficiently address spills or splashes before they become ingrained in the fabric.

By adhering to these suggestions and proactively taking measures to avert engine oil stains, you can preserve the cleanliness and stain-free appearance of your clothing.


Engine oil stains can be frustrating and tough to eliminate from clothes.

However, they don’t have to be a lasting problem if you happen to get them on your clothing. With the right methods and materials, you can effectively remove them.

Whether you opt for home remedies, commercial cleaners, or a combination of both, there are numerous options to help you tackle engine oil stains effectively.

By being proactive in preventing engine oil stains, you can maintain the cleanliness and spotlessness of your clothes.

So, when you encounter an engine oil stain next time, take a moment, gather your cleaning supplies, and tackle it head-on!

With some patience and determination, you’ll soon have your clothes looking pristine again.

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