How To Get Automotive Fluids Out Of Clothes

How To Get Automotive Fluids Out Of Clothes (Like A Pro!)

Being a DIY mechanic, you are sure to get some oil on your work jeans. It’s tough to clean and has a weird smell, but there are ways around this.

My tips go from baking soda to hot water and other household chemicals that are quite effective in getting most automotive fluids out of clothes.

Even with the fluid hiding behind the cotton, you can lure them out and clean them until none remain!

Automotive Fluids On Clothes

Accidents do happen, and a fault in the car can result in some kind of fluid spraying all over you. Even changing fluid can result in a blob on your clothes. These fluids, which include transmission fluid, gear oil, brake fluid, and power steering fluid, all have a thick consistency with the ability to stain.

I recommend dealing with the stain as soon as it happens. I’m not saying immediately take your clothes off there and then, but to deal with it on the same day, rather than leaving it to set in your clothes.

Pouring Automotive Fluid In Car Machine

Before dealing with the stain, you should scoop the excess fluid off your clothes with a spoon or unsharpened knife.

Read on for my tips on how to get most automotive fluids out of your clothes!

How To Get Power Steering Fluid Out of Clothes

Method 1: Aloe Vera

Rub 1 tablespoon of aloe vera with an old toothbrush on the power steering stain. Don’t scrub too hard as you can damage the fabric of your clothes. The amino acids in aloe vera react with the fluid, making it easier to remove.

Let the aloe vera soak for an hour, then wash with warm or hot water. Air dry and check for traces of the stain. If you still see the stain, repeat this process or proceed to the next method.

Method 2: Dry Powder  

Dry powder such as cornstarch, baby powder, or baking soda can effectively absorb the fluid and the stain. Pour some on the stain directly and leave it for a few hours. Brush the powder off and put it in the machine as normal.

I would rub some laundry detergent on the stain before putting it for washing. If you use baking soda, you have a good chance that you won’t get a horrid fluid smell!

How To Get Gear Oil Out Of Clothes

Person Changing Gear Oil

Method 1: Blotting

When cleaning gear oil, we have to be careful not to spread it to other areas. Blotting is one of the ways we can get the excess oil. Use a dry cloth to pat gently and blot the oil out. After you soaked most of it, lay a clean cloth over the stain to absorb the rest of the liquid.

You can wash the clothes as usual.

Method 2: Presoaking

Presoaking is to soak clothes in hot water in your favorite laundry detergent that loosens dirt and removes stains before washing in the machine. It also allows the detergent to work better to target stains.

You can use a toothbrush to rub some detergent in the stain first. Let it set in for 2 hours before washing as normal.

⚠️ Take caution when dealing with black clothes!

How To Get Transmission Oil Out Of Clothes

Method 1: WD 40

WD 40 can remove adhesives and some stains from carpets and upholstery. When used properly, it can also remove transmission oil from your clothes.

Use a cotton bud to apply WD 40 to the stain, so you don’t put it all at the same time. If you are putting it on sturdier fabrics such as jeans, pour one teaspoon on the stain and let it soak in. After some hours, rub in some detergent with your finger.

Wash as usual!

Transmission Oil Leak

Method 2: Shampoo

Shampoo is the last thing you’d think of, but it actually contains a surfactant, which makes it easier for your detergent to find the stain. Many fluids are organic, so shampoo is a good option for removing the stain.

Use some shampoo, rub it into the stain, and wait a few minutes before rinsing it out. You might have to repeat the process to have 100% success.

If the stain is oily or greasy, shampoo won’t work that well, so you can use other methods on this list.

Although I set them in categories, all these methods can work for more or less ANY automotive fluid! You would have to try a couple before finding one that really works.

How To Get The Smell Out Of Clothes?

Sometimes the automotive fluid can leave a smell on your clothes. And it’s not going to smell like perfume!

Even after washing, that smell can still stick to your clothes, driving you mad. Follow the steps below to prevent and take out that smell for good.

  1. Wash your clothes in hot water. Or, wash it at the highest temperature that your fabric allows. Repeat as needed before drying if the smell is still there.
  2. Soak your clothes in cool water with a cup of baking soda overnight for the best results. Baking soda is like magic and will absorb that odor right out.
  3. If you like, you can add ammonia. This is a more chemical approach, but it will remove any heavy odor. Fill a bucket with warm water and one cup of ammonia. Soak for 2 to 3 hours. Wash as usual.
  4. If you don’t want to use ammonia, you can use vinegar instead.

You can add a laundry sheet or pod to make your clothes extra clean and fresh when washing your clothes. You can also use an Oxi Booster! Coming from a person who used it, it really works.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does power steering fluid get dirty?

Power steering fluid doesn’t burn like oil, but it still gets dirty. Sludge and particles can build up in the fluid and become black. It can also break down over time and will not be a problem. However, it is a situation that should be sorted out.

If you leave it, it can clog the hoses and damage the bearings of your car.

How do you get power steering fluid out of polyester?

Scrape the excess fluid and blot with a clean cloth. Flush with water and pre-treat the stain with detergent. Wash the garment at the highest temperature (if your care label says you can!).

Let it air dry on a breezy day!