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How to Get Motor Oil Stains Out of Clothes

Getting oil stains out of clothing may seem like a daunting task, but there’s hope. Here’s how to remove those set in motor oil, engine oil, bike oil and other machine oil stains from your clothes.

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Ugly oil stains on clothes are some of the most difficult messes to clean up. Here are a few steps you can take to get rid of those stubborn motor oil stains from your favorite clothing.

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Steps to remove motor oil from clothes

  1. 1

    Pre-treat the clothing

    Rub a liquid laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, or degreaser into the oil stain. Let it sit for 3–5 minutes.

  2. 2


    Completely rinse all the dish detergent from clothing with warm water. This is important to keep the dish detergent out of the clothes washer.

    faucet with water
  3. 3

    Machine wash with hot water

    Wash separately with detergent in the hottest recommended water, adding a little Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach to whites, or Clorox 2® for Colors for clothing with Spandex.

    hot setting on washing machine
  4. 4

    Keep washing

    Extend the wash cycle. With a top-loading washer, wait 6–8 minutes into the cycle, stop it, and spin the dial back for another 10–12 minutes.

    front load washing machine
  5. 5

    Check for stains

    At the finish line? Check for success at the end of the wash cycle before putting items into the dryer.


    If the oil stain remains, repeat these steps, or take the garment to a commercial dry cleaner.

    white t-shirt