How To – Removing Oil Stains and Gasoline Smells from Work Clothes

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    The cost of working in your garage shouldn’t include the price of a new pair of pants and a shirt.. Everyone who has got too deep into a project probably found that oily greasy mess that you wish never happened. We aren’t talking about normal stains this is when you endup pulling a transmission and getting soaked head to toe in fluid or end up with the content of a wheel bearing all over your pants.

    Hey stuff happens but you got to get the work done… but sacrificing your clothes shouldn’t be part of the trade

    You don’t want to be tracking that stuff inside so your best bet is to get a 5 gallon bucket and put your clothes in it.

    Treating your clothes as soon after you are done working is best. If you let them sit overnight or until wash day the stains and odors will get locked into the material and you may not be happy with the results of runing them through your normal was cycle.

    Also you never want to wash heavily soiled clothes with the rest of your clothes and you should always wash them after you have washed the rest of your clothes so no residue will get on your clean stuff.

    Petroleum based stains need a soap that will cut the oil. Most regular liquid clothes detergents will work but you will need to soak your clothes for a couple hours in a much stronger solution. Place at least 4 caps of detergent in the bucket and fill with warm water if you have a sink in your garage. Come back every once in a while and give your clothes a stir.

    Clothes detergent will also work on your shoes. In a worst case scenario boots and sneakers can be cleaned with a brush and some gasoline or carb cleaner. If your boots are leather it will mean that you need to refinish them with leather protectant after you are done. If you do use gasoline to clean your shoes follow up with clothes detergent. You shouldn’t need to use bleach.

    Now that your clothes have been soaking a couple hours you can check on them.

    Take them out and hose them down on your driveway then you can wash them in your washing machine.

    Its important that you get most of the grease and oils out before just dumping them in your washing machine because the grease will remain in your washer.

    Getting the smells out will happen when your clothes are clean. If you find you still smell gasoline then some people suggest that you add a box of baking soda or vinegar but honestly thats pretty useless… just give your clothes another wash and everything should come out clean.

    Another tip is that if you do have some goop hand cleaner around you can pretreat the area simply wipe your hands on your pants where they are stained while you are cleaning your hands and that should get things working to remove the stains… the faster you treat the stain the better the result.

    After going through this you may want to invest in some coveralls or dedicate some old clothes for whenever you are working in really dirty conditions. Even hitting the Goodwill is not a bad idea.


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