The Most Successful Ways on How to Get Diesel Fuel Out of Clothes

Are you a mechanic and have been working for hours changing a diesel fuel filter that messed up your work clothes? Or is just be another typical evening you are at the gas station filling up your gas tank; as you are removing the pipe, you hear a commotion, and out of curiosity, you turn around only to spill diesel on your clothes. What do you do when you get home? Take off the clothes and put them in the washing machine. Unfortunately, getting rid of diesel fuel is not as simple as washing off other stains, and that’s why you need to know how to get diesel fuel out of clothes in the most successful way.

How do you achieve this? There are two ways you can deal with this little situation. First of all, you can take the clothes to the dry cleaners or save some money and do it yourself. If you decide to deal with the situation by yourself, then you are in luck, as we are about to share with you the simple steps you need to follow to get diesel fuel out of your clothes.

How to Get Diesel Fuel Out of Clothes Step-by-Step Guide

1. Put Together the Right Tools and Materials

Unlike most spills that require soap and water, diesel is more complicated and requires several tools and materials to remove the stain. These are:

  • Solvent-based stain remover/ heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent
  • Hot Water
  • Washing machine
  • Paper towel
  • Soft-bristle brushes such as a toothbrush
  • Dryer or clothesline
  • Baking soda

2. Pretreat the Stain

After gathering all the tools and materials together, you should pretreat the stain with a solvent-based stain remover or heavy-duty liquid laundry detergents such as Persil or Tide. Use the soft bristle brush to rub into the stain and let the solvent settle for 15- 30 minutes depending on the size of the stain.

3. Check the Clothes Label

When the minutes are done, check the label of the clothes to ensure you can wash them with hot water or not. Don’t forget to read other instructions on the label that might be helpful to you.

4. Wash the Clothes

Wash the cloth/clothes in hot water for some minutes but make sure you don’t use chlorine bleach. Moreover, you should not mix clothes with other unstained clothing.  Note that, depending on the fabric, the stain can be gone after one wash while for others it might still be visible. If the stain is still there, just repeat the above steps until the stain disappears completely.

5. Soak the Clothes Overnight

Although this is an optional step, I think it’s important since it’s very hard to get rid of lingering fuel odor with one wash. Therefore, pour enough water in a basin along with one cup of baking powder and soak the clothes overnight. In the morning, wash them off.

6. Dry the Clothes

After you have washed the clothes and the odor seems to be completely gone, then dry them off in a regular drying machine or hang them outside on the clothesline. However, if there is any odor left, don’t use the machine as it might cause a fire due to the fumes left from the diesel fuel. Just air dry the clothes and let nature deal with the remaining odor.

 Note that, if the odor doesn’t disappear by using baking soda and air drying the clothes, then there are other ways to deal with the smell. These other methods include: 

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Just combine baking soda with vinegar and wash the clothes for some minutes. After you are done, leave the clothes to air dry.

Baking Soda and Coke

Using baking soda and coke to eliminate the smell of diesel might take more time than just using baking soda and vinegar. That means you need to have a degreaser and a tub filled with warm water. The steps are simple, dip the clothes in the warm water with the degreaser and leave it for a couple of hours. Afterward, drain the tub and rinse the clothes.

Fill the tub with clean water and then add a 2-liter bottle of coke as well as baking soda. Mix all the stuff up, put the clothes in the tub and leave them for 24 hours. After the hours are done, rinse them off and let the clothes air dry.

Fast Orange

Known to be a great Mechanic hand cleaner as it’s used to clean grease off mechanics hands, Fast Orange also works marvelously when it comes to getting rid of diesel fuel odors. All you have to do is put the hand cleaner into the washing machine, then put the diesel-smelling clothes and turn it on.


Another way to deal with the smell of diesel is Listerine, surprising, right? Although it’s great at cleaning teeth, mouthwash is ideal when dealing with clothes. You only need to pour some into the washing machine and clean the clothes like you normally would.

Well as you can see, those are the simple steps on how to get diesel fuel out of clothes. However, apart from clothes, diesel fuel can also get into your shoes. Therefore, let’s check out how we can solve that problem too.

How to Get Diesel out of Shoes

Before you start with the simple steps, there is some stuff you will need near you. They include:

  1. Salt
  2. Baking soda
  3. Container
  4. Water
  5. Tablespoon
  6. Microfiber cloth
  7. Saddle soap
  • Mix half a cup of water, a tablespoon of salt, and two or three tablespoons of baking soda in a container.
  • Dip the soft toothbrush into the bowl and gently rub it onto the diesel spilled area of the shoes. Afterward, wipe off the mixture with a dry microfiber cloth.
  • Next, rinse off the toothbrush and then rub it on a saddle soap. Gently scrub the shoes with the toothbrush repeatedly until you are satisfied the diesel fuel is fully removed.
  • Finally, remove the remaining soap with a clean microfiber cloth and give the shoes some hours to dry off.
 One last thing, although it’s not advisable to use a washing machine to wash clothes smelling of diesel fuel, you may find your washing machine having some diesel odor from a previous washing experience. Nonetheless, there is a way you could prevent the odor from transferring to other clothes the next time you do your laundry. So, here is how to get the diesel smell out of the washer. 
  • First of all, fill a bowl with two cups of distilled white vinegar
  • Add half a cup of baking soda to the vinegar and mix properly
  • Switch on the washing machine and set it to the hottest temperature and allow the drum to begin to fill it with water.
  • Pour the mixture of vinegar and baking soda to the washing machine and shut the lid.
  • Allow the washer to run through a complete cycle for several minutes, then rinse and spin.
  • After the cycle is complete, open the washer and smell inside, if the smell of diesel is still there, repeat the process from the start until the diesel smell is gone completely.
 Note that Listerine and Fast Orange can also be used to wash the smell of diesel left in the washer after you washed the clothes that you wore when you were dealing with your engine works

how to get diesel smell out of washer

Related FAQs

Is the Smell of Diesel Harmful?

Although diesel is considered not to be toxic, to some extent it is harmful. That’s because it can bring short-term as well as long-term health complications.  When we look at the short-term health complications if you get exposed to the smell of diesel for a week or two, you may find yourself experiencing various complications. These usually include headache, dizziness, nausea, or even irritation of the eyes and nose.

However, if you are exposed to the smell of diesel for a long time due to the nature of your job, the long-term exposure can lead to several diseases. These are respiratory diseases such as lung damage or heart attack, kidney damage as well as an increase in blood pressure. Keep this in mind; the smell of diesel is not harmful to you if you are fueling the car with diesel twice or three times a month.

How Do You Neutralize the Smell of Diesel Fuel?

It is very simple to neutralize the smell of diesel fuel. First of all, you need to use a paper towel, rag, or any unused towel to soak up the diesel fuel. Next, combine hot water, baking soda, ammonia, and vinegar in a clean container. Shake the container thoroughly, pour a small amount on the surface where the diesel was spilled, and then wipe with a clean cloth.

Can You Spray Vinegar on Clothes?

Yes, you can spray vinegar on clothes.  All is you need is to mix vinegar with some water. Then, make sure the clothes are inside out before you spray the mixture onto them. So, what about the clothes smelling of vinegar? That’s the best part, no matter how much you spray the clothes with vinegar, they won’t be any lingering smell of it on the clothes. The reason being, the scent will disappear as the clothes dry off.

Housekeeping Tips: How to Wash Out Diesel From Clothes YouTube


Owning a diesel fuel car may bring its fair share of spills once in a while when you are fueling your car. However, even if you just have a rare accident or you own an auto garage, it is still possible to get rid of any diesel fuel off your clothes, hands, and shoes in minutes.

All you need is the right method to deal with the stain and odor the diesel fuel may bring. The good news is that we have provided you with not only the steps to take but also the exact tools and items you need to get the job done. Therefore, what are you waiting for? Why don’t you dive right into it and take care of that diesel fuel on your clothes once and for all?


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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