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Running into car trouble is a pain – especially if you're not dressed for it. Find out how to remove engine oil from clothes – and other car stains – here.

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A mechanic filling a car with oil.

How to get engine oil out of clothes

No one plans on working on their car in their best clothes – but if you run into trouble on the road, there’s just not much you can do! If you find yourself caught out this way, don’t worry. You can find solutions to all the usual car stains below, from how to get engine oil out of clothes to advice on tackling antifreeze and rust marks, too. You’ll be driving off into the sunset in no time.


How to remove engine oil from clothes

Getting engine oil of clothes isn’t the easiest job, but it’s not impossible either. So relax a little – that’s the first step. Once you’re ready to begin, try the method below, adapting it a little if your stain is on a delicate fabric. 

Here’s how to get engine grease out of clothes:

  1. Remove any excess oil by blotting the stain with a paper towel. We recommend taking this step right away, so that the stain has less time to sink deeper into the fabric.
  2. Treat with OMO Ultimate Liquid. Non-delicates can be pre-treated with a small amount of OMO Ultimate Liquid, or washing up liquid if you don’t have OMO to hand. Both are great at tackling grease and oil. Mix your chosen product with cool water and gently work it into the stain using a clean toothbrush. Let it sit for a couple of minutes.

    If you’re dealing with a delicate fabric, like silk, it’s best not to use any water-based stain removers. Instead, generously cover the stain with cornflour or talcum powder: these powders are both highly absorbent and will help draw out the stain. Let the powder sit for a couple of hours, or overnight, before gently brushing it off. 
  3. Wash the item as normal. Heat is likely to set the stains further, so make sure the stain has disappeared entirely before popping it in the wash or tumble dryer. Remember to follow the washing instructions on the garment’s care label, too!

That’s all there is to know about getting engine oil out of clothes! Now let’s take a look at those other car stains, as they can be tricky too …


How to remove antifreeze, tyre track, and rust stains

When you’re scrambling to sort out a problem with your car, there are lots of opportunities for other stains to get on you. Now that you know how to remove engine oil from clothes, here’s how to tackle some other common car-related mishaps:

  1. Antifreeze stains
    Antifreeze stains are hard to miss, since they’re usually a bright shade of blue, green, or red! That colour comes from a dye added to the product, so you’ll need to act fast. Soak your clothing in hot water before pre-treating it with undiluted OMO Ultimate. Finish by washing the garment on the hottest setting recommended on the care label. If the stain hasn’t disappeared after you’ve completed these steps, repeat the process as needed. 

  2. Tyre track stains
    Tyre track stains might look a bit daunting, but they should respond well to pre-treatment with OMO Ultimate. Just identify whether the stain is made of oil or mud before you begin. If you’re working with an oily tyre track stain, follow the guide to getting engine oil out of clothes above. If it’s just mud, simply leave the stain to dry before gently brushing it off – it should lift off easily. Then wash as usual.

  3. Rust stains
    Rust stains are notoriously tricky to remove, but the odds are better if you start treating them right away. Lay the garment out on an old sheet or towel and then generously cover the stained area with neat lemon juice or white vinegar. Wash as usual, then let the item dry naturally. Check whether the stain has disappeared – if not, perform the steps above again.


Now that you’re a car stain pro, you can forget your clothes and concentrate fully on your routine car maintenance or roadside tinkering. Then you’ll be on the road again in no time at all.