How To Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes (Easy Money-Saving Tips)

by Reader Contributors

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Don’t let strong diesel odors be the reason you replace clothing. Instead try these savvy tips for removing diesel smell from clothing.

Daer Dollar Stretcher,
I am having a tough time removing fuel smells from our laundry. My husband drives a fuel truck. Does anyone know how to remove smells/stains of diesel/gasoline from his work clothes? The smell permeates everything! It’s turning cold where we live and I will not be able to dry them outside much longer and I certainly don’t want to spend money replacing clothing!
Chris J.

How Can You Remove Diesel Smell from Clothing?

We asked our frugal readers if anyone had any tips for removing diesel smell from clothing. Read on for several tips for prolonging the life of smelly clothing.

Use Coke Classic to Eliminate Diesel and Gasonline Odors

When washing these clothes pour a can of Coca-Cola Classic in the machine with your detergent. This will remove the petroleum products completely, which I suspect is the problem. You must use Coke!

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Baking Soda Odor Eliminator

My husband drives a fuel tanker as well; I have found that adding 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda when I add detergent helps remove the odors and stains from his work clothes. If the baking soda doesn’t help try pre-washing in Pine-Sol or Mr. Clean. Either one removes the stains and oily residue from the clothes.
Denise G.

Amonia Will Remove Diesel Fuel Odors

To get odors out of your clothes, add some plain ammonia to the water while washing them. Gets rid of musty smells. Put it in the water with your soap and other things, not on top of the clothes. Use 1/2 cup. I used it in washing old “down” quilts that had been in an attic for a long time. Washed them and set them outside in the air. Were good as new.

Try Vinegar to Remove Diesel Smell

My late husband used to drive a fuel truck, and the diesel fuel was the worst smell to get out. What I put in the laundry to help clean better and get rid of the odors was 1 to 2 cups of white vineagar. It also helped get the grease and oil out of his clothes. The vineagar is good to use just to get better smelling clothes.
Vivian O.

Consider Using a Pre-Wash

Try rubbing mechanic’s hand soap (GOJO Hand Cleaner is a common brand name) on the oily spots, then wash as normal. The best type is the kind that doesn’t need water, contains lanolin and is commonly found in a plastic tub.

I got this trick from a woman who always wore white and worked with me in a machine shop. At the end of the day she would put some hand soap on any (the many) spots and they always came out. I’ve since found out it will remove almost any stain.
Eric W.

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Only Use Good Quality Detergent

My husband is a diesel mechanic, and I have had to wash his uniform for over ten years. I find that washing them in hot water with Tide with Bleach and drying them with a fabric softener sheet works fine. (I learned long ago that using a “bargain brand” detergent in not worth it. I only use Tide with Bleach.)

You may also try adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse water. I just put it in my fabric softener dispenser. if you don’t have this feature on your machine try one of those “Downy Balls.”
Patricia R.

Use Oil to Remove Oil

Try adding a drop or two of eucalyptus oil to the wash after filled with water.
Andy P.

Use Pinesol

I found after years of greasy clothes leaving gunk in my washer that heavy duty (industrial) Pinesol (approx. 3/4 cup in full load) along with the soap does a great job.

Pre-Treat with Dish Detergent

My fiancée drives a semi-truck and always seems to be getting either diesel fuel or axle grease on his clothing. The best thing I’ve found for getting diesel smell out of clothes is to pre-treat the clothing with Dawn dishwashing detergent, and then wash them as usual. I have even added some to the whole load to get rid of the diesel fuel smell.
Sherry W.

Reviewed November 2021

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