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7 Ways to Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes (Step By Step Guide)

Have you ever gotten diesel spilled on your clothes by accident? Did you notice that regular washing couldn’t remove its stain and strong odor?

This is because diesel has a high percentage of sulfur and nitrogen, which give it a pungent smell and cause it to evaporate more slowly than gasoline, allowing it to penetrate deeper into your clothing.

7 Ways to Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes

Due to its susceptibility to fire hazards, it is important to understand how to get the diesel smell out of your clothes safely.

Why is it Difficult to Wash Diesel Stains on Clothes?

Ordinarily, regular washing detergents find it difficult to remove diesel stains and smell from clothes. This is because diesel stains are oil-based.

A degreaser or strong solvent-based stain removers, such as baking soda, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, Listerine mouthwash, ammonia, Coca-Cola, and Fast Orange, will be required.

Before you begin implementing the steps outlined below to remove the diesel smell from your clothes, you should consider the following precautionary measures to achieve the best result.

  • Do not use more than one method at a time; mixing chemicals can cause reactions. When you’re finished with one method and want to try another, wash off the chemicals applied to the cloth and let it dry before moving on.
  • Diesel is flammable; do not use dryers to dry clothes containing diesel; instead, hang them in the direction of the sun to dry.
  • Dab as much diesel stain as possible with a paper towel; this way, you will have less to wash out of your cloth later.
  • If the diesel stain has dried, pre-washing the cloth with a water and detergent solution is always a good idea.
  • It is recommended that the garments soak for at least an hour in water with anti-grease laundry detergent.
  • Note that the use of chlorine bleach is strongly discouraged due to its reaction with diesel particles, which can cause permanent discoloration of the fabric.

7 Practical Ways to Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes

There are numerous effective methods for removing the diesel smell from clothing without causing damage or bleaching. The following are seven different approaches:

1. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is a distilled oil obtained from the leaf of Eucalyptus, a genus of the Australian Myrtaceae plant family that is now cultivated worldwide.

Eucalyptus Oil

One of the many applications of Eucalyptus oil is fragrance, which is because of its natural degreasing content making it suitable to be used as a surface cleaning agent and fabric freshener.

Eucalyptus Oil has a pleasant smell, and it is this smell that is used to remove the diesel odor from your clothes. This method is very straightforward.

  • Put the diesel-stained clothes in the washing machine.
  • Apply warm water and start a normal wash cycle.
  • Add several drops of eucalyptus oil to the warm water.
  • Allow the cycle to run through a normal wash cycle.
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2. Borax

Borax is a natural mineral known as sodium tetraborate that is used in laundry. Borax has many capabilities ranging from disinfecting to whitening, killing insects, and even fighting mold and mildew. One of the most common applications for borax is naturally deodorizing and refreshing clothing.


The borax solution has high alkalinity, which aids in the breakdown and neutralization of odors from clothing.

Adding borax to your laundry detergent wash cycle will remove stubborn grease stains, brighten fabrics, and remove odor buildup on the clothing material, such as the diesel smell.

  • Add warm water to the washing machine.
  • Add the smelly clothes into the washing machine.
  • Add your detergent as usual and a half cup of borax.
  • Then, allow the wash cycle to finish by switching to a regular cycle.
  • Repeat the process if there are still traces or odors of diesel fuel.

Aside from neutralizing diesel odor, there are other advantages to using borax in the laundry. For example, borax softens hard water, allowing detergents to penetrate the fabrics more effectively. Borax reacts with water molecules to produce hydrogen peroxide, a whitening agent.

Furthermore, borax removes soap residue buildup, which helps to preserve the material and prevents odors. Borax can kill bacteria, mold, fungi, and many other organisms to keep the cloth disinfected.

3. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar both have natural deodorizing and stain removal properties, making them ideal for removing the diesel smell from your clothes.

They are commonly used in homemade cleaning remedies because they provide a cheap and convenient option for removing stains and, in this case, the smell of diesel from your clothes.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

  • Apply the baking soda to the affected area and let it sit for at least 3 minutes before spraying the vinegar.
  • After spraying the vinegar, dab it for a few seconds to remove as much stain as possible, leaving you with a smaller stain to deal with. The vinegar will most likely evaporate during this process; this is normal.
  • Add laundry detergent and run the clothes through a full wash cycle.
  • Take the wet clothes outside to air dry.
  • When the stain or diesel smell has dried, you can determine whether the process should be repeated.

This process works best when the stain is not too strong; however, you can repeat the process as many times as you want because these natural products will not harm your machine or ruin your clothes.

The YouTube video link below shows the use of baking soda and vinegar to remove odor from a carpet, which is similar to the methods employed to remove the diesel smell from fabric.

4. OdorKlenz Laundry Additive

OdorKlenz Laundry Additive

The OdorKlenz Laundry Additive eliminates odors from all machine-washable fabrics. It is composed of earth minerals that will neutralize odors like diesel smell and other repugnant smells from your fabric without the use of masking agents.

OdorKlenz Laundry Additive is made of natural earth minerals and is safe on all washable, hand- and machine-washed fabrics. The steps below outline how to employ OrdorKlenz to eliminate the diesel smell from your clothes.

  • Fill the washing machine with warm water.
  • Put your diesel-stained cloth into the washing machine.
  • Add a little bit of the OdorKlenz Laundry Additive to the warm water.
  • Allow the garments to soak in this mixture for 20-30 minutes.
  • Allow it to go through your regular washing cycle.
  • Rinse off your clothes and let them dry.
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OdorKlenz Laundry Additive has been proven to be safe for use on all other washable fabrics, including cotton, personal delicate, nylon, polyester, spandex, washable lace, washable rayon, washable wool, and others. The product is non-bleaching and chemical-free and is available in liquid form. It should not be used in conjunction with bleach or vinegar, as this will reduce overall effectiveness.

5. Listerine Mouthwash

Listerine Mouthwash

Listerine is a brand of antiseptic mouthwash that is used for hygiene and as a home remedy to remove the diesel odor from your clothes. It is made of ethanol and various essential oils, including eucalyptus oil.

According to reports, firefighters recommend Listerine because they frequently use it to remove the odor of smoke from their clothes.

  • Apply Listerine directly to the affected area, or add a generous amount of mouthwash to the water via the bleach compartment or directly into the water.
  • Allow at least 15 to 20 minutes for the mouthwash to soak.
  • Water should be used to rinse the clothing.
  • Allow the wash cycle to finish as usual.
  • Repeat the process if there is still a lingering smell of diesel fuel.

This will help remove diesel odors from your clothes and help clean your washing machine. Remember that it is safer to air dry your clothes than to use a tumble dryer; there could be an explosion or fire hazard if there are traces of diesel in the garment that is placed in the tumble dryer.

6. Ammonia


One of the most effective ways to eliminate a diesel odor on your clothes is to apply plain ammonia. Ammonia, an alkaline compound, neutralizes acids in diesel fuel residue on your clothes and has strong cleaning properties.

It is well established that at room temperature, ammonia is a colorless gas with a pungent smell; however, it can be dissolved in water.

A cup of ammonia added to your wash cycle will whiten and brighten your white clothes without harming the fibers. Furthermore, unlike chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach, ammonia will not change the color of your clothes.

  • Fill the washing machine with warm water, add the detergent as usual, and then add the affected clothes.
  • As the washer fills up, pour half a cup of ammonia.
  • Stir until all the ammonia has dissolved in the water, then soak the clothes for a few minutes.
  • Allow the wash cycle to finish by switching to a regular cycle.
  • If there are traces or smells of diesel fuel, repeat the process.

Ammonia poses a significant risk when mixed with other chemicals; therefore, you should exercise extreme caution and, as a precautionary measure, air dry your clothes rather than using a dryer.

For instance, combining ammonia and bleach produces toxic fumes, so avoid using bleach during the soaking and washing process.

7. Fast Orange

Fast Orange Hand Cleaner

Fast Orange is a soap that is primarily used to remove grease from your hands. It contains glycerin, aloe, lanolin, and other anti-stain and anti-odor ingredients. Fast Orange is your best bet for removing the diesel smell from clothing.

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Fast Orange Hand Cleaner is a common household item that is widely available in department stores.

It can remove resins, oil, grease, tar, grime, soil, printer ink, epoxies, paint, rubber cement, gasket cement, and tile cement. It is also effective on laundry stains, scuff marks, tile floors, pet odors, and several other household cleaning tasks.

  • Check the fabric for any obvious diesel stains and immediately put Fast Orange on them.
  • If you don’t see any stains and just want to get rid of the diesel smell, add about a tablespoon of Fast Orange to the water in your washing machine.
  • Continue with your regular wash cycle.
  • Examine the clothes for any lingering diesel odor.
  • If necessary, repeat the process, but this time add a half cup of baking soda to the wash.

Fast Orange is intended to clean grease from your hands, but it has also been shown to be effective for clothing.

The product contains no substances that are considered hazardous to health at their given concentrations; however, care should be taken to avoid contact with the eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Get the Diesel Smell off My Hands?

Most of the methods listed above can be used to remove the smell of diesel from your hands. However, we recommend using one of the lighter-weight options, such as using Fast Orange.

Can you Get the Smell of Diesel from your Clothes Without Washing them?

Yes, you can. Rubbing alcohol and baking soda is an effective combination for removing the unpleasant diesel odor from your clothes. These two products complement each other well because alcohol evaporates quickly, and baking soda is an effective odor absorber.

Is it Safe to Wash Clothes with Diesel Stains in a Washing Machine?

Yes, using a degreaser or a heavy-duty solvent-based stain remover to treat the stains and using enough detergent will not damage the machine.

Final Words

Working with diesel can make it difficult to keep your clothes clean and smelling fresh. Fortunately, you can keep many common household ingredients on hand to avoid throwing out your favorite clothes. If you follow our simple tips, you will never have to worry about diesel stains and odors ruining your clothes again.

The best of them is to avoid fuel spills in the first place; however, you can get the diesel smell out of clothes by using natural deodorizers such as baking soda, vinegar, Coca-Cola, Fast Orange, and so on.

You can even use a hand cleaner to remove the grease and eliminate the smell and stain left by diesel fuel.

Have you ever successfully removed that obnoxious diesel odor from your clothing? What method did you employ? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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