Home How To & Tech How to Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes

How to Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes


 photo by ConstantinosZ via iStock

Have you ever gone to fill up your diesel heater and spilled diesel on your clothes? 

 If yes, then you know the pain. You are endlessly trying to find out how to get the diesel smell out of clothes. Sadly, after days and days of washing, the smell is just as bad as when you’ve started. 

 In fact, the clothes smell so bad that wearing those stained t-shirts leads to an instant headache. It is a nightmare! 

 So, it makes sense to ask how to get the diesel smell out of clothes that have been stained. 

 That’s what we are covering today.

Table of Contents

The Value of Diesel Heaters

planar heater

Before we move on to how to get the diesel smell out of clothes, we thought we’d share the value of diesel heaters for camping. 

They might stain your clothes, but they keep you warm. 

The specific product we have in mind is the Planar 2D Portable Diesel Air Heater, a carbon monoxide safe and efficient way of staying warm even during the coldest of night camps. 

The unit is self-contained in a crashproof and rain-resistant case and can run on diesel or kerosene (with 12V power as well). Equipped with a silencer, you will barely hear it at night – especially if you keep it a bit further away from your sleeping space. 

planar heaters diesel heater

During eight hours of work, it will burn just two liters of diesel and can operate at high altitudes of up to 8,200 feet.

It is designed to heat 25 ft boats, campers, vans, camp tents, motor homes, and even ice fishing huts. 

Our team has been using this product for a while now with no complaints. The ease of setup, long running time, and risk-free heat it provides make it a no-brainer for those cold expeditions.  

Planar is also one of the world’s leading diesel heater manufacturers; therefore, you can be certain that all the running gear of the heater will provide zero issues.

Diesel Heater next to an SUV in the snow

The diesel heater may come at a price. However, it eliminates all the big issues of the cheaper products such as condensation, and most importantly, carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The only downside with this is that if you happen to spill diesel on your clothes while filling up the heater, you will have a very hard time getting the smell off. 

So, this is where our list of tips regarding how to get the diesel smell out of clothes becomes useful.

Why Can’t the Washer Get Rid of the Diesel Smell?

Diesel mechanic

 photo by welcomia via iStock

Before we move on to how to get the diesel smell out of clothes, let’s see why the washing machine won’t get rid of the diesel smell. You see, most commercial laundry detergents can’t break down oil-based stains; therefore, the smell remains.

What you need to do the job correctly is a commercial degreasing agent, a solvent based-stain remover, or a natural deodorizer.

How to Get the Diesel Smell Out of Clothes

Soaking Laundry

 photo by Kattiyaearn via iStock

So, it’s time to go over how to get the diesel smell out of clothes. Something easier than your endless washing machine attempts make it seem.

Firstly, don’t try using chlorine bleach as it may remove the smell but may also remove the color from your clothes. 

What we need here is something strong enough to remove the stain but not so strong it damages the fabric.

If you want to maximize your chances of removing the stain, you can start by soaking your clothes overnight in a solution of warm water and a spoonful of heavy-duty, anti-grease laundry detergent. 

This will loosen up the stain and make it easier for the following method to remove the remaining parts. 

While the clothes are still relatively wet (not dripping), lay them onto a table with the stain facing you. Grab some baking soda, put it onto the stain, and with a softish scrubber, work the baking soda into the stain. Shake the baking soda out and keep repeating the processes until the baking soda has stopped balling up. 

Next, grab the anti-grease laundry detergent again and mix half detergent and half water into a spray bottle. Then, spray the solution onto the stain and let it sit overnight. This will draw the stain out of the cloth. 

Closeup of washing machine full of dirty clothes. Laundry washing process.

 photo by Natalya Vilman via iStock

When you wake up in the morning, wash the clothes in the hottest setting possible. Avoid washing the stained clothes with other clean ones, as while the diesel stain is removed, the contaminated water may transfer the smell to the clean clothes. 

If the smell persists, let the clothes soak again in half a cup of vinegar mixed into half a gallon of water. Then, repeat the hot wash. 

Keep in mind that you can skip the first step of soaking the clothes in a solution of laundry de-greaser and water overnight. However, if you do, it will certainly help. 

Be Careful When Working With Diesel

Two boys working on a diesel engine

 photo by Robin Skjoldborg via iStock

We hope our tips on how to get the diesel smell out of clothes have helped you get rid of nasty diesel stains. 

 So, whether you are tinkering with the 4WD in the garage or have spilled diesel on your clothes while filling up your diesel heater, you should now be able to salvage the clothes instead of throwing them in the bin. 

 If you have any further questions on how to get the diesel smell out of clothes or any other overlanding and off-roading-related questions, you can post them in the forum section of our page.

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