How to Wash Diesel Out of Clothes

Walking around smelling like a gas station won't get you friends or even people who want to stand next to you. You probably don't even want to stand next to you. Both diesel fuel and gasoline have lingering, penetrating, but different smells. Once either of them has permeated your clothing, it's difficult, but not impossible, to remove. A specific process rids your clothes of the liquid itself, after which you attack the stain that remains. Finally, get rid of that noxious odor that seems to linger.

Smelly Differences

Both diesel and gasoline are crude oil products of petroleum, but each is the result of a different distillation process. While gasoline is lighter, not dense and more flammable, diesel is heavier, denser, less likely to burn with a spark, and less volatile. Diesel fuel is also more oily, more crude, hence, smellier and more difficult to remove from clothing.

Step 1

Hang the stinky garment outside. No sense putting it into a hamper only to infect other clothing -- and it's no point letting it smell up your house. Let it soak up the sun, which helps rid the clothing of the odor. If the garments are soaked with either diesel or gasoline, hose off the garment first; wring it out, wearing rubber gloves; and then leave it outside for at least 24 hours. When no more smell remains, bring the piece inside.

Step 2

Put the piece of clothing in your washing machine and set it for the largest load -- more water -- and the hottest water the piece can tolerate. Add 1/4 cup ammonia and a little extra laundry detergent.

Step 3

Hang the item outside to dry. If the smell returns, or the stain is still lingering, the diesel hasn't been completely removed. Repeat the steps.

Alternative Diesel and Gasoline Removers

Baking soda is an absorbent. It works on mold, and it works on petroleum odors and stains as well. Blot the stain to remove any evident liquid and then sprinkle the baking soda on the stain. Let it absorb for about 30 minutes before shaking or brushing it off. Doing this outside eliminates the odor from your home. Treat the stain with pre-washing stain remover and then wash alone on the highest temperature the fabric will tolerate. Dry the garment outside until the stain is completely gone. Wash again. Do not dry in a machine until you are certain no stain or odor remains. Cornstarch also works as an absorbent.