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How to Get the Diesel Smell Out of Clothes (Easy trick!)

One of the effects of using a diesel vehicle is that lovely diesel smell that is left on your clothes. It never seems to come out no matter how much you wash it. I’ve struggled with this so I found some good ways to get rid of the smell.

So, how do you get the diesel smell out of your clothes? There are several tricks for getting the diesel smell out of your clothes which include, Baking soda and vinegar, Coke and baking soda, Listerine, and fast orange. All are products that get the smell out relatively well. 

However, diesel doesn’t just make your clothes smell, it makes your washer smell, and it stains your clothes. There are several different ways you can take care of the many messes that diesel leaves behind. 

How Do I Get the Diesel Smell Out of My Clothes?

You hear some crazy hacks about how to get the smell out of anything on the internet. I’ve done some research to find as many as I can to help you get that diesel smell out of your clothes. 

There are four ways to get out the smell that are pretty commonly used methods and they’re all pretty simple to do and won’t take much money or time. If they don’t work out, you might just have to buy a new shirt. However, I’ve only ever heard good things about these methods, so you probably won’t have to. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you like to do everything all natural, this method works, but if the diesel smell is too strong it may not do a great job. It may take more than a few times to get the smell out. 

Just put as much baking soda and vinegar as you would add of regular detergent…with the regular detergent. It’s really not that complicated. Baking soda and vinegar are natural deodorizers and they are also good at breaking down oils.

Fun Fact: They are both a commonly used cleaning agent. A lot of toothpaste companies put it in your toothpaste as a matter of fact- to clean your teeth and deodorize that mouth of yours!

Coke and Baking Soda

Coke is one of those cleaning myths that actually I’m pretty sure Mythbusters tried and busted. It’s probably the coke and the Baking Soda together that work. It’s the Coke, the de-greaser, and the baking soda together that work to get rid of the smell and stains. 

Here are the ingredients and tools you will need to try this method:

  • Tub of warm water/washer 
  • 1 cup of Tide or Degreaser
  • 2-Liter bottle of Coke
  • 1 box of Baking Soda

Step 1: Let the clothes soak in the tub of warm water and degreaser (or in the washer) for about two hours. (This breaks down the oils in the fuel.)

Step 2:  Drain the water, rinse, and then refill with clean water, your 2-liter bottle of coke, and the box of baking soda. Mix it in really well.

Step 3: Let it soak for about 12-24 hours.

This method works. (You could probably even do without the coke and it would still work, in my opinion.) It takes a bit of time and money, but it does the job. It’s not really my favorite, but some people have their preferred method of doing things, so I included it. 


You may think that this sounds silly, but Listerine is actually what some firemen use to get the smoke smell out of their clothes! It is a good deoderizer. You can find it at your local grocery store and it’s pretty cheap.

All you have to do is pour some into your washing machine with your laundry and it will not only get rid of the diesel smell, but it will clean your washing machine as well. I don’t know if you need to do it more than once, but it seems like it would be a deodorizer you only have to do once.

There were a lot of people raving about how fabulous it was, so I’m assuming it’s safe to give it a try. 

*Fast Orange

Fast Orange is a product you can buy on Amazon, at Walmart, or an auto store. It is a hand cleaner, but it is also safe to put in your washing machine to get the diesel smell out.

It is specifically made to clean your hands when they have grease and/or diesel on there and works great for clothes as well. Some people even like to put a little Arm and Hammer in there with it just to be sure that the smell is completely gone. 

Note: Makes sure that the one you buy is the smooth kind. (It will say it on the container)

*This is the best-proven method out there to get the diesel smell out of clothes. 

How Do I Get a Diesel Stain off My Clothes and Hands?

Diesel stains are oil-based, which means that regular soap and water is not going to do the trick. You need a degreaser or a heavy duty solvent-based stain removal product like Tide or Persil. 

Most of the methods for smell-removal listed above are also methods for stain removal as well. However, if you would like a few product suggestions, here are some that work pretty well:

  • Tide 
  • Persil
  • Shout
  • Oxi-Clean
  • BIZ (I have personally used this brand and it is amazing!)

The DO NOT’S of  grease stains: 

  • Do not use chlorine bleach
  • Do not put it in the dryer if the stain is still present
  • Do not wash with unstained clothes

How Do I Get the Smell Out of My Truck Cab Caused by Spilled Diesel? 

Everything that you would use to get the smell out of your clothes would work for your truck-cab. Fast Orange will help get the smell out, just find the spill and start scrubbing! 

There are a lot of car fresheners you can use as well to help with the smell. My best advice would be to call a professional and have them detail the cab. It’s expensive, but with the right people, they usually do an excellent job. I think it’s totally worth the extra bills, especially if you don’t want to smell diesel for the rest of the time you own your truck. 

All of their cleaning equipment is made for the specific use of cleaning out cars and whatever mess may have been created. They have a very diverse car skill set. I highly doubt that they would not do a good job if they really know what they are doing. 

I’ve seen the great job that they can do and it’s pretty impressive. I’m sure they can get the smell out and then some with their skills. Plus, it will take a lot less time for them to do the job than for you to try and do it yourself.

I like to do projects with my kids and stuff, but there are just some projects that are more time than they are worth. It just depends on what your time frame looks like for it. 

If you really can’t afford it, you’ll just have to settle for the few cleaning ideas I’ve mentioned earlier. (obviously, you can’t soak the seats) You can soak mats though, and there is a car carpet soak/clean machine you can buy. 

That can be pretty expensive with just the machine alone, the detergent for it is a separate thing and usually won’t come with the machine.  Even the brush is sometimes sold separately than the machine and the detergent. 

Related Questions:

Why does diesel smell so bad? Diesel in the U.S. has a higher sulphur content than other countries because it reacts to the nickel and both act as a lubricant for the engine. If you’ve ever driven past a sulphur plant, you know that it stinks.

How do I get the smell of diesel out of my truck cab from a spill? Listerine, baking soda and vinegar, fast orange, or any de-greaser and deodorizer will work to get the diesel smell out. 

Is it possible to get diesel stains out of my clothes? Using a de-greasing detergent will ensure that you get grease stains out of your clothes so long as you wash it as fast as possible after the stain has appeared. You can also you a solvent-based stain remover product to get it out. 

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