Updated at: 04-06-2022 - By: Lucas

If you drive a diesel car, you probably get that strong diesel smell on your clothes from time to time. When I was a kid, my dad would smell strongly of diesel whenever he came home from working on his truck.

So, how do you get this strong smell out of your clothes? Well, there are a lot of tricks out there that use things like Listerine and Fast Orange, which is my mom’s favourite. We’ll talk about each way to get diesel out of clothes below. (And yes, it works on clothes stained with regular gasoline and kerosene, too!)

But if diesel fuel gets on your clothes, it not only smells awful, but it also stains your clothes and makes your washing machine smell bad. We also have tips on how to fix all of that.

Also, if you get fuel on your hands, carpet, or furniture, we have some tips on how to get rid of it.

WARNING: If your clothes still have diesel on them, don’t put them in the dryer or they could catch fire.

You don’t want to smell like a truck stop, so let’s get that strong fuel smell out of your clothes as soon as possible. First, we’ll talk about some things you probably already have at home. Then, we’ll talk about a special product that works for my family.

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking Soda and Vinegar-1

This little cleaning miracle works on a lot of spills and stains, even diesel fuel. Plus, it’s a natural way to clean, which is a big plus.

With these two things, you can make a solution to soak the clothes in. What do you want? Well, it depends on how much clothing you need to soak in it.

As a general rule, you should use as much as you would if you were making a laundry detergent solution. So, add a little water and equal parts baking soda and vinegar. Just make sure you’re not making one of those middle school volcanoes.

You’ll need:

Something for the clothes to soak in

Vinegar, or white

Baking soda

Some water

Let the clothes soak in it for at least 15 minutes, but longer is better.

Together, the baking soda and vinegar break down the oils in the fabric. They are also natural deodorizers, so they get into the fabric to get rid of that stinky fuel smell.

If the clothes still smell when you take them out of the solution, you might have to soak them again. And for longer periods.

Still doesn’t work? Try the next suggestion and see if it works.

2. Coca Cola and Baking Soda

Coca Cola and Baking Soda

Coca-Cola tastes great with pizza, and you can also use it to clean all kinds of interesting things, like clothes that have been soaked in diesel fuel. You need to mix it with baking soda for it to work against diesel fuel.

In this solution, the Coca-Cola removes grease and the baking soda gets rid of smells.

You’ll need:

Something for the clothes to soak in

One bottle of Coca Cola that holds 2 litres

Baking soda (one box)

One cup of stain-fighting detergent or degreaser (I like Tide).

Warm water

Here are the steps to follow once you have all the ingredients:

Put the clothes in the soaking tub and cover them with warm water and the laundry detergent or degreaser.

Soak for two to three hours to get the oils to break down.

Pour out the water, rinse the clothes, put them back in the tub, and fill the tub back up with warm water.

Add the bottle of Coca-Cola and the box of baking soda to the tub and stir well.

For best results, let soak overnight or for 12 to 24 hours.

This method works well for those tough diesel stains, but if it doesn’t work for you, keep reading for the next one.

3. Listerine


I know what you’re thinking: can something you put in your mouth really remove diesel fuel stains, and if so, should you really use it in your mouth? Yes and I don’t know are the answers to both of your good questions.

What you need to know about Listerine is that firefighters use it to get the smell of smoke out of their clothes.

Crazy, huh? But it seems to work, so why not give it a shot if you’re having trouble getting diesel out of your shirts, pants, and other clothes?

In this method, unlike the others, you put the clothes in the washing machine and pour Listerine into the machine to wash the clothes.

We suggest that you pour some Listerine on the spots and let it sit for 15 minutes before putting the clothes in the washing machine. Then, do your laundry as usual (with your detergent) and add a couple of doses of Listerine.

4. Dawn Dish Liquid

Dawn Dish Liquid

If your house is anything like mine, you keep a bottle of Dawn dish liquid on hand for tough spills and stains. This stuff is a miracle cleaner, and yes, it works on diesel and gasoline on clothes as well.

It’s easy to use this to get rid of the smell and stains from the fuel spill.

Soak the clothes in a tub of water with a good amount of Dawn dish soap for 12 to 24 hours.

Rinse the clothes, and then wash them as you normally would (I prefer using Tide for stains like this)

It’s easy, cheap, and works. I don’t think there are any stains or spills that can’t be cleaned up with a little bit of Dawn!

5. Fast Orange

Fast Orange

Because my dad always came home greasy and smelling like diesel fuel, this was always in our laundry room when I was a kid.

If you haven’t heard of this before, it’s because it’s more of an industrial hand cleaner that mechanics and people who work in other greasy jobs use.

Best of all, it is a hand cleaner that doesn’t use water or petroleum solvents and is biodegradable. And it smells like citrus, which is how it got its name.

There are two kinds of this stuff: “smooth” and “pumice.” Make sure you buy the “smooth” kind, because the “pumice” kind can damage the fibres in clothes.

Before putting the clothes in the washing machine, you just rub some of the cleaner into the spots that are dirty. Do your laundry as your normally do.

I think you’ll find that this stuff always works, at least in my house it did!

I think this is the best way to get the diesel smell out of clothes that has been proven to work.

How To Remove Diesel Fuel From Leather Boots?

While you were working in the garage, did you get some diesel on your shoes? Well, we can tell you how to get diesel fuel out of leather boots if you are wearing leather shoes.

Mix 1/2 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda until you get a paste-like substance.

Use a soft toothbrush to rub the paste into the stain on the leather boots’ surface.

Let the paste dry for 12 to 24 hours on the stain.

Use the dry toothbrush to get rid of the dry paste. If you can’t get it off that way, use a clean, wet toothbrush and let it dry.

If that didn’t work, try replacing the paste with a small amount of Dawn dish liquid. Follow the same steps as above, but use Dawn instead of the paste.

How To Remove Diesel Smell From Your Washing Machine

If you tried to wash the smelly clothes before getting rid of the smell and stain, your washing machine might smell like fuel.

Don’t worry, you can get rid of that smell with things you already have at home.

Useful things include:

Vinegar, or white



Mr. Clean is a man who cleans.

Any of the above things will work well to get rid of the smell of fuel in your washing machine, but you may need to use vinegar more than once.

Basically, you just need to run the washer through a full cycle with 2 cups of your preferred cleaner instead of detergent.

My family likes to use Listerine, but any of the above will work to get rid of that smell in the washing machine tub.

You can also use Dawn dishwashing detergent, but I don’t really recommend it because it suds up so much that it can leave a soapy mess on the floor of your laundry room.

Drying Your Previously Diesel-Stained Clothing

I’m sure you saw our warning above about not drying your clothes in a regular tumble dryer. It’s very important not to put anything in your dryer that smells like fuel, because it could start a fire.

If you think there might still be diesel on the clothes, it’s best to dry them on a drying rack inside or on a clothesline outside.

Keep in mind that letting clothes dry in the air is also a good way to get rid of smells.

How to Remove Diesel Fuel From Your Hands

If you’ve been working on a car, you might have gotten diesel fuel on your hands. It’s easy to get rid of, and all you need is the same stuff you need for your clothes.


Just like you can wash your clothes with Listerine to get rid of the diesel fuel smell, you can also wash your hands to get rid of the smell. You might have to plug up your sink and pour Listerine into it to soak them for a few minutes.

Dish Liquid for Dawn

My favourite miracle cleaner for the house can also be used to get rid of diesel or gasoline smells on your hands. Just wash your hands with Dawn dish soap, like you would with Listerine. You might need to plug up your sink and fill it with Dawn to soak them for a few minutes.

Fast Orange

Using this special hand cleaner is the easiest way to get rid of diesel, kerosene, and gasoline on your hands. It’s the best way to get diesel off your skin, and it’s also a gentle cleaner.

How to Remove Diesel Fuel From Carpet and Upholstery

If you worked on a car and got diesel on yourself and your clothes, it’s likely that you also got diesel on the carpet or upholstery. You can get help with that from us.

For a big spill, you need to figure out if it went all the way through. For example, if you worked in the trunk, did all of the padding in the back get wet? Or did the floorboard mats get soaked?

If something got soaked all the way through, you will need to hire a professional cleaner. Of course, if it’s the floor mats, you can just buy new ones for a low price.

You can take steps to clean up smaller spills on your own. This is what we think:

Use paper towels to soak up as much of the fuel as you can, and then throw them away in a safe way.

Once you’ve soaked up as much diesel as you can, sprinkle baking soda over the area and make sure it’s all covered.

Leave the baking soda there for 5–6 hours to soak up the smells. If the baking soda gets wet, you can use a shop vac to clean it up and more paper towels to soak up more fuel. Then put the baking soda on again.

After the time is up, use a shop vac to clean up the baking soda.

Mix a cup of warm water and some Dawn dish soap together (or Fast Orange). Apply this cleaning solution to the stain with a bristle brush, working from the edges into the middle of the stain.

When you’re done, use more paper towels to soak up the water.

To get rid of the cleaner, “rinse” the area with a clean sponge or cloth dipped in clean water. Then use paper towels to dry it again.

Allow it to dry for 12 to 24 hours. Then you can use the shop vac to go over the area and bring back the carpet’s pile.

If this doesn’t get rid of the stain, you can try again and again until it does.

Leave the windows down to get rid of smells that won’t go away. You can also use more baking soda or charcoal that has been made active. Odoban, which you can buy at Home Depot, is another product I like.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a few good ways to get rid of that awful fuel smell and stain on your clothes. And you probably already have a lot of the things you can use at home.

If you often get diesel, gasoline, or kerosene on your clothes, you should buy some Fast Orange to keep in your laundry room. This will help get rid of the stains and smell of fuel the best.