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How to remove tar stains from clothing

How to remove tar stains from clothing

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Tar—not quite as easy to remove as chocolate stains and tomato stains, but it can be done! This oil-based stain simply needs a bit of elbow grease to remove it and then you can look forward to wearing your favorite pair of jeans once again. Simply follow our step-by-step instructions to get rid of tar stains on clothes. 

Step 1: Freeze the stain

Just like with chewing gum on clothes, tar will come off more easily if it’s hard—so the way to do this is to freeze it with ice. Place a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and press against the stain. Once you’re satisfied that the tar has hardened enough, use a blunt knife to chip away at it, removing as much as possible.

Step 2: Use a stain remover

After you’ve removed as much as you can with the blunt knife, take a heavy-duty laundry detergent such as Persil® ProClean® OXI Power liquid laundry detergent and work it into the stain using a clean brush. Leave it to soak in for at least 15 minutes. 

Step 3: Wash as usual

Check your garment’s care label to see the hottest temperature it can be washed on. The hotter the temperature, the more easily the stain will be broken down. The hot wash cycle is best.

Step 4: Check the garment

Do not dry the clothing until you are sure the stain has disappeared. If there’s still some tar on the clothing and you place it in the dryer, the tar will melt and get all over the walls of the dryer. This will then spread to other pieces of clothing, making the situation a whole lot worse.

Tar stain still on clothes?

If the stain is being particularly stubborn and the washing machine failed to remove the tar stains from your clothing, there are a few more things you can try:

  • Soak the item in an oxygen-based, color-safe bleaching product. Don’t forget to check the label first to see if the fabric can handle this, and wear gloves at all times!
  • Mix baking soda with some water to make a paste. Apply the paste over the stain. Let the paste soak into the stain for about 15 minutes, then wash the item as usual.

Using household products to remove tar stains from clothing

Online you’ll find many sources that claim you can use products that you already have around the house. Baby oil can be used to break up the tar before it can set permanently in the fibers. Club soda can also be effective, especially on fresh stains.

For all your stain removal needs, make sure to take a peek at our laundry section and, while you’re there, sign up for helpful articles and exclusive offers.