Removing Tar from Clothing

Whether it's from working on a roof, the roads, or just by accident, if you get tar on your clothes it's very difficult to get out. Get your clothes back to looking good by getting rid of the tar stain. This is a page about removing tar from clothing.

October 26, 2018

Use GoJo, Fast Orange, or similar products which are hand cleaners used to dissolve oils or grease. Moisten BOTH sides of the fabric to loosen, dissolve and disperse stain. Work both sides of fabric simultaneously and gently let the product break up the stain.

Do not overrub or break down the fabric. When stain has dissolved, wash immediately as normal.

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August 20, 2013

Use machine or any white oil to remove tar or black oil from clothing. Just lay it out flat, soak in oil and gently scrape the tar.

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13 Questions

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April 6, 2004

I need to know how to get road tar out of cotton jeans and 100% micropolyester.

Lucretia from Oklahoma


April 6, 20040 found this helpful

This is from the University of Minnesota Extention Service:

Removing Tar Stains

Once fibers are exposed to tar, whether it be a garment or carpet and rugs, it is often impossible to remove. If tar is in the vicinity, it is best to use every precaution to avoid getting it onto fabric or carpet.

You may wish to attempt to treat the tar stain. If the fabric is dry cleanable, gently scrap off the excess with a dull knife or spoon, taking care not to damage the fibers, then take to the dry cleaner. Be sure to identify the stain for the professional cleaner.

If the fabric is washable, place the stain face down onto paper towels or old bath towels or clean rags. Sponge the stain with a non-flammable dry cleaning solvent, flush with the solvent, and air dry completely. If using a powdered detergent, sponge the stain with water to wet it. Apply a paste of powdered detergent and water to the stained area. If you are using a liquid detergent, let the fabric dry completely, then apply liquid detergent directly to the dry fabric.

If the stain remains, try a bleach that is safe for the fabric. Test the bleach for colorfastness on an inconspicuous area such as seam allowance or hem area.

Then launder the fabric as usual, using the hottest water that is safe for the fabric.

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By joyann (Guest Post)
May 21, 20040 found this helpful

Try the concentrated orange based cleaner Goo Gone. There are several kinds but this is the most popular name brand. It will say 'removes tar' on the lable. I get it at Rite Aid for about $5. This stuff is amazing at getting out all kinds of stains and spots. It will also remove tar from cars and floors.

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By Nadia (Guest Post)
May 24, 20040 found this helpful

What is the best cleaning solvent to use.. dichloromethane, turpentine, methano, isopropanol, or ethylene chloride?

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 28, 20040 found this helpful

Drycleaning works great for tar of any sort, but if you want to avoid the cost. try lestoil or something called "no. 7 tar & bug remover" found in hardware stores. It smells but works like a charm and cleans with a normal cleaner afterward to rid the smell... works on clothes, shoes, hard floors of all kinds. Be careful with hardwood, but I did it and it was fine.

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By (Guest Post)
September 16, 20040 found this helpful

use gain bleech

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By delores (Guest Post)
November 5, 20040 found this helpful

i need to get tar out of my dryer

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By (Guest Post)
November 8, 20040 found this helpful

tar in your dyer; try some CLR to remover the tar from your dyer or bug and tar remover for cars.

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By Kelley (Guest Post)
June 26, 20070 found this helpful

My fiance had a big black tar smudge right down his butt. In a very bad spot I might add.... So I tried 2 things to get it out. 1st I tried the dryel pre stain remover. Worked a little but definitely not enough. 2nd I tried Goof Off - WORKED GREAT. I used the pads that you get with the dryel to make sure it didn't go through the the other side, then saturated it, with goof off. Rubbing doesn't work but Patting and strong firm pressure dabbing did. Good Luck with whatever you got it on.

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By Joanne (Guest Post)
November 14, 20070 found this helpful

I used nail polish to remove tar off my dining room chair. You have to rub it a little with a scourer but it works.

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By duncan fox (Guest Post)
January 1, 20081 found this helpful

Suits, jackets/pants with dry clean only label should be cautious to follow instructions to avoid side affects after using home products bought at store. Especially on white or black colors. The stain may come out but you have a 85% chance of color change. A costly suit should go to the cleaners so they have to pay for damages if there are problems.

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Read More Answers

July 20, 2012

How do I remove tar from a swimsuit?

By Michael H.


May 21, 20130 found this helpful

Try Goo Gone, works like a charm and won't harm the fabric or it's elasticity. Make sure the fabric is colorfast by trying it on an inside seam first. If it is not, try the lard and then hand wash the spot with dawn or the like. Good Luck!

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October 6, 2009

My grandson got fresh asphalt/tar on an expensive football jersey. Any ideas on how to get it out without ruining the shirt?

By Tammy from LA


October 8, 20090 found this helpful

My son used to be tar boy for a roofing company. He found that the drycleaners would run his pants through the old cleaning fluid before they discarded it.

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October 9, 20090 found this helpful

I use Lestoil to remove tar and alot of other kinds of stains.

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August 2, 20100 found this helpful

I live next to the railroad tracks and my 2 year old likes to throw rocks in the creek next to it. We sat down on the wooden ties and one had tar all over. My son just plopped down. I tried to make him get up but he persisted to tell me NO MOM. and just scooted his little tooshie all over the place. So, now his brand new beige shorts are covered in black tar. I tried washing them but it didn't help. It actually got all over the place. I didn't know it would rub off onto other clothes. Any suggestions on how to get it off of cotton clothes and polyester?

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May 15, 2010

How do I get pine tar off a baseball uniform that has already been washed?

By Susan Johnston from Louisville, KY


May 16, 20100 found this helpful

Sometimes Pine-Sol cleaner works as a spot treatment. I have had success with it before. Dilute with a bit of water, put on stain, let soak overnight and wash. Good luck.

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May 17, 20100 found this helpful

I used to use clear Karo Syrup for this. I've also heard WD40 works well. I would try both and see what works. Don't put the clothes in the dryer until the stain is gone.

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July 14, 2013

How do you get tarmac of shorts?

By Katie from Mancheaster

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December 1, 2012

I work in a saw mill. I come in contact with a lot of tar. I'm looking for simple solution to clean and preserve my clothes.

By Lilly

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September 2, 2011

How do I remove a tar stain from white pants?

By Bozena

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October 6, 2009

My boyfriend and I went to the beach and he got tar all over his brand new swim shorts. How does he get it out?

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June 26, 2008
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