Removing Tar from Clothing

Removing Tar from Clothing, Removing Tar from Upholstery, Removing Tar from Aluminum Siding
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.


This page contains the following solutions.

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.


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.

Keep it soaked in the oil and rub. When out, wash well in suds.


13 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

April 6, 2004

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

Lucretia from Oklahoma


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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.

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.

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?

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.

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

use gain bleech

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

i need to get tar out of my dryer

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.

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.

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.

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.

July 23, 20170 found this helpful

WD40 worked took tar out of my colored cotton shirt

August 1, 20170 found this helpful

Does it wrk if the clithing has already been washed and

December 11, 20190 found this helpful

Does the WD stain jeans clothing

Answer this Question

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!

September 20, 20160 found this helpful

Use Ivory soap (bar). Worked for us.

September 20, 20160 found this helpful

I use Ivory soap. Worked for us.

Answer this Question

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.

October 9, 20090 found this helpful

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

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?

Answer this Question

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.

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.

Answer this Question

July 14, 2013

How do you get tarmac of shorts?

By Katie from Mancheaster

Answer this Question

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

Answer this Question

September 2, 2011

How do I remove a tar stain from white pants?

By Bozena

Answer this Question


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

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?

Lauren from Los Angeles, CA


Removing Tar from carpet

Mega thanks to this site and the useful info, it has saved me buying a new carpet. WD 40 did a grand job. Thanks for all the useful info. (07/31/2008)

By Lesley

Removing Tar from Clothing

I used Fast Orange and it saved my shirt and a $40 pair of kids jeans. (11/29/2008)

By Tom


June 26, 2008

How can I get tar out of clothes and shoes?

Linda from Norfolk, MA


Removing Tar from Clothing

Long ago when my 50 year old son was in middle school he walked barefoot over a newly paved parking lot and got tar all over his feet. He promptly jumped in the shower and got it all over the tub. I scrubbed it out as best I could before getting in my Avon Skin so Soft oil bath. When I released my bath water I discovered a clean, tar free tub. I never would have thought of it on my own. One of the best accidents I ever had. (08/31/2007)

By Marty Dick

Removing Tar from Clothing

I got a bunch of tar stains on the leg of my jeans. The original tar used in manufacturing for waterproofing the door got on my jeans and I had not noticed until I was finished. I thought, this will never come out. I figured regular laundry detergent alone would not be good enough. I thought I might need a really tough fabric cleaner. Lo and behold, I had it already in the trunk of my car.
'ARMORALL Multi-Purpose Auto Cleaner'. It's designed to clean all surfaces PLUS fabric and upholstery. I've had good success using it in my car. I sprayed it directly on the tar spots and began to rub the material together. The tar began to come out immediately. A repeat a couple more times and the tar was gone. I put them in the washing machine with some ALL laundry detergent, and just like that the tar was gone with no fade or fabric discoloration. I must note that I think that 'ArmorAll' makes many products but I can not speak on any of those products. In this case The product that I used was the 'Multi-Purpose Auto Cleaner' it comes in a white pump spray bottle with a a blue and black label and it is designed for use on fabric. (09/09/2007)

By joe from S.F.

Removing Tar from Clothing

Thanks for all the great ideas. We're a US Air Force family assigned in Israel. My wife got a large "glob" of tar on her new bathing suit while sitting on the beach yesterday. We thought all was lost. We're an "earth-friendly" / organic family, so I opted for the simple solutions. Julie's olive oil remedy worked like magic. Many thanks. (09/22/2007)


Removing Tar from Clothing

WD40 worked on my jeans with no problems. It took some of the color out of my nylon jacket which had some kind of oil/grease stain though. A pale spot still looks better than a black spot though. (01/10/2008)

By Don.

Removing Tar from Clothing

Fast Orange hand cleaner removed tar from the cloth seats of my new Jeep! Thanks for the tip (04/19/2008)

By Ken

Removing Tar from Clothing

I used a dab of WD40 (05/11/2008)

By brandon

Removing Tar from Clothing

Great advice. I had discovered the tar after I washed my pants. I used the waterless hand cleaner and then a couple shots of the WD-40 and it came out! Woohoo. Your advice rocks! Thank you. (05/28/2008)

By Carina

Removing Tar from Clothing

WOW! My boyfriend wore a new t-shirt to a flat-roofing course and got tar on it. He thought it was ruined, but I used WD-40 and it worked amazingly! Got it right out after a good soapy-water scrub afterwards! Thanks so much! (06/19/2008)

By Jordan

Read more ideas below.


August 31, 2007

How can I remove tar from clothing?

Liz from Mass


Removing Tar from Clothing

I used chicken fat to get a lot! Of dried tar off the seat of a pair of cotton pants and to my great suprise and wonderment it all came off! I gernerously applied defrosted fat, rubbed it into tar, used my fingernails and a butter knife to help with thicker spots, then paper-toweled off the fat, and repeated this process several times... Wow. Thanks to the woman who suggested using pure lard. She's right-- it works! (07/23/2007)

By j.m.


October 12, 2006

I was wondering if anyone can help me. I was filling in a hole in the roof and I got sealer/tar on my clothes and I didn't notice it until after it was washed. Can anyone please help me on how too remove tar from your clothes after it was washed?

Joyce Wis



I have used PURE LARD from the dairy case, to remove tar, even after it has set up for years.

I had an old school-desk that had been sitting upside down in a puddle of tar and it was hard and dry. I smeared the PURE LARD over it, let it sit a day or two, and it wiped right off.

My car was left parked under a railroad trestle and tar dripped on it for 2 days. We smeared the pure lard over the tar spots and they wiped off.

Also used it on the white leather sleeves of my son's high school jacket - smeared lard over the tar and let it sit awhile, then wiped it off. Then you just use a good soap to wash out the lard (liquid Tide poured on and rubbed in works great) (12/01/2000)

By Ginger


I think that the easiest way to get tar and grease out of clothes is to apply Lestoil full strength out of the bottle and put the garment in a plastic bag over night so the Lestoil doesn't dry out. Wash the next day in the hottest water the garment will take. Some times it will take two treatments to get out all the tar. If you can't find Lestoil some of the waterless hand cleaners that are sold in auto parts stores work pretty well too. You may have to follow them with a second wash where you have treated the grease spot that the hand cleaners might leave, with a spray on pre-wash spray. Do not put the item in the drier until all the stain is out. I would line dry it and look carefully to be sure. (12/01/2000)

By Linda


I use De-Solv-it citrus solution to get tar out of clothes. It has no harsh chemicals and 100% organic. At the apartment was living at they repaved the street and all the kids got it all over their clothes and I used De-Solv-it and it worked great. (12/01/2000)

By Carol

Removing Tar from Clothing

I just used the lard (bacon grease actually) and it does work! The windbreaker had been washed prior also and the tar was imbedded. (11/07/2004)

By Carolyne

Removing Tar from Clothing

This just happened to me on my capris, I used olive oil. Grape seed oil works also, just pour a little bit on and gently scrape with your finger nail. Then I rinsed it out with dish soap and laundered as normal, works wonders! (05/25/2005)

By Julie

Removing Tar from Clothing

"Soluble paint thinner gets it off most things. Safer for the skin, hair, etc, try bacon grease or lard, rub and wash. Mayo is good for hands, rub on thoroughly, wash off. Also try Avon Skin So Soft." (09/30/2005)

By Helen


I tried WD40. Sprayed it on, dabbed with a paper towel, and washed with dish soap. Worked great. Also worked great to get grease out of my carpet. (10/02/2005)

By Marge

Removing Tar From Clothes Dryer

A big thank you to Ginger who mentioned lard for removing tar. I washed a pair of work pants not knowing they had tar (driveway sealer) all over the bottom of the legs. It melted in the dryer and spattered the whole inside of the drum. I tried Goo Gone which melted the tar but left an awful yellow stain. Also, it smelled awful and I was warned later that it could have ignited. I decided to give the lard a try and it worked like a charm! I painted it on the entire dryer drum with a clean paint brush. I left it on for a couple hours and then wiped it out with paper towels. I just wish I had tried the lard before the other product. Oh, and the lard cost a mere one dollar and seven cents for a whole pound at my local grocery. Thanks for this great website! (06/22/2006)

By Lynn


I tried the WD40 on large spot of my Mariner's shirt - and then soapy water after that - it worked great! (08/20/2006)

By Will

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