Cleaning Dirty Construction Work Clothing

Category Clothing
At the end of the day manual labor jobs can leave you with very dirty clothes. This page is about cleaning dirty construction work clothing.


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July 24, 2010

My boyfriend works construction (all kinds ). He sweats badly and his shirts and pants are terrible. Even after I wash them two or three times, it doesn't help. He wears t-shirts and jeans.

He gets paint, grease, you name it, it's on there. I would throw them away, but he's just going to get more fifty. It seems like I've tried every detergent out there. No help. Any ideas? Thank you for all answers!

By Rhoda Willis


July 25, 20102 found this helpful
Best Answer

I always use Simple Green spray for laundry like that. My husband drives a log truck, and has to do alot of his own maintenance on it. If they are bad enough, I will put them in a 5 gallon bucket on the porch after spraying the worst spots, fill it up with water, and add a little more, then let them sit for a day or two before washing.


Otherwise, I just spray with the Simple Green, using it like laundry spot remover, and it works well enough.
For seriously greasy spots, I have used the hand cleaner gels like Mojo, or other brands, and scrubbed into the spots, letting them set for a few hours before washing.

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July 28, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

My husband works on small engines, lawn mowers, tillers, etc. Some of his tee shirts are badly stained with oil, grease, and dirt. I use a stain remover from the Dollar Tree Store. It comes in a 32 ounce spray bottle and is called Awesome Pre-Wash Laundry Stain Remover. When I sort his shirts from the hamper, I lay them front side up, lying open and flat on a pile. I place the pile in a ventilated area and Spray the stains on the front of the top shirt, around the neck, and then turn it over and spray the back if there are any stains there.


Most of the shirts are stained only on the front. I toss the first one in a basket, and continue the same procedure with each shirt. When all have been sprayed, I let them stand a few minutes and then throw them in the machine along with another cup of the stain remover, the appropriate amount of detergent, and 1/2 cup of soda.You can find soda in a
13.5 pound bag at Sam's Wholesale Club. I wash in warm water. Not every stain comes out every time, but in most cases they come very clean.
Harlean from Arkansas

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March 19, 2020

My husband works for WM. His work shirts are yellow and silver. I tried to get the stains he gets on them out with Oxi stain remover and a Spray and Wash with no results.


Can someone give me a good recommendation to get these tough stains out?


March 20, 20200 found this helpful
Best Answer

For tough stains I use a variety of things.

Dawn dish soap--the plain blue simple Dawn is my first line. I rub it in and let it sit overnight, then wash on cold. Don't dry in the dryer until the stains are gone--air dry in the sun if you can.

Second line is to mix one part of the dawn and one part of baking soda and one part of vinegar in a jar and then spread it on the stain--massage it into the spot and let it sit for 1-2 hours then wash, do not machine dry as above.

Third line--take equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and two parts cold water, shake them up in a jar and then pour the mix on the stain. Let it sit for 1-2 hours, then wash, don't machine dry until the stains are out.


Sometimes it takes all 3 to get the stains out. My hubby has had a few that were x3 fails...and the shirt became a rag. That was sad.

Post back how it goes!

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March 25, 20200 found this helpful
Best Answer

It seems a lot of suggestions have been offered but one of the problems that I see is you do not say what type of material the shirts are made of and different combinations of material will not react the same way.
Also, are the shirts colorfast? Do they fade easily?
Whatever method you decide to try be sure to check often for fading so if there is a problem you can remove them and place in clean water.

Probably Pghgirl's suggestion about using Dawn would do a good job and not cause any damage to the shirts.

No one really mentioned Oxiclean but if the shirts are colorfast and the stains are old this may be a good solution but I would start with less Oxiclean than most sites recommend until you see if it will help.


You can start with a small amount of warm water to dissolve the powder but soak in either warm or cold water. Soaking is the key to stain removal and then wash in cold water and do not dry in dryer as it will probably take several soaks to really clean old stains.
Check out this site for instructions.

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March 31, 20200 found this helpful
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I vouch for baking soda and vinegar. Together, they clean out lots of stains. They create a little explosion that gets stains out.

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December 20, 2006

How can I remove construction dust from clothes left on site?

Linda from Cedarburg, WI


June 1, 20180 found this helpful
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My husband operates machinery. He gets in the ditch with all the dust, dirt, flow fill, cement, and plenty of sweat. I spray his clothes with Shout then wash in very warm water with Persil That gets most everything out They don't look like new but they sure do smell good. After all he not going to a beauty pageant but to work

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June 22, 2019

I have heard that Mean Green gets stains out of work clothes. Do I add it with my detergent or just put a cup of Mean Green in the washer? I would really appreciate it if anyone knows.



June 22, 20191 found this helpful

You put it on the stain and leave it there 10-15 minutes and then rinse off.

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July 21, 20190 found this helpful

Did the mean green work for you? I am not a fan. My husband works in a warehouse and his clothes are filthy.

We do better making home made oxi clean.

I use 1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/3 cup baking soda and 1 cup of cool water (stir up good) and soak the stains in that mix (pour over and let it sit for 15 minutes then rinse).

PLEASE TEST before using (find a small spot on a seam or such) to make sure it doesn't ruin the color.

Depending on how many items you have, you may need to double, triple or quadruple the recipe. Make it up fresh and use it all at once. It does not keep well for me.

I like it and it is cheap to make! AND it works!

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December 8, 2016

Ground in dirt on clothing often needs pretreatment to ensure that it is removed in the wash. This is a page about cleaning jeans with ground in dirt.

A pair of jeans with dirt stains.

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

July 24, 2010

My husband often comes home with really dirty clothing. Especially when it rains, he works outside for much of the day. I am a stay at home parent since the birth of our first child. Basically a new homemaker. Any tips for cleaning really dirty clothing and having them look respectable again would be helpful.
Thank you, love this site!



Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

Go to your nearest "Dollar General" store and purchase a gallon of "Mean Green". It's $5 a galllon, but it lasts a long time. Just pour in 1 cup per load of laundry and it will clean the clothes every time. This stuff works great on a lot of stains. It cleans the Georgia clay from my husband's jeans, grease from his work clothes, etc. Try it! (04/16/2004)

By Jackolyn Smith

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

My dad was a truck mechanic for a logging company. Mom would start by adding at least 1 cup of ammonia to wash along with detergent. Let agitate for a few minutes and then turn off machine and just let soak for an hour or so. Turn machine back on and finish cycle. I'm pretty sure she used the "sudsy" ammonia. Sometimes his workclothes were so black with grease she'd follow up with another run through the machine. (04/16/2004)

By Charlie

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

If his pants are caked with mud and you don't want all that mud in your washer, let the pants dry, then beat them on the sidewalk until most of the mud falls off, then wash as usual. (04/16/2004)

By Marti

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

I've been a SAHM for awhile now, (5 years) and I'm always trying to save money.This is the stain remover I like best for my family's clothes.

  • 1/2 cup ammonia
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons dishwashing soap (I use AJAX)
  • 1 quart water

Mix well, and store in spray bottle. *Hint - Reuse your "Spray and Wash" bottle.

By Paula

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

To clean really dirty clothes; this one is for greasy ones. Use a can of Coke to one load. It has to be Coke no other cola product works as well. My husband is a airplane mechanic and this gets all the hydraulic fuel, oil, and all the other stuff that he gets into.

Kristen, Air Force wife and mother of three. (04/20/2004)

By ThriftyFun

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

An oldie, but goodie, Lestoil. Can be found in the cleaning product aisle of any large grocery. (04/20/2004)

By Karen

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

I use Dawn dish soap on my husband's greasy clothes. Dawn takes out many stains. If they're really dirty I put the Dawn on and put them in the washer with my laundry soap and let soak in warm water for 15 or twenty minutes. You can even add Borax to the laundry and that stuff works miracles. Good luck and congrats on staying home, it's a great choice. (04/23/2004)

By Kristi

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

The best thing for really dirty clothes: grease, grass, sweat, and all is mechanic's hand cleaner. You can usually find a tub of it for a dollar or two in the hardware section of any store. Slather it on, and use a scrub brush to lightly work it in. The other thing to remember is to not put heavily soiled clothes in the dryer unless you are sure they are clean. Hang-dry the item if you have any doubt, and re-wash if needed. (07/10/2004)

By guest

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

I use cheap laundry soap, add some borax, or washing soda and a good splash of Simple Green.

I buy Simple Green at Sam's and it keeps my husband's clothes clean and wearable for work, some come really clean and are decent, but as a welder on oil rigs, he gets into some really awful grease.

Hope this helps,

Tina (01/19/2007)

By Tina Brown

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

My staple is Shout. I use in on all grease. Wash clothes in hot water twice and this does the trick every time. My husband is as bad as the airplane mechanic. (08/10/2007)

By Vicki

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

I've been a machinist/auto mechanic and all around handyman for over 45 Yrs. For my "worst case", thought I'd never, ever get them clean, pants and shirts, my best result was to pre-treat the greasy areas (for me this always seems to be knee and thigh-fronts) with waterless cream-type hand cleaners.

These are always available at auto-parts stores under brand names like D&L, Go-Jo, and lately Goop (because it has less odor) make sure you get the style without "pumice". The pumice type is great for greasy hands etc., but too abrasive for clothing. Apply liberally, I usually scrub over the worst areas with small plastic scrub brush. Let it sit while filling the machine with warm or hot water and your normal detergent. I go for the longest cycle, and of course, wash these items separate from other clothes.

I'm always amazed that clothes so greasy and filthy can come out looking like they've never been touched by a drop of oil. P.S. If you already washed the items without some special attention, you've probably set the stain, and may never get it out completely. (04/26/2008)

By pixdan

Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing

To get grease out of clothes rub eucalyptus oil on the area and then stick it in your washing machine. You will find that your grease stains will be gone. (03/04/2010)

By jessica

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