Removing tar / asphalt with WD40 simple

Why choose wikiHow?
wikiHow marks an article as reader approved once we have received enough feedback to know that most readers were able to successfully complete the task. In this case, we have also received several testimonials from our readers, who told us how this article truly helped them.

How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing

Four Methods:

Have you gotten road or roofing tar or asphalt on clothes? If the fabric is machine-washable, then you may, at your discretion, choose among the techniques listed in this article to help remove the marks, smears, stains, pieces or particles.


Preparing for Removal

  1. Peel off as much tar as possible before treating.You can use a dull knife to gently scrape the tar off the fabric. Although hard tar is easier to pick off, the sooner you are able to pick the tar off, the easier the stain will be to remove.
    • If the residue is very hard to get off, try rubbing some petroleum jelly on it and waiting a few minutes before trying to scrape.
  2. Test your chosen method on a small area or one garment.
    • Some fabrics may be lightened in color, stained, weakened or have change in texture, grain or the lay of its nap from some of these cleaning methods.
  3. Donotdry with heat.

Removing a Thick Tar Piece/Glob (Freezing Method)

  1. Put pieces or cubes of ice in a plastic bag and rub the bag over the tar, if a piece or glob of tar is stuck to the fabric.
  2. Let the tar freeze (harden) to become brittle.
  3. Peel away the brittle tar with finger nails or a smooth, dull knife (like a butter knife or case knife), spoon or an ice cream stick,when tar has hardened.

Removing Thin Smears or Spots (Oiling Method)

  1. Coat and soak with one of the following oily products/solvents:
    • Warmed (not too hot) lard, bacon grease or chicken fat-drippings;
    • Vaseline, petroleum jelly, or chest vapor rub, mineral oil;
    • Automobile tar and bug remover;
    • Vegetable cooking oil;
    • Orange hand cleaner.
  2. Or, take clothing outdoors and spray the spot with penetrating oil (WD40 or such) --notnear a flame or cigarette, etc.
  3. Similarly, take clothing outdoors and dab a small amount of white kerosene, paint thinner, mineral spirits, turpentine, alcohol or lamp-oil (notgasoline) onto a persistent stain with a white paper towel or cleaning rag --notnear a flame or cigarette, etc.
  4. Consider using fingernail polishremoveras your solvent --notnear a flame or cigarette, etc.
  5. Remove dissolved, oiled, greased tar by rubbing with paper towel or cleaning rag.
  6. Repeat oily treatments, before washing:try a different solvent (volatile kinds, kerosene for instance), if the cooking fat or oil wasn't sufficient -- choosing from options above for stubborn spots.

Cleaning with Detergent

  1. Do this after one of the previous methods, or by itself.
  2. Treat with a prewash stain remover.Prewash stain removers come as a stick, a spray, or a gel.
    • Test the prewash stain remover on a part of your clothes that won't be noticed to make sure it doesn't affect the color of your garment.
    • Apply the prewash stain remover directly to the stain. For sticks, rub the stain liberally with the stain remover. When using a spray stain remover, spray the stain until it is fully saturated. A gel stain remover should be applied liberally, until the stain is covered.
    • Let the prewash stain remover sit on the stain for a period of time. Check the bottle for instructions on how much time to let it work.
  3. Apply a liquid enzyme laundry detergent to the stain.Tar and asphalt stains are oil stains, so you need an enzyme laundry detergent to remove them.
    • Pour the enzyme laundry detergent directly onto the stain.
    • Use a towel or paper towels to tamp the stain by pressing firmly on the stain and then lifting the towel back up.
    • Press the stain several times with the towel, making sure to use a clean part of the towel every time you tamp.
  4. Launder the clothing in the hottest water possible for the fabric.Look at the tag on the clothing to find out what temperature water it can be washed in. Wash the clothing using the enzyme laundry detergent.
  5. Hang clothes to air dry.Allow your clothing to air dry to avoid setting any part of the stain that wasn’t completely removed.
    • If the stain remains, repeat the steps using a dry-cleaning solvent in place of the prewash stain remover.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can I put WD-40 or any other product on my sweater that has a tar spot?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes. If the spot is small, get as much as you can off manually, spray, then dab with an absorbent material. The WD40 will thin the stain, and it could enlarge the stain area; keep spraying and blotting, and you should win.
  • Question
    Where do I buy automobile bug and tar remover?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Any place that sells auto products should have it. Try parts houses, Walmart's auto section, and maybe even your grocery store.
  • Question
    Can I wash tarred clothing in the washing machine?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, but it will set the stain; this means any stain remaining after the wash will be more difficult to remove. Don't put a garment dripping with tar into your machine.
  • Question
    How do I get tar out of suede?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Use Endust, then blot with isopropyl alcohol, but test a small patch first for colorfastness.
  • Question
    How do I remove a small amount of road tar from my carpet in the house?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If it is just on a few fibers you can trim the fiber of the carpet, otherwise use Endust dusting spray. Saturate the area, then blot, rubbing only slightly to avoid fraying the fiber. After that use a detergent to remove the Endust, such as a dot of dish detergent and water. Rinse, and then use isopropyl alcohol to help dry the carpet. Test first in an inconspicuous spot for colorfastness.
Unanswered Questions
  • How do I get tar out of my pipe?
  • Can I use bleach to wash tar off if I am already going to bleach the clothing?
  • What is name of enzyme laundry detergent?
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

Quick Summary

If a piece of tar is stuck to your clothing, try filling a bag with ice cubes and rubbing it over the tar. Allow the tar to freeze and become brittle, then scrape it off with your fingernails or a dull knife. To get rid of smaller spots, try coating the affected area with vaseline or warm lard. Alternatively, take your piece of clothing outdoors, and dab a small amount of white kerosine or paint thinner on the spot. Finally, to remove the grease or oil, rub the area with a paper towel or rag.

Did this summary help you?
  • Seek medical advise and assistance, if eyes are contacted by a chemical (solvent, detergent, etc.).
  • Wash separately from other clothing.
  • Protect hands with rubber or vinyl gloves.
  • Protect eyes, hair and skin from products. Flush any chemical contact thoroughly with water.


  • Avoid breathing fumes of volatile/flammable cleaners -- and donotuse them near a flame (pilot light) or cigarette, etc.
  • Kerosene, and such will leave an unpleasant odor, which is hard to remove, even after washing.
  • Have leather, suede, fur or leatherette, etc. professionally treated and cleaned.
  • Avoid more damage, wash or clean by following the manufacturer's cleaning agents and fabric care instructions (temperature, and the kind of cleaning process, etc.), if you are concerned about that at all.
  • Avoid exposing the fabric to heat (cool-air dry only) until the stains have been removed.
  • Caution: avoid scalding (from heated cooking grease or hot water).
  • Stains on "dry-clean-only" fabrics should be professionally treated and cleaned.

Things You'll Need

  • Skin and hair protection
  • Rubber or vinyl gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Manufacturer's cleaning instructions
  • Solvent (probably oily)
  • Volatile, more flammable solvent (optional)
  • Degreaser (optional)
  • Liquid dish or laundry detergent (for prewashing)
  • Laundry detergent (for washing)
  • Paper towels or cleaning rags
  • Small scrubbing brush (such as an old toothbrush)
  • Water for washing and rinsing

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Made Recently

Did you try these steps?
Upload a picture for other readers to see.
Upload error
Awesome picture! Tell us more about it?

Article Info


In other languages:

Español: , Italiano: , Русский: , Português: , Deutsch: , Français: , Bahasa Indonesia: , العربية: 

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 369,787 times.
Did this article help you?
of readers found this articlehelpful.
4 votes - 100%
Click a star to add your vote
100% of people told us that this article helped them.
Views: 369,787

Irene Shea

Jul 11, 2019

"I used the WD40 spray, left it on for a few minutes and rubbed it in to the fabric a little. I then put the cottonmattress protector (twin size) in some hot soapy water, scrubbed it by hand for a few minutes, then put it into the washing machine in hot water and full hard wash, and it came out pretty much like new. A few areas where I hadn't put the WD40 on or didn't quite get it scrubbed enough were left a little grey. Most of the tar on the mattress cover was a very thick layer of matted tar."
Rated this article:

Sandra Morgan

Aug 29, 2019

"This article gave me the idea to try something else. I used peanut butter to remove the majority of the roofingtar, it works the same as it does for removing gum. The I followed it with a mixture of Dawn dish soap and alcohol, scrubbing gently with a toothbrush and then gently using a butter knife to scrape away more of the left over peanut butter and tar. Then washed it in cold water using Gain laundry soap! It worked like a charm, good as new! Just a tip folks, using heat sets it in."

Fiona MacDonald

Jun 15, 2019

"I had tar spots on a favorite pair of trousers for two years, believing I'd done all I could to remove them. UsedWD-40, as suggested, and the tar came off on kitchen paper. Very pleased."

D. J.

Jun 5, 2019

"WD-40 did wonders on an asphalt stain on a pair of sneakers, two years later! Fels-Naphtha, Krud Kutter and stainremover also assisted."

Nadia Graycee

Nov 22, 2019

"It's been so hard getting tar out of my cotton polo, but the Vaseline trick helped a lot."

Jean Jura

Feb 23, 2019

"This article gave me some ideas on how to remove tar and grease stains from my clothes. "

Marian Rivera

Jul 31, 2019

"It helped me get rid of the tar in my clothes. Thanks, it helped me do this myself."


Jan 21, 2019

"This helped me out and has plenty of different options which is great."

S. M.

Jun 11, 2019

"WD-40 works perfectly on upholstery!"
Rated this article:

Marg Harrison

Sep 11, 2019

"Very helpful advice.

Video: The Fastest and Easiest Way to Remove Tar and Asphalt From Trucks - Move Your Asphalt

How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing
How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing images

2019 year
2019 year - How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing pictures

How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing recommend
How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing recommend photo

How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing images
How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing images

How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing new images
How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing new pics

pictures How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing
pictures How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing

Watch How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing video
Watch How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from Clothing video

Forum on this topic: How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from , how-to-remove-tar-and-asphalt-from/
Communication on this topic: How to Remove Tar and Asphalt from , how-to-remove-tar-and-asphalt-from/ , how-to-remove-tar-and-asphalt-from/

Related News

How to Help a Sick Person Feel Better
Giving Up Sugar: What Happened When I Tried for 30 Days
How to remove acne in men
Broccoli-Cheese Polenta Pizza
How Much Exercise It’ll Take to Undo’ 17 Popular Fast Food Items
40 Coffee Cup Tattoo Designs For Men – Java Ink Ideas
How to Support a Spouse who Has Cancer
15 Common Risk Factors Of Type 2 Diabetes
Caring for an Autistic Adult
Making friends in the MS Club
November 2019 Official Sweepstakes Rules: Beauty Tricks
Model Hannah Holman Dishes On Daisy Eau SoFresh

Date: 30.11.2018, 13:48 / Views: 62445