How to Remove Tar Stains from Clothes: Quick and Easy Solutions

To get tar out of clothes, use a solvent such as rubbing alcohol or eucalyptus oil. Soak a clean cloth in the solvent and dab at the tar until it lifts off the fabric.

Getting tar out of clothes can be a frustrating experience. Whether you accidentally stepped in it or brushed up against something sticky, it’s important to remove it from your clothes as soon as possible. Tar is a thick, black, sticky substance that can be difficult to remove, especially if it has been grounded into the fibers of the fabric.

In this article, we will discuss various methods for getting tar out of clothes. We’ll explore both natural and store-bought solvents, as well as tips for preventing tar stains from happening in the first place. So, let’s get started!

How to Remove Tar Stains from Clothes: Quick and Easy Solutions


Understanding Tar

If you have ever dealt with tar on your clothes, you know how stubborn and difficult this sticky substance can be. Here, we will explain the key points of understanding tar, and how it can stick to clothing fibers.

  • Explanation of what tar is and how it sticks to clothing fibers:
  • Tar is a sticky, black, and oily substance produced when organic material, such as wood or coal, is burned. It is used in various settings, including road construction and roofing.
  • Because of its sticky nature, tar can easily cling to fabric fibers, making it challenging to remove from clothing.
  • Tar can stick to clothing through various methods, such as direct contact or contact with surfaces that have retained the substance.
  • Different types of tar and their properties:
  • Although black tar is the most commonly known type, there are various forms of tar that come in different colors and textures.
  • Pine tar, for example, is common in sports, particularly baseball, where it is used to provide grip on bat handles.
  • Each type of tar has its unique properties, making it important to know the type of tar that has stained your clothing to determine the best removal method.
  • Impact of tar on fabric and color fastness:
  • Tar stains can cause discoloration and damage to fabric fibers, impacting the color fastness of the clothing.
  • The sticky residue can attract more dirt and dust particles, making the stain worse over time.
  • It is essential to remove tar stains as soon as possible to avoid any permanent damage to the fabric.

Pre-Treatment Of Tar Stains

Tar stains on clothing can be a real pain to remove, but with a bit of patience and elbow grease, it’s possible to get the job done. Pre-treating the stain is an essential step in the process, as it can help to loosen and dissolve the tar before washing.

You May Also Like:  Uncovering the Truth: Does Cotton Shrink Every Time You Wash It?

In this section, we’ll cover how to identify tar stains, the measures to take before washing, as well as step-by-step guidance for scraping off as much tar as possible and using ice and heat to deal with stubborn stains.

How To Identify Tar Stains On Clothing

Tar stains are typically dark brown or black in color and have a sticky, oily texture. They’re commonly found on shoes, pants, and shirts, particularly those worn to construction sites or similar industrial environments. Tar stains may also be caused by the resin of trees, which can stick to clothes while hiking or doing yard work.

  • Dark, oil-like appearance
  • Stickiness
  • Odor (some individuals find tar has a distinct smell)
  • Location (tar stains may be more common on certain types of clothing, like work boots or work pants)

Measures To Be Taken Before Washing The Clothes

Before washing a garment with a tar stain, there are a few key measures to take that can help to make the stain removal process easier:

  • Remove any excess tar – using a dull knife or spatula, gently scrape off as much tar as possible from the surface of the garment. Avoid rubbing or pressing down on the stain, as this can push the tar deeper into the fibers.
  • Apply a pre-treatment product – there are several pre-treatment products available that can help to dissolve tar stains. Apply the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions and leave it on for the recommended amount of time before laundering.
  • Check the care label – before attempting to remove the stain, check the care label on the garment to ensure that it can be washed or treated with the products you plan to use.

Step-By-Step Guide To Scrape Off As Much Tar As Possible

Scraping off as much tar as possible can be a crucial step in the stain removal process.

  • Place the garment on a flat surface – ideally, you’ll want to work on a surface that you don’t mind getting a bit messy.
  • Grab a dull knife or spatula – use the tool to gently scrape off any excess tar from the surface of the garment.
  • Use a lint roller – after scraping off as much tar as possible, use a lint roller to pick up any remaining bits of tar and debris.
  • Apply a pre-treatment product – follow the product instructions for application and leave it on for the recommended amount of time before laundering.

Using Ice And Heat To Deal With Stubborn Or Old Tar Stains

Stubborn or old tar stains may require a bit more effort and creativity to remove, but it’s still possible to get them out with the following steps:

  • Freeze the garment – place the garment in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for a few hours until the tar hardens.
  • Scrape off the hardened tar – once the tar has hardened, use a dull knife or spatula to gently scrape it off the surface of the garment.
  • Soak the garment in hot water – fill a sink or bucket with hot water (the hottest temperature allowed based on the care label) and soak the garment for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Apply a pre-treatment product – after soaking, apply a pre-treatment product to the stain and let it sit for the recommended amount of time before laundering.
You May Also Like:  How to Roll Clothes for Packing: The Expert Guide.

By following these pre-treatment steps and using a bit of elbow grease, you can get tar stains out of your clothes and keep them looking as good as new.

Effective Cleaning Solutions

Getting tar out of your clothing can be an overwhelming task, and dealing with it in the wrong way can lead to permanent damage to your favorite clothes. Therefore, it is essential to use the right cleaning agents and remedies to remove the stubborn tar stains effectively.

Here, we will discuss some of the best methods to get tar out of clothes.

Overview Of Different Cleaning Agents That Work Best On Tar Stains

When it comes to removing tar stains from clothes, specific cleaning agents are highly effective.

  • Solvents: Solvents like rubbing alcohol, acetone, and nail polish remover are effective at removing tar stains from clothes. Use a clean, white cloth to apply the solvent to the affected area, and gently rub in a circular motion. Be sure to work from the outside of the stain towards the center to prevent any spreading of the stain.
  • Dishwashing liquid: Dishwashing liquid is another effective cleaning agent that helps to break down the tar stains. Mix dishwashing liquid with warm water, and using a clean white cloth, gently blot the stain. After blotting the area, rinse it with cold water to remove any residual soap.
  • Wd-40: Wd-40 is a popular cleaning agent that can be used to remove tar stains from fabrics. Spray a small amount of wd-40 directly onto the tar stain, and use a clean white cloth to blot the stain gently. After a few minutes, wash the clothing as usual.

Home Remedies For Tar Removal

If you prefer using natural remedies, there are some effective ways to remove tar stains from clothes using household items.

  • Peanut butter: Apply a small amount of peanut butter directly to the tar stain and massage it gently into the affected area. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrape off the tar with a spoon or dull knife. Soak the clothing in warm water and dishwashing liquid to get rid of any leftover oil from the peanut butter.
  • Mayonnaise: Apply a thick layer of mayonnaise onto the tar stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Afterward, using a clean cloth, gently rub the stain until it starts to loosen and come off. Wash your clothing as usual after removing the tar.
  • Vinegar and baking soda: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda to create a paste. Apply the paste directly to the tar stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Afterward, use a clean, damp cloth to gently scrub the stain until it comes off. Wash your clothing as you typically would after removing the tar.

Dos And Don’Ts: What To Avoid While Cleaning Tar Stains From Clothes

While trying to remove tar stains from your clothing, it is crucial to avoid certain things to prevent any further damage to your garments.

  • Do not use hot water to clean your clothing as it can set the tar stain, making it almost impossible to remove.
  • Avoid using bleach as it can cause discoloration and damage the fabric fibers.
  • Do not use a dryer to dry the clothing until you have successfully removed the tar stain. The heat from the dryer can cause the stain to set deeper into the fabric, making it more challenging to remove.
You May Also Like:  Say Goodbye to Shirt Riding Up: Quick Fixes That Work

Safe Usage Of Chemicals And Solvents To Remove Tar From Clothes

While using chemicals and solvents to remove tar stains from your clothing, make sure to follow some safety measures.

  • Always use gloves and ensure proper ventilation while using solvents like acetone and rubbing alcohol, as they can be harmful when inhaled.
  • Never mix chemicals and solvents together, as it can create a dangerous reaction.
  • Always read the label on the cleaning agent to understand how to apply it safely to your clothing.

Removing tar stains from clothes can be a daunting task, but with the right cleaning agents and remedies, it is possible to restore the appearance of your favorite garments. Remember to take the necessary precautions and stay away from harmful chemicals to keep yourself and your clothing safe.

Deep Cleaning Techniques For Tar Stains

When And Why Deep Cleaning Might Be Necessary

Tar stains are a nuisance that can make your favorite clothes appear unattractive. Unfortunately, merely rubbing them with water and soap may not be enough. Deep cleaning a garment may be the only option to remove tough stains like tar effectively.

  • When a tar stain is too stubborn, and a regular wash is not doing the trick.
  • When other remedies have proved less effective.
  • When a garment has spent an extensive period with a tar stain without an attempt to remove it.

How To Use Laundry Detergent To Remove Tar Stains From Clothes

Laundry detergent is a widely available item that you can use to clean tar stains from clothes.

  • Place the fabric on a flat surface.
  • Apply a small amount of laundry detergent directly onto the tar stain.
  • Using a soft-bristled brush, work the detergent into the stain.
  • Allow the detergent to sit on the stain for about fifteen minutes.
  • Rinse the fabric thoroughly with running water. If the stain is light, it might come off completely.
  • If some of the stains are still visible, repeat the process till the stain fades or disappears.

Using A Washing Machine Vs. Hand Washing For Tar Removal

While hand washing can be thorough and effective in removing stains like tar, using a washing machine can save time and effort.

  • Check the garment label to confirm that it is laundry machine safe.
  • Remove any excess tar using a dull butter knife or any other suitable scraping tool.
  • Apply laundry detergent directly onto the stain and let it sit for about twenty minutes.
  • Place the garment in the washing machine and wash with a cold cycle.
  • Check the garment after washing and air dry it.

Importance Of Rinsing And Drying Clothes Thoroughly After Tar Removal

After removing stubborn stains like tar, ensure that you rinse and dry your clothes thoroughly.

  • Rinsing ensures that all the detergent used is removed, preventing skin irritation or damage to the fabric.
  • Drying prevents mold growth on damp items. Ensure that your garment is completely dry before storing it to avoid mildew formation.

Getting tar out of clothes can be challenging, but with the right tools and techniques, you can restore your clothes to their former glory.


To sum up, getting tar out of clothes can be a challenging task, but it’s not impossible. By using the right techniques and following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can easily remove tar stains from your clothes.

You can try using common household items like vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and baking soda, or you can opt for commercial stain removers for more serious stains. It’s important to take quick action when removing tar stains to ensure they don’t set in.

Remember to always test a patch of your clothing before using any new product to avoid any damage or discoloration. With a little patience and the right approach, you can restore your clothes to their former glory and get rid of any unwanted tar stains.