How to Get Transmission Fluid Out of Clothes

Spilling transmission fluid on your clothes can be a real hassle. Transmission fluid is a thick, oily liquid that is used to keep the gears and clutches in your vehicle’s transmission lubricated and operating smoothly. While it’s an essential automotive fluid, it can be a real nightmare to try and get out of fabrics once it soaks in.

The good news is that with the right techniques, it is possible to remove transmission fluid stains from most types of clothing. In this article, we’ll go over the step-by-step process for getting transmission fluid out of clothes, as well as provide some tips and tricks to make the job a little easier. We’ll cover everything from identifying the stain to using specialized solvents and detergents. By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to tackle even the toughest transmission fluid stain.

How to Get Transmission Fluid Out of Clothes

Identifying the Stain

The first step in removing a transmission fluid stain is to properly identify it. Transmission fluid has a distinct reddish-brown colour and an oily, slick texture. It may also have a faint petroleum-like odour. If you notice any of these characteristics on your clothing, you can be fairly certain that you’re dealing with a transmission fluid stain.

It’s important to act quickly when dealing with a transmission fluid stain, as the longer the fluid sits, the harder it will be to remove. The sooner you can start the cleaning process, the better your chances of getting the stain out completely.

Pretreating the Stain

Once you’ve identified the stain, the next step is to pretreat it. This involves applying a stain-fighting product directly to the affected area before washing. There are a few different options for pretreating transmission fluid stains:

  1. Dish soap – Regular dish soap, like Dawn or Palmolive, can be an effective pretreatment for transmission fluid stains. Simply apply a small amount of dish soap directly to the stain and gently rub it in with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush.
  2. Laundry detergent – You can also use a small amount of your regular laundry detergent to pretreat the stain. Rub the detergent into the fabric and let it sit for a few minutes before washing.
  3. Degreasing agents – For tougher transmission fluid stains, you may want to use a specialized degreasing agent. Products like Goo Gone, Goof Off, or citrus-based degreasers can help break down and lift the oily stain.
  4. Rubbing alcohol – Applying a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the stain can also help dissolve the transmission fluid. Be careful with this method, as rubbing alcohol can damage some delicate fabrics.

Regardless of which pretreatment method you choose, be sure to let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes before washing. This gives the product time to work on breaking down the stain.

Washing the Stained Garment

After pretreating, the next step is to wash the garment. Here are some tips for effectively washing transmission fluid stains:

  • Use the hottest water temperature recommended for the fabric. The heat helps to break down and lift the stain.
  • Add an extra rinse cycle to ensure all the stain-fighting products are thoroughly removed.
  • Consider using an enzyme-based laundry detergent, as the enzymes can help break down the oils in the transmission fluid. Biz Enzyme Booster is a great option.
  • Avoid using fabric softener, as this can actually set the stain.
  • If the stain is still visible after washing, repeat the pretreatment and washing process until it’s fully removed.

It’s also a good idea to check the care label on the garment before washing. Some fabrics, like silk or acetate, may not be able to withstand the heat and agitation required to get out a tough transmission fluid stain. In those cases, you may need to explore other stain removal methods.

Using Solvents and Degreasers

For particularly stubborn transmission fluid stains, you may need to break out the heavy-duty stain removal products. Solvents and degreasers can be highly effective at lifting these types of oil-based stains.

Some good options to try include:

  1. Mineral spirits – Also known as paint thinner, mineral spirits can help dissolve and lift transmission fluid stains. Apply a small amount to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then blot with a clean cloth.
  2. Dry cleaning solvent – Professional dry cleaners often use specialized solvents that are excellent at removing transmission fluid and other oil-based stains. You can find dry cleaning solvent products at some hardware stores or automotive supply shops, like this one from Auroraclean.
  3. Denatured alcohol – Similar to rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol can help break down transmission fluid. Use it sparingly, as it can also damage some fabrics.

When using solvents and degreasers, be sure to test them on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first. This will ensure the product doesn’t cause any discolouration or damage to the fabric. Also, work in a well-ventilated area and avoid getting the products on your skin.

After applying the solvent, blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to lift as much of the transmission fluid as possible. You may need to repeat this process a few times to fully remove the stain.

Once you’ve lifted the main part of the stain, wash the garment as usual using the hottest water temperature recommended. This will help remove any residual solvent or transmission fluid.

Prevention and Future Stain Removal

The best way to deal with transmission fluid stains is to prevent them in the first place. Always be cautious when working with transmission fluid, and take steps to protect your clothing, such as wearing gloves and an apron. If you do accidentally spill transmission fluid, act quickly to blot up as much of the liquid as possible before it has a chance to set into the fabric.

If you do end up with a transmission fluid stain, remember these key tips for successful removal:

  • Identify the stain quickly and start the cleaning process right away
  • Pretreat the stain with dish soap, laundry detergent, or a degreasing agent
  • Wash the garment using the hottest water temperature recommended
  • Consider using solvents or degreasers for tough, set-in stains
  • Check clothing care labels and test products on a small area first
  • Be patient and persistent – it may take multiple rounds of pretreatment and washing to fully remove the stain

With the right techniques and products, you can successfully remove even the most stubborn transmission fluid stains from your clothes. By acting quickly and utilizing the right stain-fighting methods, you can get your garments looking good as new in no time.

Here are some additional tips and product recommendations to help you tackle transmission fluid stains:

Stain Removal Products

  • OxiClean MaxForce Spray – A powerful spray-on stain remover that can help lift oil-based stains like transmission fluid.
  • Persil ProClean Liquid Detergent – An enzyme-based detergent that is great for breaking down tough stains.
  • Lestoil Heavy Duty Cleaner – A versatile cleaner that can remove grease, oil, and other stubborn stains.

Cleaning Tips

  • Use a clean, white cloth or paper towel to blot the stain and lift as much of the transmission fluid as possible before washing.
  • For delicate fabrics, try spot-cleaning the stain with a small amount of solvent or degreaser, then follow up with a gentle hand wash.
  • Hang or lay the garment flat to air dry, rather than putting it in the dryer, as the heat can further set the stain.
  • If the stain persists after multiple washing attempts, you may need to take the garment to a professional cleaner.

By following these steps and utilizing the right products, you can effectively remove even the toughest transmission fluid stains from your clothes. With a little elbow grease and persistence, you’ll have your garments looking good as new in no time.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.

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