black stain on pants

How to Remove Tar From Clothes

Have you ever accidentally brushed up against some wet tar and ended up with a frustratingly stubborn stain on your clothes?

Tar is a thick, black, sticky substance that is commonly used in road construction and other industrial applications.

Unfortunately, it can easily transfer onto your clothing and create an unsightly mess that seems impossible to remove.

But don’t worry, there’s hope!

In this article, we’ll guide you through some simple yet effective steps for getting rid of those pesky tar stains and restoring your clothes to their former glory.

From pre-treating the stain to choosing the right washing detergent, we’ll cover all the tips and tricks you need to know to remove tar from clothes.

Whether you’re dealing with a small stain or a larger mess, our guide will help you tackle it with ease.

So, if you’re ready to say goodbye to those unsightly tar stains and hello to clean, fresh-smelling clothes, let’s dive in!


Pre-Treating Methods Tar Stains

tar stain on shirt

Before washing your tar-stained clothes, it’s important to pre-treat the stain to loosen the tar and make it easier to remove.

Here are some effective pre-treatment methods to try:

Method 1: Scrape off excess tar using a plastic or metal scraper

You can use a plastic or metal scraper to gently scrape off any excess tar from the clothes.

Be careful not to push the tar deeper into the fabric or spread it to other areas of the clothing.


Method 2: Freeze the clothes to harden the tar

Place the tar-stained clothes in the freezer for a couple of hours or until the tar hardens.

This will make it easier to remove without spreading the stain.

Once the tar has hardened, use a plastic scraper to gently remove as much of it as possible.


Method 3: Apply a pre-treatment solution

Another way to pre-treat tar stains is to apply a pre-treatment solution such as washing up liquid, laundry detergent, or a specialised stain remover to the affected area.

Gently rub the solution into the stain with a soft-bristled brush or sponge, making sure to cover the entire area.

Allow the solution to sit for 5-10 minutes to penetrate the stain before washing.

By pre-treating the tar stain with one of these methods, you’ll increase your chances of successfully removing the stain during the washing process.

Remember to always check the care label on your clothing before attempting any pre-treatment method to ensure it’s safe for the fabric.


Washing Tar-Stained Clothes

pants with black stain in washing machine

Now that you’ve pre-treated the tar stain, it’s time to get those clothes washed!

Follow these simple steps for the best chance of getting rid of that irritating stain:

1. Choose the right detergent

First things first, make sure you’ve got the right kind of laundry detergent. 

You’ll want to use a heavy-duty laundry detergent that’s designed to tackle tough stains. 

Look for one that’s got enzymes or surfactants in it. These are the ingredients that’ll help to break down the tar and lift it from the fabric.


2. Wash on the hottest setting possible 

Next, set your washing machine to the hottest water temperature that’s safe for the fabric of your clothes. 

Hot water is great at breaking down stains, but be careful not to use water that’s too hot or you could end up damaging your clothes.


3. Use a stain remover product

To give your clothes an extra boost of stain-fighting power, consider using a stain remover product along with your laundry detergent.

Look for one that’s designed specifically for tar stains or for heavy-duty stains in general.

Apply the product directly to the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes before washing.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to banishing that tar stain from your clothes for good.

Just remember to always check the care label on your clothing before washing and to use caution when handling hot water or stain remover products.


Alternative Methods for Removing Tar Stains

If the pre-treatment and washing methods we’ve covered so far haven’t quite done the trick, don’t worry – there are still some other things you can try to remove that pesky tar stain.

1. Rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover

remove tar with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover

Rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover can be effective at breaking down tar stains, especially if they’re fresh. Just be careful not to use too much, as these products can also damage certain fabrics. 

Apply the alcohol or nail polish remover to a clean cloth and gently dab at the stain, working from the outside in.


2. Vinegar or bicarbonate of soda

remove tar with vinegar or bicarbonate of soda

Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda are both powerful cleaning agents that can help to loosen tar stains. 

Mix equal parts vinegar and water, or bicarbonate of soda and water, and apply the mixture to the stain. 

Let it sit for a few minutes before washing as usual.


3. Take it to a professional

professional dry cleaning

If all else fails, you may want to consider taking your clothes to a professional cleaner.

They’ll have access to specialised cleaning equipment and solutions that can effectively remove even the toughest of stains.

Remember, every stain is different and may require a different approach.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods until you find the one that works best for you.

And most importantly, don’t give up – with a little patience and persistence, you can conquer even the most stubborn tar stain!


Preventing Tar Stains

black stain on clothes

Nobody wants to deal with a tar stain on their clothes, but the best way to avoid it is to take preventive measures.

If you’re working with tar or in an area where it’s present, it’s important to protect your clothes as much as possible.

You may want to consider wearing old clothes that you don’t care about or investing in some protective clothing if you work with tar often.

Also, covering surfaces that could come into contact with tar, such as floors, tables, and shoes, with a drop cloth or plastic sheet is a simple way to prevent stains from happening.

If you do happen to spill tar on your clothes, the key is to clean it up as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove the stain.

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the chances of getting a tar stain on your clothes.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure, but if a tar stain does occur, don’t panic!

With the tips we’ve shared in this article, you’ll be able to remove it quickly and effectively.



And there you have it – everything you need to know to remove tar stains from your clothes!

Whether you’re dealing with fresh or old stains, on light or dark fabrics, there’s a solution for every situation.

Remember to pre-treat the stain, wash it in hot water with a heavy-duty laundry detergent, and use alternative methods if necessary.

And, of course, try to avoid getting tar on your clothes in the first place by wearing protective clothing, covering surfaces, and cleaning up spills right away.

Don’t let a tar stain ruin your clothes. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to remove it like a pro.

With a bit of determination and a willingness to try different methods, you’ll soon have your clothes looking as good as new!