Remove WD-40 smell from laundry.
May 30, 2012 11:08 AM   Subscribe

How do I get WD-40 smell out of clothes?

I had a crayon go through the dryer and followed the recommendation to saturate the stains with WD-40, spraying some on each red crayon spot of each piece, almost every piece in the load had at least some crayon on it. Then I started running the load through the washer repeatedly with lots of detergent, both dish soap and laundry soap as per the internets. It's worked pretty well, some of the pieces are obviously ruined, but some I can't find any evidence of red crayon.

However the strong smell of WD-40 pervades and I'm starting to worry it will never go away. What can I add to the washer to neutralize and get rid of the WD-40 smell in the clothes?

If nothing else, let this be a warning to the next person to try to get the crayon out. I wish I would have followed this advice specifically: Using WD-40 to soften it up, then scrubbing with a brush and dish soap and rinsing manually before putting it through the washer again.
posted by jacobsee to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Coca Cola is my go-to smell remover. Add a full two liter bottle to a top loader, less in a front loader. It takes out all manner of nasties, although I've never tried it specifically on oil.
posted by fshgrl at 11:30 AM on May 30, 2012

Try white vinegar. I would start with 1/4 cup in a full load. Add it while the washer is filling. It was somewhat helpful for me in getting the smell of diesel fuel out of a coat. *Somewhat* helpful in that people who don't know about the spill can't smell diesel, but I can still smell it faintly.
posted by scratch at 11:54 AM on May 30, 2012


But I've done a white vinegar/peroxide soak for smelly sweat (oil based).
posted by tilde at 12:01 PM on May 30, 2012

It's an oil, so use something that busts oil. I suggest a squirt of dish soap in your washing machine when you launder it. Not a big one -- you don't want suds everywhere. Just a squirt, the kind you make by squeezing the bottle with your whole hand for the amount of time it takes to say "squirt."

That usually does it for me.
posted by OrangeDisk at 12:53 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

A tablespoon or two of dawn dishsoap in the washing machine and run everything through again. It's a great grease buster, I've used it to get car grease & oil off of clothes that way. Don't put too much in or you'll have suds everywhere.
posted by wwax at 1:25 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use Odoban to get differential fluid smell out of my clothes after working on my cars. It is possibly the worst-smelling, longest-lasting thing I've ever had on me and throwing the clothes in the wash with some Odoban usually knocks it out.

But some of these home remedies sound great, too.
posted by InsanePenguin at 1:31 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use Goo-Gone orange-based sticky stuff remover to get out petroleum-based stains and smells. Typically I'd put the clothes in a bucket, top with a few generous glugs of goo-gone, and then fill with warm water. Allow to soak overnight, then dump the whole thing in the washing machine, add detergent and wash normally. Works on gasoline, anyhow.
posted by jon1270 at 1:33 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've been using ammonia to get the smell of fabric softener out of clothes/bedding and it works really well. The ammonia works where nothing else did, evidently because it has the ability to cut the grease. Dawn dishsoap works because it contains ammonia, but it also has its own perfumes. I'd just go straight to the ammonia.
posted by HotToddy at 2:04 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try running the laundry with a capful (or two) of concentrated Lysol cleaner.

You might also the same with some Simple Green. Or ammonia (a good heaping cup or pint, depending on the size of the load.)

The problem with washing out WD40 is that it doesn't really mix with water, so you need a fairly powerful degreaser to dissolve it.

In the future, what you want to do is treat the WD40 spots with Shout or undiluted laundry detergent prior to laundering, and then additionally using a water sprayer to rinse out each spot, and then launder it. The goal being to put as little WD40 into the washer as possible.
posted by gjc at 2:07 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Goo-gone or similar. Alternately, take them to the dry-cleaner.

Soaps aren't very good at removing residual hydrocarbons particularly from synthetic fabrics. The oils prefer to remain on the fabric rather than partition into the soapy water. It will take many washings with soap/ammonia/vinegar etc... for the smell to go away.
posted by bonehead at 2:16 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

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