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How to Remove the Odor of Transmission Fluid from Fabric

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By StevenMarquis

My Laundry Question

How can the foul odor of Hypoid Gear oil or Transsmission Fluid smell be removed from fabric

Share a Little Background Info

Any mechanic who has worked around vehicles or machinery for long has encounters this trouble. The smell is enduring and resistant to a simple washing.

It can be such a strong smell that you may be reluctant to put it in your washing machine for fear of foiling your machine or tainting subsequent wash loads.

Hypoid heavy gear oil and automatic transmission oil are two of the most stubborn oils to remove all traces of the smell. Hypoid with its sulfur base is the worst offender.

For the worrier about the contamination concern, Prewashing in a tub for the embedded heavy grease problem with something like mechanics hand cleaner is not a bad idea, Spraying a caked heavily soiled area with WD40 is actually a good scheme to cut the grease to where a detergent product can do the rest.

Lessons Learned

  • I threw everything I knew at this Hypoid Oil problem and finally got is to "almost" indiscernible. I did mention stubborn - right!
  • .
  • 1) If particularity soiled, you might want to pre-wash in a tub,
  • 2) Wash in washing machine with maximum detergent, most agitation, hottest setting.
  • 3) Wash a 2nd time with settings as before, but add a good cup of baking soda during the wash cycle and then a good cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle after some water is already there to dilute it a bit. If you can still smell any vinegar, give it a second rinse cycle.
  • 4) Dry under low-med heat. Repeat 3-4 if needed!

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

Generally this is a cotton material - most overalls and Levis are cotton.

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

You've done some great work and I agree with your process! One additional thing to do is after you have washed the clothes and you still have some lingering odor, place the clothes in a sealable plastic container or bag with a box of baking soda. Close the container and leave it for 24 hours. Even more odor will disappear!

Great work!

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