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How to get tar stains out of clothes

Updated February 21, 2017

Tar is a necessity in everything from road work to home improvement projects. With so many applications, it's no surprise that an encounter with tar results in stained clothing. Unfortunately, tar stains can be incredibly difficult to remove. Some will even require a professional's care. Before you spend the money on a dry cleaner, however, you may be able to successfully remove tar stains inexpensively at home.

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Scrape off excess tar with a butter knife.

Turn the stain face down onto several layers of paper towels. Blot the stain from the back with a dry cleaning solvent and a clean cloth.

Launder the garment using the hottest water it can stand. Check your garment's care tag if you are unsure.

Allow the garment to air dry. If faint traces of tar stain remain, try soaking the garment in a solution of bleach and water.


Light tar stains may only necessitate a pretreatment with a heavy-duty washing powder before washing.

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Things You'll Need

  • Butter knife
  • Clean cloths
  • Dry cleaning solvent

About the Author

Sophie Levant is a freelance writer based in Michigan. Having attended Michigan State University, her interests include history classical music, travel, and the German language. Her work has been published at eHow and Travels.

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