Laying down pavement or roof tar is hot, sweaty, and messy work. However, you can take some effective at-home removal measures to eliminate tar using items you likely already have in your cupboard. Remember never to place a still-stained item into a machine dryer, as the high heat can set the stain and make it permanent. Always wear gloves and a face mask to prevent fume inhalation when handling wet tar. Home dry-cleaning kits are not recommended for removing tar stains.
Click Play to Learn How to Remove Tar Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery
|Stain Type||Resin-based, oil-based|
When to Call a Professional
If your tar-stained garment is marked as dry clean only, visit your dry cleaner as soon as possible and identify the stain.
Equipment / Tools
- Dull knife or scraper
- Soft-bristled brush
- Washing machine
- Face mask
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent or stain remover
- Ice cubes
- Oxygen-based bleach (optional)
How to Remove Tar Stains From Clothes
You can take at-home steps to remove tar stains from your clothing but may need to repeat cleanings several times before the stain is eliminated.
Harden the Tar
Place ice cubes into a plastic bag and then place the bag on the stain to harden the tar. After the tar is hardened, use a dull kitchen knife or the edge of a credit card to scrape away as much of the solid tar as possible.
Apply Stain Remover
Treat the oily component of the stain with an enzyme-based pre-treater or stain remover once you've chipped away the tar. Work in the stain remover with a soft-bristled brush, allowing it to work its way into the fabric for at least 15 minutes.
Apply Heavy-Duty Detergent
Add a heavy-duty liquid detergent containing adequate stain-removing enzymes or a paste made of powdered detergent and water. Scrub the stain lightly with a soft-bristled brush and rinse in hot water. Next, wash as usual in the hottest water advised by the garment's care label. Recommended detergent brands include Tide or Persil.
Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and cool water. OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, or Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach are recommended. Follow the package directions for how much product to add per gallon of water. Completely submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least 8 hours. If the stain is gone, wash as usual. If not, repeat the soaking process.
Additional Tips for Handling Tar Stains
In addition to the above cleaning methods, you can add hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to a dab of detergent and let it rest on the stain. If you don't have ice on hand to harden wet tar, you can apply a bag of frozen vegetables from your freezer to the tar, but be prepared to discard it after use. If you get tar on your hands during cleaning, apply a baking soda paste or exfoliant. Disinfect and bandage any raw areas on your skin. You should be able to remove tar stains at home, but if the stain persists, feel free to contact a professional for more specialized guidance.