How to Get Creosote Out of Clothes, Carpet, & Washer

Creosote is a sticky, tar-like substance that comes from burning wood. It can also be called coal tar or creosote oil. If you have been around a fire and have gotten creosote on your clothes, it will be necessary to take some special steps in order to remove the stain.

Oil-based substances are the best way to remove creosote from clothes because oil dissolves oil. Treat the affected area of the garment in olive oil, WD-40, butter, lard, or chicken fat. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then wash as normal with detergent.

How to Get Creosote Out of Clothes

What Is Creosote?

Creosote is a brown or black substance that can build up inside chimneys, causing chimney fires.

Creosote is a chemical compound that is formed by the evaporation of various chemicals with high carbon content. It can be found in the smoke produced by burning wood and other organic substances, which condense in the cold environment of a chimney.

Is Creosote Toxic?

Creosote can be toxic to humans and animals and can cause severe damage to the respiratory system. Creosote also has a foul odor that is difficult to remove from fabrics. It is also harmful if it comes in contact with your skin or eyes. If you are exposed to creosote, you should bathe immediately.

Does Creosote Wash Out?

Creosote will wash out of clothing, but it takes some time. Even after several washes, creosote can remain visible on certain fabrics. If you add a little bleach to the affected area, it should fade.

What Dissolves Creosote?

Creosote is a compound that forms when wood and coal are burned. It can be extremely difficult to remove once it has dried, but it is possible.

Creosote can be treated with oil-based substances such as WD-40, olive oil, butter, lard, and chicken fat. These oil-based substances act as heavy creosote and when combined, they will lift off creosote stains from the fabric making them easier to remove.

Other ideas for treating creosote stains include using bleach and industrial cleaners that will dissolve and pull out any excess creosote on your clothing items. Because bleach can damage fabrics and cause discoloration, always test an inconspicuous area of your garment to ensure that it will not cause bleaching of the fabric.

How to Get Creosote Out of Clothes

Removing creosote stains from clothes is a bit trickier than removing them from a wall. This oily substance spreads easily and can get into the fibers of a fabric.

Stains like creosote are easier to remove when they are fresh, but you can also treat old stains if you act quickly.

Here’s how to remove creosote from clothes in four easy steps:

Pretreat the stains

Treating Creosote can be treated with oil-based substances such as WD-40, olive oil, butter, lard, and chicken fat. When combined, they will lift off creosote stains from the fabric making them easier to remove.

Wipe of the substance

Then wipe off as much of the substance as possible with a dry cloth. Do not rub it into the fabric, instead, wipe towards the threads. If your garment has a tag that states dry cleaning only, take it to a professional cleaner to avoid damaging your clothes.

Apply heavy-duty detergent

Apply a good heavy-duty detergent and some warm water and work the soap into the stain. Work from back to front, rubbing in circles to loosen any residue left behind from the creosote.

Rinse the garment

Rinse the garment and repeat until the area looks clean. Rinse with cool water and check for signs that the stain is gone before drying your clothing on high heat (which can set in stains). Repeat this process until you’re satisfied.

Wash as usual

Wash the clothing in the washer, using cold water and detergent as usual. Check if there is no residue remaining.

How to Get Rid of Creosote Smell from Clothes

  1. Fill a bucket with warm water, then add ¼ cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of Borax to the water.
  2. Soak clothes for at least one hour in the mixture.
  3. Apply a small amount of dish detergent directly onto the creosote stain and work it into a lather using your fingers or a sponge.
  4. Allow the detergent to sit for five minutes, then rinse off any remaining detergent with water.
  5. Wash them in the washing machine using laundry detergent.
  6. Check to ensure the creosote smell is completely removed from your clothing.
  7. Dry the garment either by air or dryer.

How Do You Get Creosote Out of Carpet?

Removing creosote from carpeting can be done using a few household items. 

  1. The first step in removing creosote stains from carpeting is to remove as much as you can with a butter knife or spoon.
  2. Once you have removed as much creosote as you can, apply solvents such as rubbing alcohol or vinegar. Either will do the trick.
  3. Once you’ve applied the solvent, brush it into the carpet with an old toothbrush. 
  4. Soak up as much the remaining moisture as possible with paper towels and allow the area to dry naturally.
  5. You may need to repeat this process several times depending on how stubborn or deep-set the stain is.

How to Remove Creosote from Concrete

If you accidentally spill creosote on concrete or other non-absorbent surfaces, moisten it with water and scrub it off as soon as it spills. You can also clean up dry creosote by scrubbing it with a moistened brush, or even sanding it or scraping it with a putty knife.

If the creosote is still wet when you discover the spill, pour white spirit onto the stain and leave it to work for a few minutes. Then use a stiff brush to scrub the creosote away, ensuring that you remove all of the oil so that it will not ooze back to the surface of the concrete once dry. Once you have cleaned all of the oil from the concrete, rinse the area with clean water and allow it to dry naturally.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are multiple methods of removing creosote stains from clothes. Every method that we discussed should be sufficient in removing the creosote stain, but some methods may work better than others. The most effective way to remove creosote is to act quickly upon the stain, as it can become more difficult to clean over time. 

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