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Oil Stain Removal From Pilot Shirts

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Well-known member
Nov 30, 2001
I've ruined many a fine aviator shirt from oil drips during preflight. Any ideas on stain removal of Exxon 2380 turbo oil or its equivilant? Or should I just buy a new shirt? Thanks!
I have used Ivory bar soap in the past and it works reasonably well. In fact, I carry it in my overnight bag just in case I need it.

Its the same Ivory soap you would use for washing your hands or in the shower. Just rub the soap against the spot with some hot water (in a sink) then use your fingernail to work out the stain. It works for me.
JetProp said:
I've ruined many a fine aviator shirt from oil drips during preflight. Any ideas on stain removal of Exxon 2380 turbo oil or its equivilant? Or should I just buy a new shirt? Thanks!

Go to the store and buy MURPHY'S OIL SOAP. It is sold in a spray bottle and a bottle of non diluted with a regular twist off cap. You want the non diluted. It is wood cleaner, but it works wonders on clothes, for just about any type of stain. Scrub the drips with an old toothbrush generously covered in the oil soap. (If necessary soak the spot in a little murphys) Then stick it in the wash machine with the rest of your clothes on regular cycle.

Disclaimer... This works, but use care on colored (especially dark) shirts. I would not recommend the soaking of colored shirts, for fear that they might not be colored any more if soaked for too long. With white shirts be generous. And as always, as long as you have not dried your shirt in the clothes dryer (or over heat) you can still wash it again to get your stain out even if it does not come out the first time.

Try GoJo, that stuff in an orange can that doesn't need water. Smear it on the stain and then wash it. It also works pretty well for ring around the collar.
Gojo works. THe white stuff is better than the orange, and not as likely to stain. Don't let it sit too long.

Stain stick.

Coca cola, believe it or not. Test it on something that's similiar with respect to fabric, but that doesn't cost a lot, or test it on a hidden part of the shirt. Let it sit for a while, but don't let it dry. Sometimes it's useful to soak the item first, wring it out, and then pour coke on it. You'd be surprised what coke will take out. (works well on blood, too).

If you're removing oil, be sure you're happy with the shirt before you dry it, because once it's been dried, it's set for life. I have lots of clothing stained with H-5606 and 120 weight oil as a testiment to a grungy life around airplanes, and mistakes made laundering clothes. (In fact, with the exception of my "office" clothes and the sunday monkey suit, everything I own bears distinct evidence of airplane contamination).

Personally, I believe white shirts around airplanes are a MISTAKE.
Being that I fly round engine airplanes, I'm probably more familiar with oil stains than most (Avbug can relate) I've found two products which work well:

Simple Green, and Jobmaster cleaner/degreaser (get it at Costco or Janitorial supply places) I usually take my oily clothes, spray the stains with a spray bottle, scrub the stains with a scrub brush, then let them soak overnight in a bucket filled with water and the degreaser or simple green. After soaking, I may scrub the stains some more with a brush, then I wash them normally. This will take some of the color out of the fabric, and I don't know how it works on white, as I don't wear white around our airplanes. I think that one of the keys to getting the stain out is vigorous scrubbing. For hotel room stain removal, pack an old toothbrush, the stiffer the bristles, the better.

Clean shirts to ya
I have found that Fels-Naptha soap works great on the various types of grease you encounter under the Be1900. It comes in orange bars and I usually rub some on the spot, work it in with a soft scrub brush, and rinse under the tap. It has saved my shirts several times. It also works on pens that exploded at altitude.
What works removing oil & grease? The same thing that works taking it off your pots & pans!

I use dishwashing fluid and powdered laundry detergent with a tooth brush and rubbing the fabric against itself. Works great on collar stains as well. I find I have to prewash all my pilot shirts paying attention to the collar, pen pocket, shoulder area, and the button holes. This usually will keep the shirt looking pretty good.

I have found this mixture to be somewhat effective on the other big stain... ink as long as it is not too big.

Another ink stain removal tool I have used is Denatured Alcohol. It is best to use a small container and soak the stain, then use fresh alcohol to rinse the remainder off. This can become a bigger mess if you do not accomplish the procedure correctly. It could save you the cost of a new shirt but use with caution!

Well enough of my domestic diatribe, we'll leave the rest to Martha "It's A Good Thing" Stewart!

Have Fun!

I know that it sounds strange but Oil based stains are best removed with oil based solvents or products. "Talking dirty with the Queen of Clean" this book off of Oprah is my information.

I know but my Wife had the remote.

Smoking Man

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