Working as a mechanic, in construction or landscaping leaves work clothing dirty, greasy and grimy. Some employers provide their workers with uniforms while other workers have to provide their own clothing. The two most popular choices for work wear clothing are Carhartt and Dickies. Both manufacturers make a variety of clothing including, pants, shirts and jackets. Some workers choose to wear jeans and a t-shirt, no special brand just work-clothes. Whatever the worker wears, stains are likely.

Auto mechanics may come home covered in grease or oil. Construction workers have a variety of stains on their work-clothes including dirt and oil. Landscapers typically have ground in mud and grass stains. After washing work-clothes, many times it looks as if the clothing is just as dirty coming out of the washing machine as it was going in – which is probably true if you didn’t properly treat stains and wash the work-clothes correctly.

Carhartt, Dickies and All Other work-clothes

Sort the work-clothes into like fabric weights and colors.

Examine them for dirt-stains, which will typically be every item in the laundry basket.

Wait to launder until you have enough items to do a load. Never wash work-clothes with other clothing because you can easily stain the other clothing. Only wash work-clothes together.

Removing Grease-Stains from Dickies, Carhartt

There are several good choices that are effective in removing grease and oil. Some are more effective than others depending on the type of oil or grease. Begin with the easiest one for you and progress to others if they do not remove the stain to your satisfaction.

Carpet-Stain Remover

Spray carpet-stain remover onto the grease or oil stains.

Work the carpet-stain remover into the fabric with a soft bristle scrub brush or damp rag.

Wash the clothing in the hottest water safe for the fabric.


Spray the oil and grease stains with WD-40 until the stain is saturated.

Let the WD-40 remain on the stain for 10 to 15 minutes.

Squirt grease fighting liquid dish detergent onto the stain. Do not use dishwasher detergent – you will remove the color from your work-clothes.

Dampen a rag with water.

Rub the dish soap into the stain working from the outer edges of the stain in toward the middle. Do not rub back and forth or you may smear the stain and make it bigger.

Wash the work-clothes in the hottest water safe for the fabric and laundry detergent in the washing machine.

Hand Cleaner

Borrow some of your mechanics waterless hand cleaner or buy it at an automotive supply store.

Dip a rag or soft bristle brush into the hand cleaner and work it into the stain, beginning at the outer edge of the stain and working to the middle.

Let the hand cleaner remain on the stain for 10 to 15 minutes.

Launder as usual using the hottest water that is safe for the fabric.

Dust and Mud

Oftentimes heavily stained dusty and muddy work-clothes require more than one trip to the washing machine.

Place the soiled work-clothes into the washer. Don’t overstuff the washing machine. The clothes need plenty of room to float around and agitate.

Add ¾ cup of Twenty Mule Team Borax and ¾ cup of washing soda.

Run them through a cycle with the hottest water that is safe for the clothing.

Remove the work-clothes from the washing machine.

Treat oil or grease stains using one of the above mentioned stain removal treatments.

Wash a second time with laundry detergent.

Blood Stains on work-clothes

Hey every mechanic, construction worker, landscaper, plumbers and other professions that wear work-clothes get a nick or cut sometimes.

Saturate the blood stain with plain water.

Sprinkle on unseasoned meat tenderizer on the blood stain.

Let the meat tenderizer remain on the blood stain for three to four hours or overnight.

Wash the work-clothes with cold water in a washing machine with laundry detergent.

Carhartt Care

T-shirts, Pants, Thermals, Woven shirts – wash in warm water with laundry detergent and dry in a clothes dryer on a low heat setting.

Hoodies, Sweatshirts, Sweatpants and Jeans – wash in cold water with laundry detergent and tumble dry on low in a clothes dryer.

Overalls, Coveralls and Jackets – machine wash with laundry detergent in cold water. Hang the Carhartt items to air dry.

Do not use fabric softener, chlorine or peroxide bleach, dryer sheets, starch or sizing on Carhartt work-clothes.

Dickies Care

Most Dickies work clothing is machine wash in warm or cold water in a washing machine and tumble dry low.

Each Dickies item has its own laundry care label sewn into the garment, follow the specific directions for the piece.

Many Dickies items come pretreated with ScotchGuard to prevent stains from setting into the fabric.

Laundry Care and Stain-Removal Tips

If the clothes look like one big oil, grease, dust or dirt stain, add 1 can of Coke to the wash water.

Examine the work-clothes for signs of the stain, if any stains remain do not put the clothing in the dryer because you can permanently set the stain into the fabric.

Do not iron work-clothes that have stains. Just as the heat of a clothes dryer can set the stain permanently into the fabric so can the heat of a clothes iron.

Do not use fabric softener on work-clothes that are fire retardant. Fabric softener breaks down the fire retardant chemicals and they lose their effectiveness.

Do not wash Carhartt, Dickies or any other type of work-clothes with towels, socks or other types of clothing. Towels and socks will leave a layer of lint all over the surface of the clothes, which most times requires a second washing and drying to remove.

Wash work-clothes after each wear especially if you are particularly dirty, sweaty or greasy. Its very important to wash clothes worn when performing any sort of plumbing work because of the high amount of germs and bacteria the clothing may catch and hold.