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DIY Tar Removers: Lard Will Do It! Plus More Tips

Posted By Tipnut On September 28, 2011 @ 11:34 am In Fixes & How-To | 4 Comments

Here’s a list of items I’ve collected over the years that can help remove splatters from vehicles, upholstery, soles of shoes and other items.

AsphaltBefore Getting Started:

  • Ensure that a surface’s paint, color or finish won’t be damaged by first testing a hidden area before going full steam ahead with a treatment.
  • It’s also important to try to clean off the tar as soon as possible, it can cause permanent damage and make it more difficult to get rid of the longer it is in contact with an item.
  • Do not spray or wash stain with water as this makes it more stubborn.

Fixes To Try

  • Before applying one of the items below, scrape off as much as you can with a putty knife or blunt knife (a plastic scraper works too).
  • If treating clothing or cloth items, treat from behind if possible (with stain face down on clean cotton towel), blot and do not rub as it may spread stain or set it in deeper.


Directions: Smother stain generously with one of the below items and then allow the item to work on softening things up first (about an hour or so). If this works, wash item well with soap and water to wash away all traces of the softener and any residue.

  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lard
  • Margarine
  • Mineral oil
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Suntan lotion
  • Vegetable oil

If tar has been lifted but a stain remains, proceed to the list of solvents below (do not wash item with soap and water until after solvent treatment).


*Careful! These are flammable and item must be carefully washed after treatment.

Directions: Soak a corner of a rag with solvent then apply to stain in a dabbing or blotting motion.

  • Gasoline
  • Kerosene
  • Lighter fluid
  • Turpentine
  • WD-40

For thick splatters: Hold an ice cube against spot and keep it there until the stuff becomes brittle enough that it can be gently pried off with a putty knife or spatula.

Remember to wash item well with soap and water when you’re done to get rid of all traces of solvent and softener.

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