How to Clean Hydraulic Fluid Off a Car With 3 Effective Ways

Hydraulic fluid can be a real pain to get off your car. You might think it’s easy, but it’s actually very hard to remove. Hydraulic fluid is toxic and will leach out of the parts you’re cleaning and into the environment, so you need to clean with extra care.

The best way to clean hydraulic fluid off a car is by using a pressure washer. This can be effective if you have access to water with a high enough pressure rating. You can also use soap and water.

There are many different ways to clean hydraulic fluid off a car. They all have pros and cons, but the best method depends on the fluid you’re removing. Continue below and learn the steps to remove these stains from your car.

Can You Wash Off Hydraulic Oil?

Hydraulic fluid can be cleaned off your car by using soapy water and a soft toothbrush. Use a clean rag or towel to dry the paint, then repeat as needed. If you try to use soap on your paint, it will only make the problem worse.

Does Hydraulic Fluid Damage Paint?

Hydraulic fluid is not good for your paint because it contains solvents that can damage it. However, if you’re careful not to get any of the fluid on your car’s finish, it should be fine. Just make sure that any excess fluid remains at the bottom of your garage or driveway until you can take care of it properly.

Things You’ll Need

  • Gloves
  • Dish soap
  • Cat litter
  • Newspaper
  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Garbage bag
  • Grease-lifting dish detergent
  • Hard-bristled scrub brush
  • Hose

How to Clean Hydraulic Fluid Off a Car

When it comes to cleaning hydraulic fluid off a car, you have a variety of options. You can use dish soap and water or you can use other materials like acetone, ammonia, ammonia, and alcohol. The choice is yours.

Method #1: Using Soap and Water

Soap and water is a safe way to clean hydraulic fluid off your car. The soap acts as an emulsifier, so it will help break up the oil and grease that are embedded in the fluid.


  • Fill an empty bucket with warm soapy water (1/2 gallon or 3 cups).
  • Add a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent per gallon of soapy water (3 teaspoons of dishwashing liquid per gallon of soapy water).
  • Stir until all lumps are mixed completely.
  • Use a soft paintbrush or rag to apply soap solution directly onto the hydraulic fluid stains, then gently rub in circular motions for about two minutes per spot, until all stains are gone.
  • Repeat until all are removed.


For best results, treat the stain off the car as soon as possible. If the stain sits for a long period, it will become much harder to remove.

Method #2: Using Cat Litter

Cat litter is an excellent cleaning agent when it comes to hydraulic fluid. The cat litter will absorb all of the hydraulic fluid, leaving your car completely clean.

  • Just place a thin layer of cat litter over the stains and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  • Afterward, simply vacuum up any remaining debris with a shop vac or other type of vacuum cleaner.
  • After spraying soap water on the area, wipe it down again with a clean cloth or paper towel so that no more dirt falls into the hole.
  • Next, take out an old toothbrush and scrub out any remaining particles until it’s completely clean.


Always wear gloves when handling hydraulic fluid as it can cause skin irritation.

Method #3: Mr. Pink Foaming Car Wash Soap

This car wash soap is formulated with a unique blend of cutting-edge surfactants and foam boosters that help you remove any dirt or grime without leaving behind any residue or residue. It’s gentle on the paint, so it won’t harm the finish.

The Mr. Pink formula also works well on vinyl, synthetic, and leather interiors as well as exterior surfaces like chrome bumpers and trim pieces.

Mr. Pink is a great choice when you need a gentle soap that doesn’t leave behind any residue or residue while still cleaning your vehicle’s exterior with ease.

Cleaning Hydraulic Fluid FAQs

What Cleans Hydraulic Fluid?

Hydraulic fluid is a mix of oil and water, which makes it easy to clean. You can use soap and water, or even a mild detergent with some bleach. Just be sure to rinse the area thoroughly before you dry it.

Does Hydraulic Fluid Damage Paint?

No, hydraulic fluid won’t damage the paint. It’s not acidic like engine oil and won’t leave behind rust stains either. If you’re worried about damage from hydraulic fluid, try diluting it with water first so it doesn’t have time to soak into your car’s finish before rinsing off.

How Do You Remove Hydraulic Oil Stains?

If you’ve spilled hydraulic fluid on a surface but don’t want to let the stain remain forever, try using a mild detergent or liquid dishwashing soap with just enough bleach in it to help remove the stain (1/4 cup per gallon of water).
Rinse well after you’ve scrubbed up any remaining liquid with warm soapy water (or hydrogen peroxide if you’re worried about leaving residue behind).
Let the area dry completely before applying any wax or sealant coatings (which could trap moisture inside).

Is Hydraulic Fluid Corrosive?

It’s important to know that hydraulic fluid isn’t corrosive like gasoline or diesel fuel. Hydraulic fluid cannot burn under normal conditions. It can boil in extreme heat, but if it does, it will bubble up as steam rather than burning.

Is Hydraulic Fluid Safe to Touch?

If you are concerned about the safety of hydraulic fluid, then you should not touch it or breathe in its fumes. The hydraulic fluid contains harmful chemicals that could be harmful if they come in contact with your skin or eyes. If the hydraulic fluid gets into your eyes or on your skin, then you may need medical help immediately.

What Will Dissolve Hydraulic Fluid?

Hydraulic fluids are composed of a blend of synthetic oils and petroleum base oils. The blend is designed to provide an excellent viscosity index, corrosion resistance, and oxidation stability. Most hydraulic fluids will dissolve when exposed to water or oxygen.

What Can Contaminate Hydraulic Fluid?

Hydraulic fluid may be contaminated by water or air from the atmosphere. Contamination can occur when the hydraulic system is opened or left closed for long periods of time.

Why Does Hydraulic Fluid Turn Milky?

The milky appearance of hydraulic fluid occurs when metals such as iron, copper, zinc, lead and aluminum come in contact with mineral oils. These metals react with mineral oil and create a cloudy substance called precipitation.

You May Also Like