How to Remove Oil Stains from Your Carpets and Rugs
Keeping your carpets clean, beautiful, and stain-free can be a daunting task. Ask anyone who faces this problem. Some stains are naturally easier to remove than others.
Of the many different types of stains, oil and grease stains are some real sticklers. Removing them from your carpets and rugs is tricky but possible if you know what to do.
Oil-based liquids like cooking oils and hand lotion can soak into carpet fibers quickly, and they leave behind ugly, greasy stains. Even small oil spots from dirty shoes or fast food spills can cause permanent stains if they are not promptly treated.
Old or stubborn stains usually require professional cleaning, but you can save money by tackling new or light stains yourself.
With a few household products from your kitchen or medicine cabinet, some "elbow grease," and a little bit of time, you can remove oil stains from your carpets and rugs.
Here are ten easy steps for removing oil and grease stains. After they are treated and the carpet fibers are dry, run a vacuum as usual. Then stand back and admire your clean, beautiful, and stain-free carpets and rugs.
Dry Cleaning Solvent
Dry cleaning solvent formulated for grease, wax, oily foods, paint, crayons, tar, lipstick and motor oil.
Cleaning Items Needed
- Spoon or butter knife
- Bowl or small container
- Towels / newspapers / paper bags
- Cornstarch or baby powder
- Soft brush or toothbrush
- Vacuum cleaner
- Grease-cutting dish soap
- White vinegar
- White wash cloths
- Clean towels
Optional Cleaning Items
- Dry cleaning solvent
- Measuring cup
- Table Salt
- Wide tooth comb
Alternate Method (Steps 6-10)
6. Create a non-toxic paste of table salt, borax, and white vinegar (one-quarter cup each).
7. Gently rub the paste into the oil stain, and let it sit for a few hours.
8. Vacuum the dried paste and remaining oil stain debris.
9. Blot the carpet with a damp cloth and allow it to dry completely.
10. Run a wide tooth comb through the clean, dry fibers to fluff up the carpet.
Oil Stain Removal Steps
1. Use a spoon or butter knife to remove oil-based material or grease from the top of the carpet. Collect the debris in a bowl or other small container.
2. Soak up the remaining oil with a towel, paper bag, or newspaper. Gently press the absorbent material into the carpet, but use care with newspaper to avoid transferring ink to the carpet.
3. Pour cornstarch or baby powder onto the carpet to cover the oil stain. Use a soft brush to gently work it into the carpet fibers.
4. Allow the cornstarch or powder to cover the stain for at least 30 minutes before vacuuming the area with a household vacuum cleaner.
5. For large spills, repeat steps 3 and 4.
6. Apply a few drops of grease-fighting dish soap to the stain. Add a little white vinegar for extra cleaning power. Use your fingers to create a thin layer of liquid over the stain.
7. Gently work the dish washing liquid into the carpet fibers with a soft brush or old toothbrush.
8. Remove the soap with wash cloths and a small amount of water. White wash cloths are best, since they allow you to see your progress.
9. Repeat until all of the soap and water is removed from the carpet. Avoid scrubbing or wiping as you work, since this may spread the stain.
10. Press clean towels into the carpet to absorb excess water. Allow the area to dry completely, then run a vacuum over the carpet.
More Tips to Remove Oil Stains from Your Carpets
- Treat oil stains quickly, before carpet fibers absorb the oil.
- Blot rather than scrub, to avoid spreading the stain or damaging the carpet.
- Speed up the drying process with a room fan or dehumidifier.
- If household products are ineffective, use a dry cleaning solvent.
- Keep children and pets away from carpet cleaning solutions and pastes.
Oil Removal Advice from a Professional Carpet Cleaner
Reference Sources / Further Reading
- Eartheasy staff. "Non-Toxic Home Cleaning." Eartheasy: Solutions for Sustainable Living. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
- Haynes, Ron. "How to Remove Stains from Carpets." The Wisdom Journal. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
- How to Clean Stuff staff. "How to Remove Oil Stains from Carpet." How to Clean Stuff. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
- Mrs. Clean staff. "How to Remove Carpet Stains." Mrs. Clean House Cleaning and Maid Service. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
Copyright © 2012. Annette R. Smith. All rights reserved.
Published: March 7, 2012 / Modified: April 2, 2013.
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