Stain Removal Tips: Removing Motor Oil From Carpet/Upholstery

Follow these easy instructions for effectively removing motor oil stains from carpeting and upholstery. Included are many ideas and tips for stain removal and prevention.

Motor oil stains on carpets and upholstery can be a nightmare. It is important to begin cleaning the area as soon as it is discovered. The longer stains remain on carpets and upholstery, the less likely you will be able to completely remove them.

There are various ways of removing motor oil from carpets and upholstery. The effectiveness of these methods depends largely on the materials in question. Some materials soak up stains, while others somewhat repel them. Read the manufacturer's recommendations before attempting any method of cleaning. Use the method that best suits your particular carpeting or upholstery. When in doubt, consult a professional carpet or upholstery cleaner for advice.

If motor oil stains are on removable upholstery, you may be able to clean it effectively in your washing machine. Check upholstery labels for manufacturer recommendations before washing and drying them in a machine. If you determine it is safe to try, use an oxygen bleach product according to label directions along with warm water. Pre-treat the item with commercial stain remover of your choice, and place it in the washer. Set the water level on the lowest possible setting for the size of the item, and chose the longest possible wash cycle. If the item must be washed on "gentle cycle", it may be necessary to wash it more than once. After checking to be sure the stain is gone, dry the item according to label directions.



If the upholstery cannot safely be washed by machine, it will be necessary to remove the stain by hand. There are many commercial cleaners available that claim to remove motor oil stains from carpets and upholstery. The most expensive cleaners aren't necessarily the best. The most effective cleaners contain degreaser, so read product labels carefully for this ingredient. If you decide to use a commercial cleaner, follow the directions precisely so the stain does not become permanently set. After finding a cleaner you think will do the job, test it on a piece of scrap material first. Recreate the motor oil stain, and attempt to remove it according to label directions. If the product works well without causing damage to the material, then you can assume it will effectively clean your good upholstery or carpeting.

If the stain is on carpeting or material that must not come in contact with water, you may want to consider using dry cleaning solution in an attempt to remove it. Do not use dry cleaning fluid on carpets or upholstery that have latex backing or elastic trim. Dry cleaning fluid may damage these items.

Methylated alcohol, otherwise known as "wood spirits", and ammonia can be mixed together to make an effective motor oil stain remover. In a disposable container, mix together one-part wood spirits to one part ammonia. Make sure the room has adequate ventilation, and test the mixture on a scrap piece of carpeting or fabric before using it on your good items. Recreate the motor oil stain, and use a sponge to gently blot the area. If the scrap material is damaged, reduce the amount of ammonia in the cleaning solution. Recreate the motor oil stain, and attempt to remove the stain again. If damage occurs, reduce the amount of ammonia once more, and continue this process until the solution effectively removes the stain without damaging the material. After the stain has been removed, clean the area with warm water and mild soap. Rinse it thoroughly, and allow it to dry. Properly dispose of any unused cleaning solution.

To reduce the risk of stained upholstery and carpets in the future, consider spraying them with fabric protector. The cost of this product is well worth the peace of mind and protection it provides.

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