How to Remove Dried Oil Stains

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If you have dried oil stains on your concrete, fabric, carpet or upholstery, take comfort in knowing that it’s not too late to remove them. Oil is easier to remove when the stain is fresh. However, even dried oil can successfully be cleaned. With a few common household ingredients and materials and the proper technique, that dried oil stain will be history in no time.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Dish soap
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • 1 cup trisodium phosphate
  • Bucket
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rags
  • Dry-cleaning solvent
  • Old toothbrush

Concrete

Wet down the oil-stained concrete with plain water from a garden hose.

Squirt dish soap directly onto the oil stain. For best results, use a dish soap that contains a degreasing agent.

Work the dish soap into the oil stain with a nylon scrub brush. Scrub vigorously and add more water, if necessary, to form a thick lather.

Rinse the concrete with water from the garden hose. Allow the concrete to dry completely. Inspect the concrete for any trace of the oil stain.

Mix a solution of trisodium phosphate and water into a bucket if the stain persists. Combine 1 cup trisodium phosphate with 1 gallon of hot water. Pour the mixture directly onto the stain and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Scrub the stain with a nylon scrub brush. Rinse with plain water.

Fabric, Upholstery and Carpet

Pour a moderate amount of rubbing alcohol directly onto the oil stained area of the fabric. Place a rag on the underside of the fabric, if necessary, to prevent the oil from transferring to the other side of the fabric. This will need to be done for some articles of clothing.

Blot the stain with a clean rag. Do not rub or the oil will spread to unaffected areas of the fabric. Blot from the outer edge of the stain toward the middle.

Continue blotting until no more oil is transferring to the rag. Add more alcohol, as needed, and switch to clean portions of the rag as it becomes soiled.

Rinse the fabric in cool water. Clothing and similar items can be rinsed out under the tap and then laundered as usual. Rinse upholstery and carpets with a clean rag saturated with water and allow to air-dry.

Use a dry-cleaning solvent if the oil stain persists. Apply a generous amount of dry-cleaning solvent to a clean rag. Blot the oil stain with the rag until it has lifted. For tough stains, scrub the fabric gently with an old toothbrush, taking care not to spread the oil further. Rinse with cool water. Repeat this process, if necessary, until all of the oil is gone.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use washing soda as a substitute for trisodium phosphate when removing dried oil from concrete. Mix 2½ gallons of washing soda with 1 gallon of water and clean the concrete just as you would with trisodium phosphate.
  • Never place fabric in the dryer until you are sure that all of the oil has been removed. The heat from the dryer will only set the stain further.
  • Always test the product you are using on a small, inconspicuous area of fabric prior to applying it to a more noticeable area.
  • Wear rubber gloves, clothing that covers your arms and legs and protective eyewear when cleaning with trisodium phosphate.

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