Motor Oil Stain Removal

Motor oil stain removal can be a difficult task for most. Often times the sticky black mess gets all over clothes, driveways, carpets, and furniture when you least expect it. To remove these stains you are going to have to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

motor oil stain removal

Motor Oil Stain Removal from Fabric

What you will need:

  • Plastic spoon
  • White paper towel
  • Grease-fighting dishwashing liquid (such as dawn)
  • Water
  • Nail brush or toothbrush
  • Baby powder or cornstarch
  • Laundry detergent

Many have lost their favorite outfits to motor oil stains because of how difficult these stains are to remove. However, there are a few great tricks to try before throwing out your favorite clothes. Try these Motor oil stain removal tips to remove the stains from your garments.

  1. To begin you will need to use your plastic spoon to try and remove the excess motor oil. While you are removing the motor oil try not to grind it into the fabric. This will make it much more difficult to remove the stain.
  2. Next, you will need to use your white paper towels to try and remove more of the motor oil. You can do this by blotting the stain with the paper towel in a lifting motion. You should continue to do this until the paper towel no longer shows any signs of motor oil. Do not scrub the area. This will also make the stain much harder to remove.  
  3. You will then need to sprinkle the stained area with baby powder or cornstarch. You should allow this to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. After you have waited 15 minutes, for the product of your choice to work its magic, you should then try and carefully remove the baby powder or cornstarch. You can do this with your nail brush or toothbrush. Beware not to spread the stained baby powder or cornstarch to the any other parts of the garment.
  5. Now that the baby powder or cornstarch have been removed you will need to use 1 or 2 drops of your grease-fighting dishwashing liquid. For these types of stains dawn seems to work best. After you have put 1 or 2 drops of the dishwashing liquid on the stain you will need to add a drop of water. This will allow you to thoroughly work the dishwashing liquid into the fabric.
  6. Next you will use your nail brush or tooth brush to try and remove the remaining parts of the motor oil stains. You can do this by rubbing the stained area in a circular motion. You should do this to both sides of the fabric.
  7. Once you feel you have removed the motor oil stain you can launder the garment as normal.
  8. Once the clothing has been washed thoroughly inspect the stained area to ensure the motor oil stain has been removed. If it is not removed repeat the steps until you have gotten your desired results. Make sure you do not put the clothing in the dryer unless the stain has been removed!

Removing motor oil stains can be very difficult. If you have gotten motor oil on any fabric that is not washable you should bring the fabric to a professional. These stain removal tips should be started as soon as possible once the stain has been noticed. Like most stains it is much easier to remove a stain that has not had time to sink into the fabric.

Motor Oil Stain Removal from Carpets

What you will need:

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Detergent
  • White Vinegar
  • Cold water
  • Plastic spoon
  • Cornstarch, baby powder, or baking soda
  • White Paper towel


Many of the steps for motor oil stain removal from carpets are very similar to the steps for removing motor oil from clothing. Remember treating a stain early can mean an easier time removing the stain.

  1. Begin, the motor oil stain removal process by using the plastic spoon to scrape off the excess motor oil from the carpet.
  2. Next, you will sprinkle the stained area with baking soda, cornstarch, or baby powder.
  3. Allow the baking soda, cornstarch, or baby powder to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. After this time vacuum up the area.
  4. Next, use the clean white paper towel to sponge the motor oil stain with the dry cleaning solvent. Make sure you do not rub the area, as this will allow the motor oil to further penetrate the carpet. You should continue to blot the area until the solvent has been absorbed.
  5. Inspect the area. If the stain is still on the carpet you can mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid (dawn works best for motor oil stains), 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and two cups of warm water. You will use a clean white paper towel/cloth to again blot the stained area. You should dab the area until the solution has been absorbed. Tip: vinegar is a bleaching agent. Ensure it is safe to use on your carpet by first testing the solution in a small hidden area.
  6. Sponge the stained area with cold water, to clean the area of the vinegar solution. Immediately blot dry. 
  7. Inspect the stained area of the carpet to ensure the motor oil stain has been removed. If the stain remains you should continue to repeated the steps until the motor oil stain has been completely removed.