How to get oil out of carpet?

Need to remove an oil stain from your carpet?

There are two effective ways to get oil out of carpet and the good new is that you'll probably have one or both of the items necessary to help in this process at home already (saves a trip to Walmart!)

I has success with both of these methods in a standard polyblend household carpet pile. If you have wool, shag or long carpet pile then it could be a little trickier. I would still attempt the below methods but be prepared to have to resort to professional cleaning to finish the job. But let's hope not. 

Method 1: Use a powder based product to remove oil from carpet


How to get oil out of carpet with baking soda

What is a powder based product?

  • Baking Soda
  • Baby Powder
  • Corn Starch (otherwise known as Corn Flour in some countries)

Any of the above powder based products should do the trick. Just choose one - don't mix them all together 🙂

How does Baking soda, Baby Powder or Corn Starch remove oil?

These agents will all work to absorb the oil.  In the method outlined below we advise you to leave this on for a while so that the absorption process can take place. It won't happen instantly.

My first choice would be the baking soda as it also will neutralise any smells. 

How do I get the oil stain out of my carpet ?

  1. 1
    Liberally cover the stain with the powder of your choice.
  2. 2
    Use a toothbrush or similar to work the powder in to the stain. Don't overwork it, but I would spend 20 seconds or so to do this on a 1 inch x 1 inch sized stain.
  3. 3
    Let this sit for 10 - 20 minutes.
  4. 4
    Vacuum the stain site after this period.
  5. 5
    Be prepared to repeat this process once more. If after repeating the process there is still a stain then I'd use a carpet stain remover within a few days. If this doesn't fix it, I would call in a steam cleaner to finish the job. 


Method 2: Use Rubbing Alcohol to get oil out of carpet

rubbing alcohol to remove oil from carpet

What is rubbing alcohol?

Rubbing Alcohol is called different things all over the world. Rubbing Alcohol by definition is a solution generally made up of 70% isopropyl alcohol + water. You can find rubbing alcohol in all big stores, and thanks to Covid-19 it is now found in just about every service station too. You may even have some in your handbag or car glove compartment. Noting that gel hand sanitizer is a little different to rubbing alcohol as it has added chemicals in it to form the gel. 

You can use rubbing alcohol as hand sanitizer, but you can't use hand sanitizer as rubbing alcohol.

In the UK Rubbing Alcohol is called surgical spirit. 

How does Rubbing Alcohol remove oil?

Rubbing Alcohol is a solvent. The isopropyl alcohol will work to break down the oil. This is a different technique to the powder based method above which aims to absorb the oil. 


How do I get the oil stain out of my carpet with rubbing alcohol?

  1. 1
    Liberally apply rubbing alcohol to the oil stained area.
  2. 2
    Dab the alcohol in to the stain so that it full penetrates.
  3. 3
    Let this sit for 30 - 45 minutes, or until dry. You can use an aid like a fan to speed up this process if you like.
  4. 4
    Once dry, drench the area in water and work to remove the water by dabbing it with a clean towel. You'll have to walk away and let it dry out naturally once the majority of the water has been removed with the towel.
  5. 5
     If this method doesn't 100% remove the stain then you can use a carpet stain remover, ideally within a few days. If this doesn't fix it, I would call in a steam cleaner to finish the job. 
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