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What Are the Best Tips for Cleaning Up Oil Spills at Home?

Spilled oil should be soaked up as quickly as possible.
Cat litter can be used to absorb spilled liquids.
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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2014
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The best tips for cleaning up oil spills generally depend on where the spills occur. Most oil spills happen on concrete, such as in a basement after a furnace leak or in a garage when oil drips out of a car, while other oil spills might occur on carpet. Cleaning up oil spills on concrete can often be done by using some type of absorbent material followed up with soap or detergent. Cleaning an oil spill that occurred on carpet is usually more difficult and should be soaked up immediately with paper towels and treated with rubbing alcohol. All oil spills should be dealt with as soon as they occur because letting oil sit on a surface for several days might mean that it will never come out.

As soon as an oil spill on concrete occurs, it should be soaked up with an absorbent substance such as flour, salt, or cat litter. The absorbent substance used might have to sit on top of the oil for several hours before most of it is soaked up. After sweeping away the absorbent substance, the remaining stain beneath the substance will need to be cleaned away. In most cases, some type of soap or detergent can be applied to the stain with warm water and allowed to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. After the appropriate amount of time has passed, a paper towel or old rag may be used to blot up the detergent and remaining oil.

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Cleaning up oil spills on carpet is usually trickier than cleaning oil off of concrete or any other hard surface because oil usually soaks down inside the fibers of carpet. As soon as oil is spilled on carpet, the oil should be blotted up with a rag or paper towel before the majority of it is allowed to soak into the carpet fibers. It is important to blot rather than rub at the carpet because rubbing the oil will likely spread the stain while also pushing it down further inside the carpet. After as much of the oil as possible has been blotted up, the stained area can be blotted at again with rubbing alcohol to help lift the stain out.

No matter what methods are used, many people have difficulty cleaning up oil spills completely. In most cases, some residue will be left over no matter how effectively the stain was treated. If an oil spill refuses to come out, it may be possible to hire a professional cleaning service or carpet cleaning service to get decent results. Professional cleaning services typically have stronger chemicals on hand than the average person has in his home, and they are also normally very knowledgeable about stain removal in general.

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anon951184
Post 1

"As soon as an oil spill on concrete occurs, it should be soaked up with an absorbent substance such as flour, salt, or cat litter."

My personal opinion is that if you have oil-using machines or oily products around the house it's worth investing in professional cleaning products (not kitty litter or clay based, either - that stuff irritates my mouth and eyes). As someone who spends a lot of time in his garage I've found it's not worth the hassle using home remedies anymore when industrial absorbent-type products like SpillFix work really well and save me a lot of time and even elbow-grease related pain!

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