If you have carpets in your house, spills and stains are bound to happen at some point. Of all the things that can end up staining your carpets, though, oil and grease are among the hardest to remove.
Fortunately, there are a few tried and tested ways to remove oil from your carpets before it becomes a permanent problem.
Soak up any excess oil
If the spill or mess just happened, get rid of excess oil as soon as possible, before it has a chance to soak in and cause a stain. Use paper towel to gently blot the oil and soak up the excess.
Don’t press too hard when you do this, however, or you might end up forcing the oil deeper into the fibres.
Sprinkle the area with baking soda
Baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda) is naturally good at absorbing liquids and smells. If you don’t have baking soda, you can also use corn starch.
Sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda or corn starch onto the area to absorb the oil. Gently rub the baking soda or corn starch into the spill and leave for at least 15 minutes.
Vacuum up the baking soda
Once the baking soda or corn starch has absorbed most of the oil, vacuum the area to remove the baking soda and any oil it has soaked up. Make sure you vacuum the carpet thoroughly to ensure that all the baking soda or corn starch is gone.
Rubbing alcohol is also good at removing oil stains and can be applied with a clean cloth after step 3. Blot the oil spill with the rubbing alcohol until the stain is gone.
The rubbing alcohol should dissolve the oil and separate it from the carpet fibres. Rinse the area afterwards to remove excess rubbing alcohol and blot dry with paper towel.
Make sure you only use rubbing alcohol in a well-ventilated area and wash your hands after use.
Dry cleaning solvent
Dry cleaning solvent can also be used on oil stains. However, it can be tricky to get hold of and is considered toxic, so ensure that you wear gloves if handling it.
The solvent can also have a bleaching effect so avoid using it on brightly coloured or dark carpets – and always start by testing it on a very small area.
For tough stains, you may choose to apply solvent with a clean cloth after step 3 above.
Blot the area thoroughly with the solvent and then remove the excess solvent with paper towel. Allow the area to dry thoroughly.
Professional carpet cleaning
If you’re wary of damaging your carpets or if you have a particularly stubborn stain on your hands, professional cleaning may be a better way to go.
Professional cleaners utilise industrial cleaners and proven stain removal products. They can’t perform miracles (some damage can’t be undone) – but they may offer the best chance of returning your carpets to good as new.