How to Remove Grease and Oil From a Car Interior

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It’s nearly impossible to avoid getting grease or oil stains in our cars. We track it in on our shoes at the gas station or grocery store parking lot, the kids spill their greasy French fries on the seats, or we absent-mindedly set the greasy pizza box on the seat on our way home from work. There’s no need to worry, though. Whether it’s an old, dried grease stain or fresh oil stain on the upholstery or carpet, it can be removed fairly easily with the right method.

Use WD-40 to remove dried grease or oil from car upholstery

Materials Needed
  • Plastic putty knife, old credit card or smooth-edged plastic kitchen utensil
  • WD-40
  • Clean rags, towels or paper towels
  • Dish soap formulated for especially greasy dishes
  • Soft-bristled brush or toothbrush
  • Spray bottle
Step 1: Scrape as much of the dried grease or oil up as possible. Use a plastic putty knife, old credit card or a plastic kitchen utensil, but be careful to avoid scratching the fabric.
Step 2: Apply some WD-40 on the stain. Dab the WD-40 on the stain with a rag, or spray it evenly over the stain, until it become moist again.
Step 3: Pour a small amount of dish soap on a clean rag and dab that on the stain. After dabbing, wipe it evenly over the stain. Rub the rag over the stain repeatedly to wipe up as much of the grease or oil as possible.
Step 4: Scrub the stain with a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush, if the rag doesn’t do the trick. Don’t scrub too hard, though, or use a harsh brush as it could damage the upholstery.
Step 5: Blot the stain with a fresh towel or paper towel. The stain should come up onto the towel.
Step 6: Spray the stain with clean water. Blot the clean water up with a clean towel or paper towel. Continue to spray and blot until all of the soap is blotted up off of the fabric.

Use this method to remove fresh grease or oil on car upholstery when it hasn’t dried yet

Materials Needed
  • Clean towels or paper towels
  • Cornstarch or talcum powder (Baby powder and medicated foot powder work, too.)
  • Vacuum cleaner
Step 1: Blot up as much of the wet grease or oil as you can. Use an old towel or paper towel.
Step 2: Sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder evenly over the wet stain. Rub it into the stain with your hand or a towel.
Step 3: Leave the cornstarch or talcum powder on the stain for eight to ten hours.
Step 4: Vacuum the powder up. Use a good wet/dry vacuum, if possible. Change the dust bag of your household vacuum, or empty the canister if it’s bagless. All of the grease or oil should come up with the cornstarch or talcum powder.
Step 5: Repeat Steps 1 through 4, if there is any stain left.
Step 6: Follow Steps 3 through 6 of Method 1 if there is any stain left after using the powder method several times. The grease-cutting dish soap should finish cleaning it up.

Use this method to remove grease or oil from the carpet

Materials Needed
  • Paper towels
  • WD-40
Step 1: Wipe up any blobs of grease or blot up as much oil as you can with a paper towel.
Step 2: Spray a small amount of WD-40 on the stain.
Step 3: Leave the WD-40 alone for five to ten minutes to dissolve the grease or oil.
Step 4: Blot the stain with a towel or paper towel.
While the cornstarch or talcum powder is soaking up the grease stain, it’s a good time to do a thorough cleaning of the inside of your car. You can also tackle exterior projects like repairing chips, washing, buffing, and polishing.

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