I changed the oil in my pickup a couple months ago, and had about a quart of clean oil left in the container when I was done. I don't have a garage or other handy place to keep stuff like this, so I just left it in the bed of my truck. Unfortunately the lid was not completely sealed, and a good amount of the oil leaked out and now covers the bed of my truck.

My question is, what is the best approach to cleaning up this mess? So far I've used (a lot of) paper towels to get most of it off, and then emptied half a bottle of dish soap into the back of my truck and scrubbed with a toothbrush to get the rest, and I seem to have created a thick, goopy oil-soap residue that's hard to get off. Should I just keep scrubbing and rinsing, or is there a better way?

4 Answers 4


If it was anywhere other than the bed of a truck, the answer would probably be kitty litter, but I don't think that will work in this case.

I'd look at some sort of degreaser - I know you can get engine cleaners which should do a good job of it, something like this.

The standard warnings and disclaimers apply: try the product on a small spot to ensure that it doesn't damage the paint or any other coating. Also, try to clean it in a location where the results aren't going to wash into the sewers or otherwise contaminate things. A self-serve car wash where they recycle the water would probably be a good spot.


I'd use a degreaser as Chris mentioned, but would be a bit reluctant to use an engine cleaner since it can be a bit harsh. You didn't mention if you bed has a liner or what it's made of (newer Tacomas have a composite liner), but it's pretty safe to use Simple Green as a degreaser. It's also less harsh than many others.


Failing that, plain ol' lye + hot water will work. It will also instantly rust any exposed iron. It shouldn't harm the paint, either.


I work in the petroleum industry so I get crude in the bed of my truck all the time.

A good degreaser is Simple Green. Use a towel to wipe it clean. When I have dry crude an S.O.S pad works, it doesn't seem to scratch up the paint either.

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