I was carrying a 5L container of (new) engine oil in the boot of my car. The lid was loose and around 500ml or less leaked out and into the carpet in my boot.

Has anyone successfully removed an oil spill like that? I've read that you can use absorbent material like sand or baking powder to soak it up and then remove it and hit it with solvents and then wash it, I really don't want to run the risk and make it worse so any advice would be appreciated.

  • What's the price of that carpet new for that vehicle? It comes with the added bonus of no lingering engine oil smell (maybe for SO, not necessarily for you). Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 17:28

3 Answers 3


A product you can buy at auto parts stores called "oil dry" will soak up oil from concrete etc. within a few hours even if it's been there a couple of days soaking in. It usually comes in 25 pound bags so you can substitute cat litter (essentially the same thing, granules of dry clay). I'd try that for one or two applications for 12 hours each, then use an ammonia based cleaner to sop up any stain remaining. I haven't tried this on carpeting, but I'd give it a go.

  • 1
    Taking the carpet out so you get to both sides will help. and cleaning whatever soaked through...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 8:19
  • Kitty liter is the same stuff ,if cheaper. Then follow up with auto hand cleaner , brands such as Gojo. Hand cleaner redidue will rise out with water. Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 15:25

I did a lot of research into how to do this and I am very happy with the result - it doesn't look any different from the rest of the car carpet.

First, I put a lot of cornflour on it. Probably a kg and pushed it all over the carpet. Over the course of several days this turned very brown and drew out the oil.

Then, I hit it with a pressure washer (I was busy, probably 4 weeks later) and took the cornflour/oil mix off. I then used a generous amount of laundry liquid and a brush with stiff bristles to thoroughly agitate the whole surface, and then washed it off again with the pressure washer.

Looks good as new!


kitty litter/oil dry, then dawn dish soap. Scrub, then rinse and repeat using a shop vac.

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