How to Remove Motor Oil from Tile


Alicia asked: I have been trying for over six months to remove some engine oil from the bathroom floor tiles. Can you please help me? I have learned that I will never put my child in the shower with oil all over her.

Motor oil has a consistency that makes it difficult to remove as it easily spreads over the surface. It’s designed to lubricate so it doesn’t wipe clean very easily. To remove it, it requires a cleaning substance that can break it down or absorb it for removal. There are several products that can be used to achieve this. Try one, or try them all, until the oil is removed.

You Will Need:

  • Dawn dish soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Aerosol brake parts cleaner
  • Hot water
  • Bucket
  • Soft cloths or sponges
  • White paper towels

Steps to Remove the Stains:

  1. Begin by filling a bucket with hot water.
  2. Add Dawn dish soap to the water and agitate to mix. Add more Dawn for larger areas and less for smaller stains.
  3. Moisten a soft cloth or sponge with the mixture and apply it to the oil stains.
  4. Allow it to set for a few minutes.
  5. Wipe away with white paper towels.
  6. Repeat until the oil is completely removed.
  7. If the dish soap and water does not remove the stains entirely, apply rubbing alcohol, or brake cleaner. Be careful though – brake cleaner is some seriously harsh stuff! Test it first on a hidden area, and be sure to re-clean afterwards to remove any traces of it!
  8. Clean the area thoroughly with soap and water to remove any residue.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If you are unsure how a cleaning product will react with the tile, test a small area first to check for any damage or discoloration.
  • White cleaning cloths work best to avoid transferring any additional color to the flooring.

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