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You’ve just got home from work and walked in the front door. Your dog zooms through the house to greet you, knocking over your vintage oil lamp as he does so.
Suddenly, you’ve got lamp oil all over your carpet. What a mess!
To clean up the oil, you’ll need to spread an absorbent substance over the area. Then, you’ll need a degreasing agent to help you pull the stain out of the carpet’s fibers before you dry the area out.
Step 1: Soak Up the Spill
The first step you’ll need to take is also the most important step, which is soaking up as much of the oil as you can. There are a few different agents you can use here, including:
- Baking soda
- Corn starch
- Baby powder
- Kitty litter
Regardless of which of these materials you use, you’ll want to sprinkle it over the site of the spill. Make sure that it covers the entire area of the spill, or else it won’t be able to do its job.
Note: The key word here is ‘sprinkle’. If you grind the substance into your carpet you’re going to wind up with an even bigger mess. That’s because grinding forces the substance down into the carpet’s fibers and makes it tough for you to get out, even with a vacuum cleaner!
Step 2: Let It Lie
No we don’t mean lie as in tell a fib. We’re talking about letting the absorbent sit on your carpet for a little while.
A good rule of thumb is to let the absorbent sit on the stain for about thirty minutes. You can leave it for more time if you like, but don’t leave it for any less.
Less than thirty minutes might leave oily residue in your carpet, causing you to have to repeat the process.
Pro Tip: For extra-large spills let your absorbent sit on the carpet for an hour. Keep checking periodically, and once the absorbent is crusty and hard, you’re ready to move onto step 3. If the powder still seems dry and powdery, let it sit for longer.
Step 3: Scoop and Suck Up the Scum
After the time is up, scoop up as much of the absorbent as you can. You can do this using a spoon to make sure that you get rid of the worst of it from the surface of your carpet.
Then, vacuum your carpet to get up the remaining absorbent. It’s a good idea to use the crevice tool here to make sure you get powder out of the deeper parts of your carpet’s fibers.
If your vacuum cleaner is out of commission you can always simply use paper towels to blot up the spill.
Step 4: Grab the De-Greaser
Next, it’s time to use something to break up the remaining oil on your carpet.
Now, before you grab the first cleaner in your closet, it’s important to make sure you check the label for one that’s not oil-based. Since oil and water are mortal enemies and won’t mingle no matter how hard you try, water-based cleaners can end up creating a larger mess and spreading the disaster around your floor.
The safest cleaner to use is a commercial degreaser. These agents are designed to help you get these types of spills out of your carpet in no time.
Once you’ve chosen a good degreaser, apply it to your carpet. Just like you did with the absorbent, let it sit on the stain (this time for about ten minutes) before using rags or paper towels to blot up the excess.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a commercial degreaser on hand you can mix ¼ teaspoon of liquid dish soap with 1 cup of water. Then, soak the fibers of the carpet that have the oil spill with the mixture.
Step 5: Dry the Carpet
Finally, it’s time to dry out your carpet. You should let the carpet dry completely before entering the room.
If you can, open up a window so that you can speed up the drying process. Or, you can place a stand-up fan in the room to help blow air onto the carpet and dry it out faster.
BONUS STEP: Prevent Future Spills
Once your carpet is clean your job still isn’t over. You should consider moving your oil lamp to a low-traffic area.
Keep in mind that if it was a cat and not a dog that knocked the lamp over, you’ll have to make sure to tuck the cords out of reach of swiping paws. Cats are playful creatures and often yank cables out of sockets, which can topple the lamp.
If you need your lamp in a location where it’s likely to topple and spill, you can add museum wax to the surface. This helps soften blows to the lamp and can lessen the likelihood that one of your beloved furbabies breaks it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Lamp Oil Stain?
Lamp oil does indeed stain, as will other oils if you spill them on your clothes or carpet. It’s important to make sure that you clean up the stain quickly to avoid it becoming permanent or leaving lasting damage on your carpets.
How Do You Get Rid of the Smell of Lamp Oil?
Lamp oil can leave behind some pretty pungent fumes after a spill. Luckily, you can get rid of this by mixing one part of distilled white vinegar with one part of warm water and spritzing it over your oil stain. Allow the mixture to sit on the stain for a few minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
How Do You Get Dried Oil Fuel Out of the Carpet?
You can use an absorbent and a degreasing agent to remove just about any type of oil from your carpet. The key is to use a degreasing agent to cut through the grease and remove it from the floor.