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Removing Grease and Oil Stains from Floors

by Michigan State University on Apr 27, 2012

Remove as much as possible with newspaper, paper towels, or a plastic spatula. On resilient tile, rub with a cloth dampened in detergent and warm water, or if that does not work, use a concentrated commercial household cleaner, and then rinse well. On wood and cork, put a cloth saturated with dry cleaning fluid on the stain for five minutes. Then wipe the area dry and wash with detergent and water. On stone, use a formulated solvent with a soft, clean cloth.

Cautions: When working with any chemicals, carefully read and follow the label directions for using that chemical, especially any cautions on safe use! With solvents, be very careful to have ventilation and no flame or spark in the area!

Test an inconspicuous area of your carpeting before using the rubbing alcohol to be sure the carpet can withstand the alcohol. If the alcohol works its way into the carpet padding, it can break down the latex backing.

The first time you use any procedure on any floor, test it first on an out-of-the-way part of the floor to be sure it does not damage the flooring or finish.

Notes: If steel wool is suggested, use fine grade, 000 grade.

Scouring powder will help remove many stains, but can also permanently scratch the floor. If you decide to use it, use only a mild type, and be very careful about rubbing too much.

Concentrated liquid commercial household cleaners, rubbed onto a stubborn spot, may remove it as well as scouring powders without the danger of scratching. Rinse off well. Do not use on wood floors.

Do not use water solutions or cleaners which have to be rinsed off with water, on wood floors. Use a solvent or solvent-based cleaning wax.

After removing a stain, rinse the area thoroughly, dry completely, and, if floor finish has been removed in that area, recoat with appropriate finish or wax.

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