Don't Cry Over Spilt Oil!

As soon as you can, blot an oily or greasy fabric spot with a paper towel or other clean cloth, but be careful not to spread the oil around.

Dry-cleaning solvent is best for removing oily or greasy spots from fabrics. If you lack spot removers such as K2r or Carbona, you can use nail-polish remover in a pinch. However, nail-polish remover contains acetone, which will dissolve acetate.

It’s important to use extra cloths underneath garments being treated to avoid spreading the solvent and oil to clean parts of the clothing or to other surfaces. Blot the spot until it disappears. Alternatively, take the garment to a dry cleaner.

To treat carpeting, apply spot cleaner to the cloth, never directly to the pile, and then blot the spill. Solvents can weaken the carpet backing if allowed to soak in.

Oil and grease on hard, porous surfaces (such as concrete in the garage or basement) should first be absorbed away. Sprinkle a generous amount of scoopable cat litter, cornmeal, sawdust, sand, or even clean, dry dirt over the spot. Allow the absorbent to “wick” the oil back out of the floor for a couple of days, then sweep it away or vacuum it up. If a spot remains, commercial degreasing products will have a better chance to work if the absorbent is applied first. Be sure to read all instructions, cautions, and warnings before using a degreaser.

Reference: Jeff Bredenberg, editor, in Clean It Fast, Clean It Right: The Ultimate Guide to Making Everything You Own Sparkle & Shine.

© 2006

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