How to Get Motor Oil Out of Trunk Carpet? – 2 Methods

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to get motor oil out of trunk carpet

Removing an oil spill inside your car’s trunk can be a real hassle, but imagine how it could further complicate your problems when the spilled oil stains your trunk carpet.

Additionally, getting a professional cleaning service for you can be quite pricey.

How to get motor oil out of your trunk carpet can be very challenging, but there are ways to address it.

So, gather your thoughts, remain calm, and read on as we discover ways how you can clean up spilled motor oil from the car trunk and carpet at home.

How to Remove Fresh Oil Spills From the Car Boot Carpet


Getting motor oil spilled in your car carpet is highly likely, especially after an engine top-up. You are in a hurry to leave as you dump everything in the car trunk while forgetting to close the oil container lid securely.

It could be that the car trunk is fully loaded, and something heavy that falls on your oil container could cause it to spill all over your immaculately clean car trunk carpet.

But worry not, because it’s easier to clean oil spills while it is still fresh:

What to prepare

  • Absorbent material, preferably sawdust, kitty litter, or powdered coconut husk (coir)
  • Fan blower
  • Nylon brush
  • Powder or liquid detergent
  • Wet and dry Vacuum cleaner
  • Water
  • Cloth rags
  • Dry cleaning solvent

Note: It is important to choose the correct agents for cleaning motor oil from the carpet because there are chemicals harmful to certain types of carpet fabric:

  • Naphthalene – a byproduct of coal tar that can effectively dissolve dirt, but its vapors can be harmful to humans. It can cause dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.
  • Butoxyethanol- a colorless mildly sweet-smelling liquid solvent, is used as an ingredient in many cleaning agents. High concentrations of the substance can cause cardiac-related problems and metabolic acidosis when inhaled or ingested.
  • Perchloroethylene – A common ingredient in dry cleaning solutions, it is known to dissolve oils, grease, and waxes without damaging carpet fabric.

Prolonged exposure to the substance can cause skin, eye, nose, and throat irritations, while higher concentrations of the agent can damage the central nervous system and may lead to death.

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Absorb the oil

Put ample amounts of absorbent material (sawdust, kitty litter, or coconut coir) over the spilled oil to contain it. The absorbent material will soak up all the wet oil and prevent it from further staining the carpet.

Leave it on for 10 – 15 minutes as it works in getting motor oil out of the carpet.

Step 2: Brush the carpet


Brush away or vacuum up the oil-soaked absorbent material and expect to notice oil stains on the carpet fabric. Make sure to thoroughly remove any trace of the soaked material (a vacuum cleaner is powerful enough to do the work easily).

Step 3: Dry clean your carpet

Apply dry-cleaning solvent on the stained part of the carpet and use a clean rag to repeatedly blot out the oil stain.

Step 4: Rinse off the solvent


When the oil stain has been blotted out, use another cloth rag dipped in clean water to rinse the cleaning solvent out of the carpet.

Step 5: Leave it to dry


Leave the trunk hood open and use a fan or blower to dry the carpet.

How to Remove Dry or Old Oil Stains From the Trunk Carpet


What to prepare:

  • WD-40
  • White vinegar (for tough stains)
  • Cloth rag
  • Water
  • Powder/liquid detergent for carpet
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A fan blower

Step-by-step guide

To get old oil stains out of the carpet, the process may take a bit longer and may require a combination of stain removal methods to achieve the desired results.

Step 1: Spray WD-40 generously on the affected area to thoroughly saturate the oil stain and clean the carpet surface. Leave it there for a few minutes.

Step 2: Soak a cloth rag in water and carefully rinse the WD-40 out of the carpet fabric.

Step 3: Carefully apply powder detergent or pour out the liquid detergent on the stained area where you removed the WD-40, then use a brush dipped in clean water to scrub the area. This will help get rid of motor oil stains that were left behind by the initial cleaning steps.

Step 4: Rinse the detergent from the carpet using water and a clean cloth rag. Repeat the rinsing process with water and the cloth until all traces of the detergent are removed from the carpet fabric.

Step 5 (optional): If the tough stains remain, rub them with white vinegar combined with detergent and warm water until they are gone.

Step 5: Use a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to suck out any water from the wet carpet, as well as any small water puddles that accumulate under the trunk carpet.

Step 6: Repeat the process if there are visible stains that appear on the trunk carpet.

Step 7: After rinsing and vacuuming the carpet, leave the trunk door open and use a fan blower to dry the carpet.

FAQs and Other Helpful Tips


What are the best ways to stay protected when cleaning oil spills in trunk carpets?

It is always better to be safe than sorry when cleaning motor oil out of your car trunk so make sure to always wear gloves when handling cleaning products to avoid skin contact.

Always wear a face mask to avoid inhaling fumes that may be emitted by harsh cleaning products.

What if the stains are too tough to remove?

There’s only so much one can do to clean or remove the stains from your carpet especially when you are not professionally trained to handle difficult cleaning processes.

In similar situations, it may be best to leave it to the professional detailers who are trained to handle industrial-grade cleaners and tools that will do the job.


Understanding how to get motor oil out of the trunk carpet is critical in guiding your decision to go the DIY route or hire a professional detailer when you accidentally spill oil in your car trunk.

It may be quite disappointing to see yourself in a trunk oil spill situation, but looking at all your possible options is important if you do not want to regret any costly decision that you make.

After all, following the methods and steps we discussed in the article will help you see that there is hope that you can do it by yourself.

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