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How to Remove Oil Stains from Car Seats

  • DetailXPerts How to Remove Oil Stains from Car Seats
    December 19, 2016

    Learning how to remove oil stains from car seats is straightforward. However, some stubborn oil stains will require extra attention. Even if you are careful, oil can transfer from hands to car seats after eating certain foods, such as pizza. The good news is we have a few tips and steps to help you refresh your car upholstery and leave it stain-free.

    If you want to know how to remove oil stains from car seats but don’t have the time, there’s an easy solution. Book an appointment with us! And our mobile cleaning service will come to you. How do we tackle tough oil stains? Download our Eco Car Wash Benefit Guide. It explains how we can offer our 100% satisfaction guarantee thanks to our efficient steam cleaning.

    How to Remove Oil Stains from Car Seats in 5 Steps

    There are also DIY options if you need to know how to remove oil stains from car seats. But the trick is to act fast to make stain removal easier. So, grab your car interior detailing tools and follow these simple steps:

    Step 1. Scrape off the Grease and Blot the Oil Stain

    First, remove as much oil and grease as possible. Use a plastic scraper to gently scrape off the excess grease. Be mindful that some types of car upholstery need specialist care. For instance, if you want to explore safe ways to clean your car interior, discover the difference steam cleaning technology can make.

    Next, take a towel or blotting paper and gently dab the stain to soak up excess oil. Baking soda will absorb oil from the stain, too. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto the stain and leave it for about 15 minutes. After that, vacuum the area and repeat the process if necessary. If this step does not remove oil stains from car seats, continue with Step 2, below.

    Step 2. Use Hot Water to Rinse the Stain

    Rinse the stain gently using hot water. If you don’t want to end up with too much water on your seats, use a steam cleaner. Steam cuts through grease fast and effectively thanks to its high temperature. However, it is gentle on fabric and leather upholstery.

    Another benefit of using a steam cleaner is you can direct the steam straight onto the stain, targeting only the affected area. This method eliminates the risk of saturating your seats with water. Furthermore, if you don’t dry your seats properly after rinsing with hot water, they can stain. If this happens, see our tips on how to remove water stains from car upholstery.

    How to Remove Oil Stains from Car Seats_Twitter Quote

    Step 3. How to Remove Oil Stains from Car Seats Using a Cleaning Solution

    You can use an all-purpose car upholstery cleaner to break down the oil stain. Alternatively, mix up some dish soap with water for this purpose. First, check the soap or the detergent’s ingredients. Ammonia-based cleaners are too harsh for some car upholstery. Ammonia is an alkaline substance that can damage car seats, especially leather or vinyl.

    Next, dab the cleaning solution onto the stain with a sponge. Then, let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes to give it enough time to activate. Afterwards, gently work the solution into the stain using a soft, bristled brush. For a deeper clean, see our tips on how to sanitize your car seats.

    Step 4. Rinse the Stain Again If Still Visible

    Rinse the stain again with hot water. Repeat Step 3 if you still need to know how to remove oil stains from car seats. This time, try a little denatured alcohol mixed with liquid dish soap. Dip a clean cloth into the alcohol solution and dab it onto the stain. Note, test on a hidden area of the car seat first. Denatured alcohol is not suitable for use on delicate fabrics.

    Once you’ve done a successful spot test, ensure you work from the outside of the stain toward the center to prevent the grease from spreading. Then rinse with water to remove any traces of alcohol. Again, stick with steam cleaning if you want to avoid too much water on your seats or don’t want to use a DIY solution. Steam is ideal for all your car interior detailing needs because it safely sanitizes seats and surfaces to leave your vehicle germ-free.

    Step 5. Dry the Area Thoroughly

    Finally, dry the area with a hair dryer thoroughly to prevent water spots from forming on the upholstery. Use the hair dryer on a cool setting and keep moving it around the seat to ensure it dries evenly.

    Also, open all the car windows if it is a warm, sunny day. This will allow warm air to circulate inside your vehicle to help speed up the drying process. And if you have a problem with musty car odors, such as mold and dampness, check out our eco steam detailing specialties.


    Hopefully, you know how to remove oil stains from car seats with our steps. And remember, if you use an upholstery cleaner, treat the affected area quickly – if possible, act the same day for the best results.

    To sum up, the key takeaway is to be patient and persistent, as it may take a few goes to remove the stain altogether. Also, you must allow time for a spot test in an inconspicuous area. For older, deeper oil stains, your seats may need professional detailing attention. And that’s where we can help!

    We can clean and sanitize your seats to guarantee a superior clean. Download our Eco Car Wash Benefit Guide to learn more about our green tech and the convenience of a mobile cleaning company.

    Download Eco Car Wash Benefits Guide

    DetailXPerts is a nationwide mobile vehicle detailing and commercial cleaning company. We bring a greener clean. Our difference is industry-leading green technology. We use science-backed steam methods and biodegradable products to clean and sanitize on demand. And our mobile vehicle detailing service comes to you!

    Get in touch if you want to set up an appointment. Or let us know if you have questions about what or how we clean. Our team loves sharing car tips and how we achieve safe sanitization with our steam-sterilizing methods. We write about auto detailing, janitorial services, fleet cleaning, franchising, and more. Subscribe to our newsletter and check back for our next article. Happy driving!

    This article was updated in March 2023 for comprehensiveness.

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