How to Remove Oil Stains From Metal

Updated April 17, 2017

Oil is thick, greasy and tends to spread easily --- these characteristics make it difficult to remove from some surfaces, including metal. All is not lost, however, if a metal object becomes doused in the liquid. It is possible, with a little help from a few products you may already have in your home cleaning arsenal, to remove oil stains from metal..

Remove the excess oil that sits on the metal. Rags, newspapers and paper or terrycloth towels can do the job, as can kitty litter. Pour kitty litter that is fresh from the bag onto the oily area. The clay in the litter will absorb the oil. Sweep the litter around the oil area if it is large, or move it around with your hand for smaller spots. Doing so will help move the litter around to absorb more oil.

Dip a soft cloth in water and rub the spot to add moisture. Apply mild soap to the oil spot and rub the area with the cloth. Continue to rub until the oil is removed.

Apply a cleaner to the oil area that is made for metal surfaces, if the oil is still present. Most cleaning product companies advise you to rub the cleaner into the affected areas with soft cloths then rinse with water; however, follow the directions on the product's label. Repeat the process if the oil stain persists.


Avoid using cleaners that contain bleach, ammonia or similar ingredients, as they can damage the finish.


Collect any items you used to clean the oil immediately and take them to an oil recycling facility. Certain oils, such as those found in cars, can cause spontaneous combustion.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags, newspaper and paper or terrycloth towels
  • Cat litter
  • Soft cloth
  • Mild soap
  • Cleaner made for metal
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