If you are in and out of your van in work boots and overalls it’s easy to get oil and grease stains over your van carpets and seats, which can gets onto your clothes when take your overalls off. In the unfortunate event of this occurring the faster you deal with the problem the easier it will be to remove the stain.
Your first course of action is to blot any excess grease or oil from the upholstery and keep repeating this process until the affected area is almost dry, which prevent the stain from spreading or the oil from soaking further into the material. If you mop up any oil or grease with a rag, it gives you a tester to try out your stain remover on to see if it actually works before applying it to your vehicle.
Before trying any method of stain removal, be aware that you are adding chemicals that can discolour the fabric it’s applied to. So if it’s a work’s van and you are trying to remove the stain from before the it’s seen, try a small amount of the treatment method on a hidden or inconspicuous area of the vehicles interior, such as the fabric under a seat that’s out of view. (If you are unsure of what’s safe to use on your vehicles upholstery you can contact the vehicle manufacturer for guidelines.)
There are many methods used for removing oil and grease stains from vehicles but 3 of the most popular methods talked about online are WD40, break cleaner and using a dedicated upholstery/carpet cleaner.
Although it sounds strange many people do use WD40 for removing oil and grease stains from upholstery. WD 40 comprises of 50% solvent, 25% Liquefied petroleum gas, 15% Mineral oil and 10% inert ingredients. So it came as a surprise to me that someone would add what’s considered a lubricant onto an existing stain. Apparently it does work by breaking down the oil in the stain, leaving you with a greasy WD 40 stain to remove, which in my way of thinking is just substituting one problem for another. If you do go down the route of trying WD 40 be aware that it contains carcinogenic ingredients that can be absorbed through the skin and into the blood, so do take precaution and wear gloves.
Aerosol brake cleaner is another method popular with mechanics for removing oil, grease, pen and ground in dirt stains. It contains many of the ingredients found in cleaning fluids but is quite harmful if inhaled, so you need to ventilate the area when using. To apply you can add some of the cleaning fluid to a clean dry cloth/rag and blot the affected area then leave for a few minutes for it to break down the grease before scrubbing. You continue to repeat the process until the stain has been completely removed.
Personally I have never tried either of the above methods for removing an oil/grease stain from a vehicles interior but I have used Turtle Wax Oxy Power Out upholstery cleaner and carpet cleaner for removing oil, chocolate and coke stains and have to say I was very impressed. You apply the foam leaving it to work for a few minutes then scrub with the head of the container which has a small brush with nylon bristles. I had to treat the area 3 times then the stain was gone and so was the ground in dirt from the seat, leaving me with a nice clean patch. (Other products are available I just haven’t tried them)