How to Clean Vegetable Oil Spills

While cooking in the kitchen, you accidentally spill vegetable oil. Your first instinct is to grab a towel and wipe it up. However, wiping the spill can spread the oil around the countertop or flooring rather than absorbing and cleaning it up. If left uncleaned, the oil can leave behind a stain, particularly in unsealed or porous tiles and stones, or leave the floor or countertop slick or slippery. Properly cleaning the vegetable oil as soon as the spill occurs can prevent the stains while fully removing all of the oil.

Step 1

Dampen a soft, clean cloth or rag under cool to room temperature water. Wring the cloth. The cloth should be damp, not dripping wet.

Step 2

Lay the dampened cloth over the vegetable oil. Push downward to absorb as much oil as possible. Do not rub or wipe the oil, as this will spread it around. Lift the cloth.

Step 3

Sprinkle baking soda, cornmeal, sawdust or cat litter liberally over any remaining vegetable oil. Any of these products will absorb the oil, causing them to clump together. Allow the product to sit over the area for approximately an hour. Use a broom and dust pan or hand-held vacuum cleaner to remove.

Step 4

Repeat Steps 1 to 3 until all the oil is cleaned.

Step 5

Clean the area using a product safe for the material that the vegetable was spilled on to remove any remaining residue. For example, use a stone cleaner for granite countertops or tiles, or an all-purpose cleaner for tile or linoleum. Once clean, use a dry, clean towel or rag to dry the area.