Cleaning the floors and surfaces is a standard part of household maintenance, and you probably have a host of products in your house to tackle any kind of grime.
But many of us neglect to clean the walls in our houses and don’t have fancy products that do the work for us. Smears, grime, and grease build up over time, and all of a sudden, your house looks grotty and unkempt.
The room that will take the biggest beating is the kitchen. The tiled parts are easy to wipe clean, but you can’t tile the whole room!
The painted sections are vulnerable to oil splatters and aren’t so easy to make sparkle like they’re brand new. Semi-gloss painted walls will be easier to clean, but other wall textures will be more likely to lap up that grease.
We’ve researched the best methods to use to clean oil off any kind of wall. Luckily, there are a bunch of home remedies you can use to start attacking the oily marks on your walls.
- Best Ways to Get Oil off Painted Walls.
- Method 1: Dish Soap.
- Method 2: White Vinegar.
- Method 3: Baking Soda.
- Removing Oil from Different Kinds of Wall Materials.
- Can you paint over grease stains on walls?
- What Happens When You Leave Oil Stains on the Wall?
- Final thoughts.
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Best Ways to Get Oil off Painted Walls.
The most common wall type is a simple painted wall, so let’s tackle that first. All of the methods will work best on newer stains.
Older stains can still be removed, they may just take a few attempts and a little more effort.
If you have a cleaning product safe for wall paint that cuts through grease, give that a bash. But if you don’t have anything to hand, and don’t feel like splashing the cash on another cleaning product that will collect dust in your cupboard, keep reading.
Here are the best home remedy cleaning methods for cleaning oil off painted walls.
Method 1: Dish Soap.
Let’s start simple. Dish soap may seem too gentle of an approach, but it is extremely effective at cutting through grease.
This is the best method to attempt first, as soap doesn’t react with paint, so it’s unlikely to damage your wall.
All you’ll need is:
- Dish soap
- Warm water
- Rag or cloth x 2
- Fill a bowl with warm water, pour a few tablespoons of soap in, and mix gently.
- Saturate a rag with the mixture and begin rubbing the oily mark on the wall with circular motions. Try not to spread the oil around.
- Repeat step 2 until the stain is much less visible or entirely gone.
- Wipe the mark with a clean, dry cloth to remove excess moisture.
- Once the wall is dried, re-assess the stain, if it’s still visible, repeat the process or try another method.
Method 2: White Vinegar.
There are not many recipes that require white vinegar, so this is a great way to use up some that may be lurking in the back of a cupboard. The high acetic acid content of vinegar makes it a great weapon for dissolving dirt and oil.
- White vinegar
- Hot water
- Spray bottle (optional)
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- Mix ⅓ cup of white vinegar with ⅔ cup of hot water.
- If you have a spray bottle, fill it and use it to apply the mixture. Spray it liberally on the oily patch on the wall. If you don’t have a spray bottle, simply use a cloth to apply the mixture, rubbing it in small circles.
- Leave the vinegar to sit on the surface for 5 minutes, allowing it to penetrate the deeper layers of grease.
- Wipe away with a clean cloth. Repeat these steps if necessary.
If your grease stain is particularly stubborn, adjust the ratios of vinegar to the water, adding more vinegar and/or less water.
Method 3: Baking Soda.
Another one of those miracle products that has a dozen uses, and oil removal is one of them.
It works in a very different way from vinegar, so if you attempted that method first and you didn’t have any luck, baking soda may be the one for you.
What you’ll need:
- Baking soda
- Warm water
- Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to a small bowl of warm water, mixing it into a paste.
- Apply the paste over the stain, and leave it to soak for 5-10 minutes.
- Gently rub the baking soda paste into the stain with a sponge.
- Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth.
- Follow up with a dry cloth, removing any moisture.
- Repeat these steps if necessary.
Removing Oil from Different Kinds of Wall Materials.
Most wallpaper is treated and coated in a plastic layer, so it acts much the same as a semi-gloss paint. In this case, you can try out any of the methods above.
It will be much more difficult to remove oil from unfinished wallpaper without significantly damaging the paper, but there are things you can try.
The most common method to remove oil from unfinished wallpaper is to use heat treatment.
Use the following method:
- Set the clothing iron to the lowest heat setting.
- Place a cloth or a few paper towels over the stain.
- Go over the area with the iron, being careful not to burn your hands or use the iron directly onto the wall.
- You should be able to see the grease being absorbed by the cloth or paper towel. If the paper towel becomes saturated with grease, grab a few fresh ones and repeat the process.
- Repeat these steps until the stain is gone.
This method can also be used to remove oils from flat painted walls. The process doesn’t involve using any abrasive products, so is unlikely to ware away or damage the wallpaper or paint.
The heat should encourage the oil to melt into the paper towel, and away from your walls, without any scrubbing or any application of moisture.
Unfinished Wood Paneling:
Wood is particularly thirsty and laps up any spills. To attempt to remove the stain, you can try using any of the methods listed so far.
Wood is resilient and won’t damage too easily. If none of the methods work and you want a more aggressive approach, apply a mineral spirit.
If all else fails, you may need to treat the entire wood paneling with oil or varnish to darken the whole appearance to match the oily patch.
This could a good opportunity to change up the look of your house a little, and bonus, it will protect it from future damage.
Can you paint over grease stains on walls?
If the stain won’t budge from your painted wall, redecorating is the next step. You can definitely paint over grease stains, there are just a few things you need to bear in mind.
The imperative thing here is to protect the stain from bleeding through your next coat of paint, which would render the whole exercise pretty useless.
Buy a stain-blocking paint primer and your desired paint color and get to work. You may get lucky and manage to prime and paint the stained area only.
But don’t be surprised if you need to paint the rest of the wall to get make the stain disappear. It will be worth it in the end though, promise!
What Happens When You Leave Oil Stains on the Wall?
Realistically, the longer you leave the oil on the wall, the harder it will be to remove. The grease will be completely absorbed by the wall, and over time, will gel with the surface.
The most effective method for eradicating old stains is heat treatment. As before, place a cloth or paper towel over the stain and go over the area with a clothing iron.
This should break down the grease, emulsify the oil, and allow the grease to be lifted from the host surface.
Grease stains are stubborn and can ruin the aesthetic of a fresh, clean home. Luckily there are a few methods you can use to tackle them, largely using things you’d find in your cupboards anyway.
The best thing you can do is be proactive and get to work on the stain immediately.
If possible, you should paint the high-traffic areas of your home with a more resilient paint. Washable paint is formulated so it can be wiped clean to remove marks and stains, without damaging the paint itself.
You can purchase these from hardware stores at a slightly higher price than normal paints. They’re worth the investment and will save you time in the long run, keeping your house looking well-kept and new for years.
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API