Don’t Spill Motor Oil On Your Carpet

Yes, that is correct…I spilled used motor oil in my kids bedroom. Who does that? Does this kinda of stuff happen to other people, or just me? Wait, don’t answer.

I know I’m not going to get away with skipping that part about how it happened, so here we go. Adam was outside changing the oil on one of our cars. When he was done he came to the door with the used filter in a bag and asked me to put it in a trash can that was almost full. The diaper pail in the boy’s room was way past the point of needing to be taken out, so I took the bagged filter into their room where it touched the floor as I was opening the lid. I lifted it up off the floor to put it in the trash and BAM, I saw it….motor oil all over the carpet.

I KNOW. Who is so dumb as to bring a old oily bag into their house? I don’t know what I was thinking, I was just cleaning on autopilot and when Adam handed me the bag I just grabbed it without thinking. Hindsight, right?

As soon as I saw the spill I immediately ran and grabbed a wad of paper towels to start blotting it up, but that carpet was thirsty and it wasn’t coming out. Then I remembered a pin on pinterest that says if you get grease on your clothes you should go over it with a piece of chalk, because the chalk will soak up the stain. This was going to take way more than a piece of chalk, but I happened to have a ton of leftover chalk power from my attempted DIY chalk paint, so I ran and grabbed that.

I dumped it on my stain and waited for it to work its magic. But no magic happened. So I dumped more, and more…until I was left with a muddy, sticky, motor oil mess.


I had no idea what to do and I didn’t want the kids to discover it, so I just put a pot over the motor oil disaster and decided to mess with it  later.

And there it sat, for nearly three weeks. My boys climbed on the pot, jumped off the pot, banged on the pot…but they never lifted it. I couldn’t believe it. I lifted it a few times just to make sure they hadn’t discovered my mess, but the second I did I regretted it because it allowed the horrible motor oil smell to spill out into my house. Truth be told the pot might have just stayed there forever if it wasn’t sitting in the most traffic part of the bedroom – in front of the changing table.

The stain wasn’t coming out and I wasn’t sure what to do…besides rip out the carpet. Adam didn’t have a better plan, so….

The carpet was cheap and gross anyway , so no harm done. We were planning on ripping it out one day anyway and all I did was speed up the process. Man I really did everyone a favor actually. I’m sure the ‘thank you’s” will start to roll in any day now….

 The flooring you see underneath the carpet is a (pretty expensive) stained and polished concrete. It runs throughout the house and we would love to just leave it. HOWEVER, the  investor that we bought of house from ruined them. When he repainted out entire house (a horrid salmon pinky salmon color, see pics here) he slopped paint all over them, and then covered them up with cheap carpet and even cheaper tile.

Such a shame. Even if we could manage to get all the paint up somehow, they have still been patched with concrete.

Now we just have to figure out what to do with the floors. I would love love love to continue our hardwood floors into all the bedrooms, but that is is pretty expensive and a fair amount of work. I have seriously considered painting them, it would be unique and crazy cheap to do. However, I read this post on The Handmade Home recently that says that painting your concrete floors – no matter how good they look – decreases the value of your home. I’m not super concerned about selling our house when the time comes, but it is something to think about. The last option is to just replace the carpet. It would be medium price but no work on our end…except that Adam and I have come to loathe carpet. It just collects dirt and grime and never seems to come clean. Lets face it, if a dog or kid pees on your carpet you and that pee are together for the long haul. There was no way that motor oil was coming out (the stain on the bottom of the carpet was nearly a foot across) and if it had happened on new carpet I would have freaked out. BUT its a universally accepted flooring choice (unlike painting your concrete).

Anyway, that is where we are at. Just thought y’all might enjoy a good laugh today.

Update – I ended up paper bagging the floor, GO HERE to read that tutorial!

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  1. Oh dear! It’s funny (well, not really) how one small thing can snowball into something as huge as tearin’ up your carpet! Oh well, if it was cheap & gross anyways… sounds like your in the right direction now with that new carpet. I’ll have a look at the Mohawk carpet now too, it sounds like it holds up really good.
    Inspire Me Heather recently posted..project: table runnersMy Profile

  2. I love that you just put a bucket on it! And I’m amazed the kids didn’t mess with it! I definitely need to check out that Mohawk carpet. I love the softness of carpet but with two kids and a dog it always looks gross!
    Heather @ What Does She Do All Day? recently posted..Nap Time Craft Time: Zippered Wetbag TutorialMy Profile

  3. Oh dear! I feel your pain Ashley.
    many years ago when my boys were 2 1/2 and 8 months old, I was on a long phone call and was greeted by my baby crawling into my room covered in blue green craft paint. I immediately freaked out which sent my toddler (the guilty culprit) bolting through the house with his feet also covered in paint. On entering the study, I discovered that as well as painting his brother and his own feet, he had also painted a bit of everything in the room!
    Fortunately only our bedrooms and study were carpeted (the rest of the house had stone flooring) – but thanks to his painting efforts, the crawling baby and naughty toddler running from mommy, we had to replace all of our carpet – needless to say, we installed a product that claimed to be party proof and it still looked new the day we sold our house!

  4. I’m not laughing at you I’m laughing with you. I know this pain all to well. Ex-hubby and I had just built our home and this was in 2000 and I had a deep burgundy carpet put in the “formal” living room which was huge so the dark carpet didn’t matter. Well you had to walk through this room to go out the French doors to the back yard where the pool is. I was carrying pool shock through the house and it was leaking. Yep! you guessed it bleach stains on the new carpet. Need I say more…LOL
    [email protected] beautiful life recently posted..My Trashy lil Treasure…My Profile

  5. Let me tell you a story about boys. I am going to give you the short story; but you will still understand my pain. After years of saving my husband I brought a house. We lived with gross carpet for a few years till we could afford the new carpet we wanted. We (my husband) was crazy and wanted light blue carpet through the whole house. I knew better, but I went along. From the start it showed every foot print, every paw print, and even the dust bunnies looked like neon lights. Then my younger son took up skate boarding. He took his skate board into his bed room, took it apart, oiled the wheels and spray painted the board. ON MY NEW CARPET……I almost had a break down. The carpet stayed that way till he moved out. I moved the furniture around a bit and put a rug down….but I did not fix the carpet till years later.

    Have you looked at the new carpet tiles on the market? We have them in my den area. I love them because I can pull one up if needed and replace it. I can also take a tile to the sink and wash it in the event of a puppy accident.

    • He spray painted it right on the carpet!?! All these horror stories are giving me flash-forwards of my future…

      I think the idea of carpet tiles is genius and have looked into them, but they are SO expensive. They would cost more than doing hardwood, unless I’m missing something. We’re yours not crazy expensive?
      Ashley recently posted..Don’t Spill Motor Oil On Your CarpetMy Profile

  6. Oh, Bless it! I’ve spilled paint on our engineered flooring, but it comes right up! We only have carpet upstairs and in two rooms downstairs, and I tell ya I’d pull it up in a heartbeat! I’m sad your stained concrete floors were ruined. My MIL has them and they love them! Sad, sad, sad…
    Gwen recently posted..Wa-hoo-wah and some BearsMy Profile

  7. WOW – used motor oil is a new one, but I think I would have done the same thing! Trashbag to oil – check!! And I thought we had original hardwood under the carpet in our bedroom, but nope, just subfloor. So sad :( Gotta save up for new floors in that room!
    keri @ shaken together recently posted..{taste this} mayflower munch mixMy Profile

  8. Oh no! My carpet horror story was when my 3 year old dumped red paint right in the middle of our master bedroom! Ugh! We ended up replacing the carpet.

  9. Yow. I would totally paint the concrete until you decide what you want to do in the long run – be that saving up for the hardwood, or finding carpet you like. I can totally see how it decreases the value of a house in terms of an appraisal – it is, after all, more of a lack of flooring – but it would be easier on your eyes since you guys really arent trying to get it sell-worthy right now.

  10. OUCH!! We had a bunch of little girls at our house for a slumber party – they built forts out of blankets and weighted them with paint cans… Can you see where this is going? 1/2 gallon of paint on the carpet. The store that rented steam cleaners didn’t open for 5 hours, I scooped up what I could, covered it with wet towels, steamcleaned them the next day and it looked decent. Bottom line, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    Donna Woods recently posted..Hand Cut WordsMy Profile

  11. I can’t believe the kids played in, on and around the bucket for three weeks but didn’t get discover the mess underneath. You were lucky with that one! They must have thought it was a new piece of furniture, haha!

    We were so sick of a certain room of carpet a couple of years ago that we ripped it up and painted the subfloor. But it looked pretty terrible because the subfloor was not good. However, it smelt a lot better! We just recarpeted it recently because our house is up for sale.

    I love those polished concrete floors. I wonder if you could rent a buffer and buff them down, then stain over the plaster patches and all, then buff again? Have you ever talked to anybody who does those kinds of floors?

    Keep us posted on the Smartstrand Silk carpet. That sounds like a good option!
    Jan Elizabeth recently posted..Early Days – and How They Can Shape the FutureMy Profile

  12. What a disaster… Be sure to spill some motor oil on that carpet sample and let me know how it fares!

  13. Goo!!! No fun! I don’t have a horrible carpet but I do have a flooring suggestion…have you seen the “decoupaged” floor? What I found on Pinterest was using basically torn paper bags, soaking it in glue and laying it down. Then you stain it whatever color and put varnish (I think) on it. It wouldn’t cost much (maybe $100?) and it would cover the unfortunate paint on the beautiful floor. And…I would for sure try the oil on the non-staining carpet! Best of luck to ya!

    • Yes! I pinned the brown paper floors forever ago and would love to do it. However, everyone does it on plywood floors and I have yet to find anyone who has successfully done it on concrete. Maybe I should be a pioneer and try it anyway, I would hate to do all that and have it not stick though.
      Ashley recently posted..Don’t Spill Motor Oil On Your CarpetMy Profile

  14. Just two cents from me but I imagine that painting concrete floors reduces the value of your home because it is less good than the plain concrete. You, however, do not have plain concrete, you have messy concrete, so painting over that probably won’t significantly reduce value but will make you happy so I would totally go for it. You can always put a carpet over it later if you consider selling.

    • I agree, if the painted floor looks good buyers won’t mind. After seeing the rest of our DIY home I don’t think a painted floor is going to surprise anyone, lol. What it was saying in that article though is that when a home appraiser comes out they have to count painted concrete as a room without ANY flooring, which gives your house a lower value and buyer don’t like to pay more than the house is valued. It’s all so circumstantial though so your can’t worry about it too much…and I really like the idea of painting the floor.
      Ashley recently posted..Don’t Spill Motor Oil On Your CarpetMy Profile

  15. You know those pretzel barrels?!? I had one that had some pretzel crumbs & lots of salt in it. It was on my kitchen table to take to work – a girl there wanted it for a project. I ran an errand & came home -no happy dog barking hello? I opened the door & thought I would die from the smell. My collie got the container down, licked out all the salt, got his head stuck & had violent diarrhea on EVERY inch of EVERY type of flooring, walls, furniture – ALL was covered. Poor baby! I pulled the barrell off, took him outside and gave him lots & lots of fresh water. He recovered quickly thank goodness but………. We pulled up the carpet & put concrete in the living room.
    I say paint the concrete – I don’t understand how it could devalue it? If it looks better buyers would appreciate it. There are lots of neat ideas on painted concrete on the web. My only concern would be that your boys hitting the floor.
    Love the new carpet type – headed over there for my sample :) thank you !

    • Oh my gosh that is NOT where I thought you were headed when you were talking about the pretzel container! My mouth literally fell open halfway through…your house must have smelled horrid!
      Ashley recently posted..Don’t Spill Motor Oil On Your CarpetMy Profile

      • Take that horrid smell & start to multiply it. I kept thinking I had EVERYTHING clean and would look another direction and see more. We live in a log cabin so no easy to wipe own walls for me, lots of hairline cracks on large logs needed attention, grrrr. It was even on the ceiling – poor SmoKee – a rough day for both of us. We had dozens of candles going, white vinegar in containers everywhere & thought about putting up caution tape, haha.
        I showed my hubby (who put in our concrete living room floor) your concrete floor – he says paint it. Buyers are looking for finished projects so go for it :) lots of exciting options for painting it!

  16. Marce Hansen says:

    I agree, paint the floor! It will not decrease the value, you already have concrete floor with messy paint on it, it can only up the value. Plus, there are some really cool painted floors, with painted rug patterns. At least you would be enhancing what you have pretty inexpensively. It may serve you well with little ones until you make the leap. Good Luck!

  17. You know one of the reasons I follow your blog is because you make real mistakes and aren’t afraid to show them. You are not fake in any way. That said, I couldn’t imagine ever carrying a garbage bag filled with gross liquids into my bedroom. About three hours later, I proceeded to carry the kitchen garbage bag into my master bathroom to get the garbage from there. Only after I did that is when I realized that my bag was filled with chicken blood, bones and other liquids. How I could see how easily something like that could happen! Thank God it didn’t leak! Anyway, thank you Ashley for being real. :)
    Kathleen recently posted..Relocation Can Be a Smooth MoveMy Profile

    • Lol Kathleen. As soon as it happened I felt like an idiot for bringing that bag into my house, but a few seconds before I was just quickly and mindlessly doing my chores! I think my brain shuts down when I’m cleaning…just yesterday I found all my outgoing mail stuff (envelopes, pen, stamps) stacked neatly on a shelf in my pantry.
      Anyway, thanks for your admission and making me feel better about my stain!

  18. Have you thought about cork flooring? I love so many things about cork, but haven’t been brave enough to try it…..the boys’ room might be the perfect place for it!

  19. I had never seen the brown paper bag flooring, so when I looked on pinterest, the first one I found was pretty detailed and had a link to someone who applied it to concrete. :)

    • Erin! Thank you! That is the same website I had read and pinned, but somehow I missed the part where she tried it on concrete. I think my flooring decision jut got a little easier…

  20. I love painted concrete floors, and as others suggested, you can always carpet or hardwood later. I despise carpet, no kids in the house, but lots of pets, and I tend to be messy myself. I pulled the carpet up and have the yucky old tile that was underneath in most of the rooms. Not good, but better than carpet.I will never, ever put carpet down again, is so much easier without,

  21. I love polished concrete! UGH! How could anyone ruin it! ARG! I had my husband remove our carpet a few years ago, with three children and a daycare in my home, it was hideous. Next step is to remove the upstairs carpet.
    Jennifer Sample recently posted..Wordless Wednesday 11/14/2012My Profile

  22. You are too funny!! Something you might want to check out is OSB (chip board) – at least that’s what we call it here in Canada. It’s inexpensive and comes in big sheets like plywood and when you varnish it all the pieces (chips) turn different shades. It can really be very beautiful and I like it better than the hardwood click flooring. I’ve seen it used on dance floors and the wear is minimal on those. Then you could just get an area rug, so it would be softer for the kidlets. We got rid of all the carpet in our house but I miss it in the bedrooms. That carpet sounds interesting. Good luck with your choice!

  23. That sounds exactly like something I would do… always do it the hard way first and then learn from your mistakes! I don’t have any carpet horror stories as bad as this one but I can definitely agree with the issue of puppies making lots of “mistakes” when they’re being trained. (At first I typed “potty trained” and chuckled… but for once I’m not talking about my boys.) :)
    Jen C recently posted..Let’s All Clap For BurlapMy Profile

  24. I thought maybe your hubby was repairing a four-wheeler in the bedroom (which is something my husband did as a teen – waaaay before he was my husband!). I’m with everyone on the painting. When you sell there are sometimes allowances for floorcoverings anyway. You would probably be carpeting that room to ready the house for sale. That said, some of my favorite out of the box flooring ideas: In our first home, we ripped the carpeting up and bought 4×8 oak veneer sheets (which the little girl at Lowes undercharged us for! $$). My husband cut them into 12″ wide planks and laid them like a wide plank flooring. We stained and finished the boards before putting them down. It looked great and was an affordable option for wide flooring! I’ve also seen small logs cut into wafers and all laid out (sort of like a penny floor), then epoxy-d! Beautiful. And finally the penny (dime, nickel, whatever you prefer) floor. Lovely. I think if someone could fined zillions of scrabble tiles that would make a super fun kids floor! Can’t wait to see what you decide on!!!

  25. First of all, this is not at all beyond the scope of possibilities in my house and I would have done EXACTLY what you did, all of those things. The chalk thing seemed to make so much sense! Except, I wouldn’t have had chalk and I woul dhave tried baking soda and that would have been as much of a mess. And I LOVE that you just put a pot on it!! However, a few years ago, I discovered what will soak up grease: “someone” brought hydrolic fluid in on their shoe and this sucked it right up. For your mess, we would have needed some more, but I think it would have worked.

    • Okay, panty liners and shampoo is NOT what I was expecting when I clicked over to your blog, lol. Makes sense though if you think about it. I would have needed some of those giant pads they give you after you have a baby for my stain. Thanks for the link, I learn to many interesting tips from my readers and I think this is one of my favorites :D

  26. since im totally selfish, i wish you would paint the concrete floor! HA HA HA… i just think it would be amazing, and the tutorial would be super epic!


  27. I read about your motor oil fiasco. The first thing I would’ve tried would be Dawn dishsoap. If cleanup crews use it after oil spills, I say give it a try. I use it all the time on grease splatters on clothing. Nothing worse than having a favorite shirt, putting it on, and seeing a grease spot on it. Pretreating is best, if you catch it when it happens, but I’ve also used it on a silk blouse my MIL had that had already been washed. And it got it out! It always seems to work for me. I’d love to see how those carpet samples stand up to oil and bleach, chocolate and lemon juice, etc. Try both acids and bases, oil and water-based things. Have fun!

    • Oh my gosh, DAWN. I knew that Dawn was a grease fighter but it never crossed my mind to put it on my oil stain. I wonder how well it would have worked, that stain was really sticky and gross. I guarantee you it would have worked better than that chalk powder did, lol. The laundry tip is gold too, I’ll have to keep a bottle in my laundry room to remind myself to use it. Between me and my kids we have lots of stained clothing!

  28. Thats why we always recommend a carpet tile or even vinyl tiler. Say accidents like these occur, its far easier to replace a small section of the carpet, rather than cleaning or even replacing the whole carpet!

  29. That concrete really looks ruined, which is a big loss. Hardwood is a very good option for bedroom flooring, but with kids in the house it would be really hard to maintain it properly. The tiles and the carpet are the best options here. The tiles will make the floor cold, so you could get a rug or something to cover it a little. And if you decide on a new carpet after all, there are options which won’t gather so much dirt and will be easy to clean.
    Amy Hufston recently posted..How to Keep the Dust to a MinimumMy Profile

  30. Oh gosh! It’s so difficult to get oil out of anything. What a shame! Hardwood is a really lovely option for bedroom floors though, and quite cosy once you lay down a few rugs.

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