How to Remove Motor Oil and Grease from Hands

by Contributing WriterUpdated July 21, 2017
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Items you will need

  • Petroleum Jelly

  • Mineral oil

  • Sugar or Salt scrub

  • Pumice Stone

  • Dish Soap

  • Wash Cloths


Protect hands after exposure to motor oil or grease by washing them immediately so there is less time for skin to get stained.


Dry or calloused skin is most likely to absorb motor oil and grease so try to keep hands moisturized.

Sometimes just washing your hands will not remove motor oil or grease. Removing motor oil and grease from hands can be a difficult feat, but with a few simple steps your hands will be clean again.

After you have washed as much of the motor oil or grease off your hands, you may find a dark residue remains or that parts of your hands seem permanently discolored. A heavy duty dish soap will break down grease but further action is necessary depending on how stained your hands are.

Fight fire with fire. Massage a liberal amount of petroleum jelly into your hands, focusing on the dry areas like the knuckles and cuticles for a good five minutes. Use a dry washcloth to wipe off the petroleum jelly and rub harder on the stained parts of your hands. If your hands have severely dry or cracked skin then further action is needed.

Make a miniature bath in your sink and soak your hands for five to ten minutes in a mixture of warm water and hair conditioner. An alternative is using a creamy body wash or bath salts to make the soak. Allowing your hands to soak will make it easier to remove the dead skin that has trapped the motor oil or grease that will not budge.

Now that your skin is soft, exfoliate your hands with a salt or sugar scrub. Using a washcloth is recommended and you should scrub gently to remove the motor oil or grease. You can purchase a sugar or salt scrub at a drugstore or make your own. Make your own scrub by combining equal parts salt or sugar with mineral oil or petroleum jelly (use vegetable oil in a pinch).

If there is still dead skin where the motor oil or grease will not come off, hit stubborn spots with the pumice stone. Choose a fine pumice stone and file the area gently. Afterwards, make sure to moisturize your hands with a heavy duty lotion.

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