How to Clean Up an Oil Spill in the Kitchen

Today’s post, How to Clean Up an Oil Spill, is not about saving the environment.  It’s about saving your kitchen floor!  Yesterday, I sent a glass olive oil cruet crashing to the floor and was left with shards of oil soaked glass and a huge pool of olive oil soaking into the tile grout.  I was able to save the day with a simple solution.  Let me show you how I did it!

How to Clean Up an Oil Spill in the Kitchen {You won't believe how easy it is!} #kitchentip #cleanupoil #oliveoil

A few months ago, my family gave me just the birthday gift I wanted:  An Olive Oil Cruet.  (Yep.  I had to look that up.  I had no idea what it was called!  Did you?)

Olive Oi Cruet(Image Credit:

I’m pretty easy to please, since they only cost about five dollars.  I have wanted one forever, but I just never got around to buying one.  I loved my gift.  I used it all the time . . . until I broke it!

Last night, clumsy me bumped it with my elbow and knocked it off the counter onto my tiled floor, where–you guessed it–it shattered.  Cleaning up broken glass is difficult enough, but cleaning up broken glass covered in olive oil, sitting in a pile of olive oil is almost impossible!  I was also worried because some of it landed on the grout.  My sister-in-law once told me that her tile grout was ruined by an olive oil spill in her pantry.  At least her grout was hidden in the closet.  Mine was in the middle of the kitchen floor.

My fantastic husband quickly googled, “How to Clean Up Olive Oil Spill,” and I was saved!  (Honestly, what did we ever do before Google?)

Here’s what to do.  (This is so cool!)

  1. Pick up the large pieces of glass (use a rag so that you don’t cut yourself), and throw them in the trash.
  2. Carefully blot up any oil you can with paper towels. (You can skip this step, but you’ll use more corn starch or oatmeal.)
  3. Sprinkle the oil mess with corn starch or oatmeal and allow it to sit for several minutes.
  4. Sweep up the corn starch and/or oatmeal with the remaining glass.
  5. Repeat until all oil is absorbed.

I started with corn starch, but moved on to oatmeal because it was easier to sprinkle across the floor.  The cool thing about the oatmeal/corn starch was that it helped me pick up the glass as well.  As I swept up the mess, I spread the oatmeal across the kitchen floor to pick up the glass.  Maybe it was easier because the oil on the glass stuck to the oatmeal.  I’m not sure why it worked, I just know that it did!

There was one spot on the floor (the location of the main puddle) that was left with a film after I swept.  Instead of washing the spot with soap and water, I sprinkled on more oatmeal and left it overnight.  In the morning, I swept it up, and the floor was completely clean!

Now my floor is as good as new, with no dark oil-soaked areas in the grout!

How to Clean Up an Oil Spill in the Kitchen {You won't believe how easy it is!} #kitchentip #cleanupoil #oliveoil

Thank you Google!  (I’d credit a blogger, but my hubby found the answer on a message board, not on a blog.)

Here are some other tips you might like:  (Images are linked.)

How to Teach Children to Clean Their Rooms {}  Tired of nagging kids to clean their rooms?  Your kids might be overwhelmed and not know where to start.  (Free Printable Reminder Cards)

Repairing Scuffed Shoes {} Add new life to your kids (or your) shoes! #shoe#repair

DIY Photo Lightbox Tutorial from your blog with better pictures! #diy#lightbox#photography

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Click here to see all the fantastic sites I like to link up with each week.



  1. Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry you had to experience an oil spill. I was really wondering about this the other day. As I bumped the oil with my elbow before I put the lid on. What would I do? Now I know. Pinning.

  2. Great tip. I have definitely had this happen before, I will pin this for later. I know it will come in handy one day.

  3. Thank you for sharing!! I never knew how to pick up an oil spill. Thank you so much!!

  4. Love this! I’ve pinned! And now I’m visiting your post about the DIY Light box!! Thank you!

  5. Great tip!

  6. Perfect timing. I
    needed this post which I luckily found on the Pin Me Linky Party.
    I have already shared it on Pinterest so others can benefit.

  7. Noe this is a handy tip! Now if I ever have a spill I’ll know exactly what to do.. Pinned it.. Everyone needs to know about this :)

  8. You are invited to share this with Show Your Stuff:

  9. I wish I had had this tip when I broke my depression glass cake plate. My heart was broken and just when I thought I had it all, a piece will show up that got stuck who know where and then I relive it all over again. Pinning.

    • I was amazed that the corn starch and oats helped pick up the glass. I only used it to absorb the oil, but it was definitely an added bonus! I know just what you mean about finding broken pieces later. (Especially when it’s your foot that finds them!

  10. What a great idea, I love this tip! Pinning it for sure, and thank you so much for sharing it at my link party!

  11. PJ @ Planned in Pencil says

    Oh my goodness, I’m such a klutz that this is definitely going to come in handy! Thank you for sharing it at the Pinworthy Project Party!

  12. Hey there! Found you on Diana Rambles Pin It Linkup! My eye balls went right to this one to pin because I’m a homemaker an knowing what to do to clean up things is important! Sounds like a great tip! Thanks for sharing. Following you on social media and bloglovin’ for sure! :)

  13. This worked like a charm! I’m so impressed. Thank you!

    • I’m so glad, Candace! There’s nothing as frustrating as spilling oil. Thanks for coming back to let me know it worked. Now, let’s just hope that neither one of us ever needs it again!

  14. I googled “how to clean olive oil off a tile floor” and your site came up. Thank you for sharing this. It was wonderfully easy to acquire all the info I needed. My six year old knocked our olive oil out of the pantry tonight and with five children ages six and under I needed a quick answer. I’m choosing to leave the oats to soak overnight, seeing as I had to leave the olive oil on the floor to feed the baby. :) These years are so precious though, somewhat hectic on nights like tonight, but full of joy no matter what!

  15. Incredible advices! My husband has the habit to spill olive oil on our wooden floor while he is making a salad. So I have to clean these oily stains everyday. Thanks a lot for this article!Regards!

  16. Way to go girl! I’ve never thought to use corn starch before because my hubby uses SpillFix at his shop and always bring some home for our household spills. Did you know some absorbent products can actually be environmentally friendly too? SpillFix is made from coconut husks so it’s almost always landfill safe. I love it!

  17. It happened to me just the other day and I used salt. It worked just fine.

  18. this really saved me. thank you!!

  19. I have recently come around to the idea of natural cleaners, especially for the kitchen. My oven is embarrassingly overdue for a cleaning, and I’m on the lookout for a good natural cleaning idea. The last thing I want is chemical residue in a space that heats up!

    Best regards!
    South Croydon Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  20. Thank you for posting this. I did exactly the same thing this morning. Will try your technique now.
    God bless you!

  21. Thanks, Brenna. My husband slipped once on the slipped oil and from that moment I make sure this never happens. I am going to follow all these instructions to keep my kitchen clean.

  22. Brenda Cammarata says

    It happened last night. I knocked a glass bottle with 2 cups of olive oil on the floor and it smashed. I tried everything I could thing of and then I found your post online. I had a cup of cornstarch and 2 cups of oats. Sprinkled on t he starch and then the oats. This morning it swept up like a charm taking all the tiny shards with it. Thank you so much. Pinned.

  23. This sounds amazing! It’s great to learn new cleaning tricks. I will definitely follow your advises so I always keep my place clean:)

  24. DO NOT USE SALT. I do not know how or when salt became the go solution for oil spills but throwing salt on a greasy oily floor is not a short term solution to making your floor non-slip. In fact to the contrary salt can make your greasy floor even more slippery as well as spread unsightly salt stains around your environment (a carpet is very tough surface to get a salty greasy out of). To clean up a grease spill immediately reach for your standard degreaser mop solution and mix in proper proportions with hot water. When Mopping do not ring out degreaser solution from your mop before mopping, slosh your wet mop on to the floor and mop around the entire affected area (grease is easily spread) you may need to mop your entire kitchen to ensure the whole mess is completely cleaned when you are satisfied that the grease/oil spill as been completely soaked in degreaser go through your kitchen again with a dry mop this time and soak up all the degreaser moving your mop in a side to side motion from one side of your kitchen to the other ringing out your mop when you can not soak up anymore liquid. When you have soaked up the majority of the liquid up (a light residue will remain on the floor) let the floor dry; if you work in a professional kitchen this make take only 5-10 mins. For a home roughly a 30 mins to dry. If dryness is immediately desired industry standard paper towel can be used to soak the remaining water left on your floor.

    Note: Although i completely disagree with using salt on a grease/oil spill, large heaps of salt can be used to soak up your oil spill but only large heaps. That being said large heaps of any dry powder solutions or condiment could soak up oil up.

    • meant to add:

      Note: Although i completely disagree with using salt on a grease/oil spill, large heaps of salt can be used to soak up your oil spill but only large heaps [added] the salt must be immediately swept up before anybody can accidentally walk through it thus spreading the mess further. That being said large heaps of any dry powder solutions or condiment could soak up oil up.

  25. Quite a good tip. I often have different spills in the kitchen and it’s nothing. but when it’s oil it’s not that easy to clean it. I had no idea corn stash would do such a good work. Your recipe worked perfectly for me, I’ll definitely keep it on mind for the next spill (I hope it won’t be soon). Greets!

  26. This does NOT work. Stick to dawn soap and water. Bigger mess than the actual spill. I’m extremely disappointed.

  27. Thank you so much! I am getting ready to teach a group of 3rd graders about oil spills. I want to show them how it harms birds. I want to have some water, add a bit of oil to it, and then add a feather. What happens to the feather? That’s what I want them to explore. But since I’m teaching about ocean pollution, and I know how messy oil can be, I need to know what to use to CLEAN UP the oil, using the most environment friendly materials. (We will only use a very small amount of water and oil to add the least amount of trash possible.) I think adding the clean up process to the experiment will make them more knowledgeable about the difficulties in cleaning up oil spills. What did teachers do before Google? Thanks again!!

  28. Well, we just had the exact same thing happen and we also Googled for help! Your remedy worked, thank you for posting!

  29. Awesome tricks…I had know idea like that before. Tweet it! love it…I know what a helpful post it is! Thanks for sharing.

  30. Hi Catherine. What a great post. Two days ago I had Olive oil spill in my shopping bag which was on my Parque floor. What a mess and I was just on my way out!!!!! I wish I had seen your post before that happened because the effort to clean the bags and everything in it and clean the floor as well, was mind-boggling. I also tried to wash the bags in my washing machine and ….. do I need to tell you what happened there. I then had to Google “How to clean a washing machine’ I have washed my floor every day with soapy water but it remains with that sticky feeling and leaves marks. I am now ready with my oats and all to leave on the floor. Will it work? Who knows. Maybe it is too late, but I sure will know for next time ((((o:
    Thanks for sharing

  31. Oh so that’s what it is called. An oil crulet. Thank you for the awesome insight :)

  32. I used pads (yes, those- meant for your period) to soak up the oil puddle since I don’t really use paper towels for cleaning and didn’t want to ruin a bunch of sponges and towels. Worked like a charm after using the other suggestions for the remaining slippery mess.

  33. After dropping a LARGE glass bottle on our kitchen floor (ARG!!!!) I used oatmeal (As per your suggestion) on one side and baking soda on the other side. I found the baking soda worked faster.

  34. Wow: Where were you all yesterday when a bottle of olive oil fell out of my shopping bag onto the marble kithen floor. i did find something on You Tube which was helpful, but I am left with a clean, but slippery floor. As I am 90 years old – the most frightening thing is falling – so – I am looking for a cure for the slippery. This page has been wonderful – but nothing really addresses my problem. I am going to wash the floor with dawn, vinegar and baking soda again, and see what happens. Out of desperation yesterday, after using a whole role of paper towels, along with old newspaper – I got my little dogs big poopy pads and they absorbed the rest. And the rest of the day I slept

  35. How about Granola and oats? Same consistency, that should have the same consistency right? I also have corn starch if that would work better. Thanks for the info!!

  36. you all are lucky . i had a rat in my kitchen . which is bad enough , but then found out it had chewed a hole in a gallon bottle of caster oil i had on the bottom of my wooden rack. so it was just a little oil until i figured out where the oil was coming form . so i went all over my kitchen floor to my hard wood dinning room to my cement porch

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