Which Solvent is Needed to Remove an Oil Spot?

What is an Oil Solvent? How to use Acetone? Which Fabrics will dissolve by Acetone? How can Carbon Tetrachloride remove Oil Stain? How to use Diethyl Ether for removing Oil Stains? Can Lye remove Oil Stains?
which solvent is needed to remove an oil spot
Photo by Jon Moore on Unsplash

Do you know when people discovered soap? According to the archaeologists, they discovered soap-like materials from the things excavated from the regions of Babylonians. According to them, Babylonians discovered the use of soap in 2800 BC. However, cleaning stains is still a headache for us. Let’s discuss which solvent is needed to remove an oil spot and what can dissolve an oil stain. Also, the answer to what is an oil solvent will be covered too.

1. What is an Oil Solvent?

Formulated cleaning solutions having the properties of dissolving oil concentrations are known as oil solvents. These solvents have an organic formulation that is high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These solvents are highly non-polar (molecules with no separation charge and neither positive nor negative pole formation) in nature. Acetone, carbon tetrachloride, diethyl ether, and hexane are some commonly used oil solvents for removing oil stains from different surfaces. (See Which Best Describes the Dissolving Process?)

2. How can Non-Polar Molecules dissolve in Oil?

The high intermolecular forces among the molecules of non-polar solvents make it possible. The molecules are attracted more towards each other rather than the molecules of the solute to which it is applied (oil or grease). When the solvent is absorbed in the stain, this strong intermolecular force loosens up the molecules of oil or grease from the surface. (See What are Examples of Suspension?)

3. Which Solvent is needed to Remove an Oil Spot?

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Photo by Kai Dahms on Unsplash

We will begin with an acetone solution to remove grease stains from colorfast fabrics (the ability of some fabrics to maintain the same color without fading even after being washed). This solvent is needed to remove an oil spot and in the next segment, you will learn how.

4. How to use Acetone?

Acetone solution is mostly used as nail polish remover, and you can find it in any cosmetic stores offline and online. Here are the steps to remove the stain with acetone.

Materials needed: – Acetone, stained garment, and absorbent rag (a type of absorbent fabric).

Step 1 – Fold rag into a thick pad and place it on a flat surface (floor or work counter).

Step 2 – Turn the garment upside down. Place the garment in such a way that the stained area is above the pad.

Step 3 – Spray or drop the acetone solution on the stain. And repeat the procedure and let the solution make its way deep into the fiber.

Step 4 – Wash the garment after it.

Note – The stain may not be completely removed from the cloth, but it will not be as gross as before. (See What is the Correct Order of Steps in the Scientific Method?)

5. What are the Two Types of Acetones?

Mineral spirits and acetone thinners are two types of acetone spirits that can be used as oil removers. The mineral spirit is used for thinning oil-based paints while Acetone is used for thinning lacquers like nail polish. Mineral spirits are not water-soluble and less flammable. Acetone (both liquid and vapor) is highly flammable and water-soluble. (See What are the Properties of Mixtures?)

6. Which Fabrics will dissolve by Acetone?

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Photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash

Acetone is a good oil remover, but you should not use it with every fabric. You should avoid using acetone with fabrics like acetate, modacrylic, and triacetate fabrics. Using acetone on these fabrics will remove the stain along with the fabric. Yes, acetone dissolves the molecular formation of these fabrics. The same is the case with natural hair fibers like wool, silk, etc. (See What are the Characteristics of an Element?)

7. What is Carbon Tetrachloride?

A colorless, toxic volatile liquid used as a solvent to remove fats and oil is carbon tetrachloride. It is a clear liquid with a sweet aroma similar to chloroform, but it is not flammable. It has a chemical formula CCI4 and is used as a degreasing agent in dry cleaning mixes. (See 5 Fun Kitchen Science Experiments)

8. How can Carbon Tetrachloride remove Oil Stain?

It is also used as a stain remover for furniture, carpeting, and clothes. This can be the one when you answer which solvent is needed to remove an oil spot. Take a look at the types of stains that can be removed with them.

  • Adhesive tape: Apply carbon tetrachloride then wash the whites (cotton and linens) and colored (cotton, synthetic, linen, wool, synthetics, and silks) cloths in detergent
  • Chewing gums: Apply to washable colored (cotton, synthetic, linen, wool, synthetics, and silks) clothes
  • Ice creams: Apply to whites (cotton and linens) and also to colored (cotton, synthetic, linen, wool, synthetics, and silks) clothes.  Also, check out What are Properties in Science?

9. What is Diethyl Ether?

Looking for the perfect solution, which solvent is needed to remove an oil spot? Yes, it may be used too. Diethyl ether is a volatile liquid with a sweet smell, no color or odor, but of an extremely flammable quality. Its odor is known as ethereal odor, and it is commonly used in industries and laboratories as a solvent for the manufacturing of synthetic dyes and plastics. (See A list of incredible scientific discoveries)

10. How to use Diethyl Ether for removing Oil Stains?

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Photo by Dan Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

This solvent is highly flammable; therefore, it is only provided to laundry services. They use it with detergent to remove stains. The solution of Dipropylene Glycol Dimethyl Ether (DMM) also provides fast drying. It prevents the fabric from shrinking during the wash along with any soil redeposition. (See What type of Ions have Name ending in -ide?)

11. What is Hexane?

It is an unbranched alkane solution that has the role of a non-polar solvent. Hexane has 6 carbon atoms and works as a neurotoxin too. It is a cheap solvent that is easily evaporated. In industries, it is used in the production of leather, glue for shoes, and roofing. It is mostly obtained by refining crude oil. Must read What are Examples of Elements in Everyday Life?

12. What is a Good Remover for Motor Oil?

Motor oil stains can be hard to remove, but you can try removing them with a paste of acetone lacquer thinner or mineral spirits. Make this paste by mixing the thinner with water and liquid dish soap or dry laundry detergent. Pretty interesting if this solvent is needed to remove an oil spot as it can be used to remove motor oil stains too. (See 38 Different Types of Salt You Didn’t Know Existed)

13. What can dissolve an Oil Stain that is hardened?

Oil stains are a headache but dried grease stains are migraines, no offense. Well, you can get relief from this migraine by trying out this oil-removing trick. Mix dish soap, baking soda, and kosher salt and apply it with a mildly abrasive sponge. Must read the 63 Amazing Ways to Use Baking Soda.

14. Can Lye remove Oil Stains?

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Photo by Bevlea Ross on Unsplash

Lye is a highly caustic base solvent. It is a type of sodium hydroxide. It can be used as an oil remover because when it combines with oil an exothermic reaction takes place. It releases an abundant amount of heat and turns the oil into soap.

Now, you know what is an oil solvent and what can dissolve an oil stain is a non-polar solvent. It is time to ask your friends and family about which solvent is needed to remove an oil spot. (See What Instrument is Used to Measure Mass of an Object?)

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