When you’ve had an oil spill, the smell tends to stick around for a while. Although the mess can be a hassle to clean up, sometimes ridding your space of the odor is far more complicated. Fortunately, a handful of ways to eliminate an oil spill smells exist. After the spill has been dealt with, you can work toward removing the scent of oil from your property. 

Steps to Take in the Event of an Oil Spill

Unfortunately, you cannot simply undo an oil spill. It is a problem that no one wants to have, but it occurs occasionally. Speed is essential in the cleanup process, as is being thorough. When you have a spill, it may be necessary to report it to the authorities, depending on your location and the size of the spill. In the event of a large spill, a professional will need to handle the cleanup process.

In the meantime, it is essential to be safe. Safety around oil spills is the best way to prevent a mess from becoming something incredibly dangerous. 

  1. Move anything flammable or open flames away from the spill.
  2. Open the windows and use a fan to blow out the fumes. 
  3. Remove pets and children from the area.

A professional will be equipped to handle the rest of the necessary steps. However, if your spill is small and no professional is required, simply soak up the spill with something absorbent (i.e., cat litter, sand, etc.), take out any damaged or saturated items, and scrub with hot water and quality soap. 

How to Get Rid of an Oil Spill Smell

Even after you clean the area, you may notice a lingering smell. For those with a sensitive nose, it can be overwhelming. Fortunately, some methods can fight the odor. 

Baking Soda and Powdered Laundry Detergent

Sprinkling baking soda or laundry detergent on the affected area can help to remove the smell of oil from your home. This can be done while the oil is still present or after some cleanup has been completed. A good scrub with a scented detergent can work well on odors. 


Vinegar is known for its odor-removing power. Cleaning with vinegar can remove any scents left behind. If you’re still noticing a smell, you can strategically place small vinegar dishes around the area until the odor is gone. 

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds smell tremendous and soak up other odors. You can place the grounds on plates around the smelly location to absorb some of the scent. You will likely notice an improvement over the course of a few days. 


Oil in carpets makes the odor stick around longer. A good carpet shampoo can remove any leftover oil and the scent that comes with it. Consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner or purchasing a quality machine for your home. 

Is an Oil Smell Dangerous to People?

Although oil is flammable, heating oil is far less dangerous than other forms, as it is not explosive. It does, however, cause some problems when the fumes are breathed in over a period of time. Heating oil fumes can cause dizziness, headaches, irritation, nausea, and concentration issues. If you smell heating oil, it is best to fix it immediately. 

Contact the Experts

Preventing an oil spill is ideal; with no spill comes no smell. Arlex Oil heating oil delivery and oil tank tune-up experts can help you to ensure that your tank is in working order. With regular maintenance and checks, an oil spill does not have to be a part of your future. Give us a call today or fill out our online contact form!