How to Remove Motor Oil from Hands

Knowing how to change the oil in your car is one of those valuable life skills that everyone should have in their arsenal. For one thing, it’s a great way to save some money. However, even if you’d rather just skip the fuss and pay the mechanic to change it for you, it’s still a great skill that might come in handy should you ever find yourself in a bind. There is one aspect of changing the oil in a car that’s not so great to deal with though, and that’s removing the grease from your hands and skin after the task has been completed. What is it about motor oil that makes it so tough to clean off of your hands? How can you remove the grease without rubbing your skin raw? In this blog, you’ll find the answers to those questions, as well as a few pointers on how to protect your hands when you work on a car.

Why Oil Is so Difficult to Remove

Whether it’s oily food remnants in a casserole dish or unsightly oil stains on a driveway, oil is simply difficult to clean up. What’s the reason for this? Well friends, it’s time for a science lesson. Oil and water don’t mix for two reasons. One, they have different densities. Oil is less dense than water, which is why it floats on top whenever they are combined. Two, water has polar molecules (which means that the molecules are positively charged on one end and negatively charged on the other), while oil molecules are non-polar (meaning they are surrounded by a shell of negative charges). This means that the water molecules stick to the water molecules, and the oil molecules stick to the oil molecules. Simply trying to remove oil with water won’t ever work since the two are natural enemies!

How to Remove Oil from Hands

There are a couple of methods you can take to effectively remove the oil from your hands, leaving them clean and more importantly, healthy. Men’s Health suggests starting with something that may seem a bit counterintuitive—using more oil. No, not more motor oil; instead, try something like baby oil and slather it all over your hands. Using a dry rag, wipe off the oily mixture and repeat as needed. This type of oil will help you easily remove the motor oil from your hands. If you don’t have any baby oil on hand, petroleum jelly can work as a substitute using this same method. Coconut oil is another alternative.

Next, mix some sugar with a bit of dish soap and lather it onto your hands. Use a pumice stone to buff your palms, and an old toothbrush to scrub your fingernails. This natural exfoliant will help remove any rough patches from your skin and leave them feeling soft. Finally, you can rinse, dry, and moisturize.

Leaf also recommends using a soap/sugar scrub and suggests focusing especially on the knuckles, cuticles, and lines on the palm, as oil tends to stick in these areas.

How to Protect Hands When You’re Working on a Car

Frequently working on cars can take a toll on your hands. From overuse injuries to skin problems, your hands might become a little worse for the wear unless you take proper care of them before, during, and after your mechanic work. A few tips for taking care of your hands while performing mechanic work include never putting dirty hands into gloves (as it can trap contaminants against your skin), remembering to moisturize before and after the work, avoiding the use of harsh chemicals to clean your hands, and wearing gloves while working with car fluids.

In the past, cleaning your hands after an afternoon spent changing your car’s oil might have been a hassle to deal with, but now that you’re armed with these tips, keeping your hands clean and healthy should be a breeze!

If you’re dealing with a hand condition that causes pain or makes it difficult to use your hands, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your hand health is our priority—and it should be yours as well! We’ll work with you to find a personalized treatment plan so you can get back to doing the things you love most (like restoring that classic car). To stay up-to-date on everything happening at HSST, make sure to follow us on Facebook! Our hands heal yours!