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How to Remove Old Cooking Oil From a Book Cover

Brandon Getty

Reading while cooking can be a recipe for disaster. Whether you're glued to the latest bestseller or referring to your favorite cookbook, the chance of a spill or spatter coating your book cover is high. Once spilled, cooking oil absorbs into the cover material and leaves ugly splotches.

Keep your cookbook's cover clean using household products.


If your book is a hardcover, scrape off as much of the old oil as possible with the blade of a butter knife. Soak up fresh oil stains with talcum powder or baking soda. Once most of the oil has been absorbed, wipe the book cover with a moist cloth.


Avoid adding too much solvent or rubbing in the dish soap if the book is covered in paper or cloth.

Do not keep your solvent near stove burners or any source of open flame.

In addition to their unsightly appearance, stained covers may be greasy to the touch. While fresh oil is simply wiped up, old stains require a more intensive removal approach.

  1. Sprinkle a solvent, such as mineral spirits or naphtha lighter fluid, onto the stained area of the book cover. Allow it to saturate the cooking oil for three to five minutes.

  2. Blot the cover with a soft cloth to soak up any excess solvent and loosened oil.

  3. Squirt several drops of a grease-cutting dish soap onto the remaining cooking oil and let it set for three to five minutes.

  4. Wipe the area clean with a moist cloth.

  5. Repeat Step 3 and rub the stain gently if oil remains.