A contractor spilled linseed oil on my stone patio, staining a large area. I tried cleaning the stone with simple dish soap & water, and it had absolutely no effect. I fear that the oil has been absorbed. Any other suggestions for a cleaning method, one that won't discolor the stone during cleaning?

The stained surfaces are bluestone, brick, and some random rocks.

Thank you for any suggestions.

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    1. Use an excess of turpentine/mineral spirits to dissolve the linseed oil then sop it up. 2. Steam clean. Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 23:25
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    Related: diy.stackexchange.com/q/83299/21138
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 13:22
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    Linseed is a drying oil, so this comes way too late, but limonene, orange oil, is mighty good at lifting unwanted oil spills. Put a generous amount on the the spill, equal volume or so, scrub the Dickens out of it, and hose off. Likely even after an hour, far less a day, some of the linseed has oxidized/polymerized, and is not coming out. Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 2:32
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    Why don't people have contractors clean up messes made. They're paying for a quality job, and that includes not messing up other stuff?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 14:42
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    Note that orange oil is a pretty general less-toxic alternative to turpentine.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 25, 2022 at 4:41

2 Answers 2


If the area isn't unreasonably large a poultice of talc and mineral spirits should work. You could purchase a commercial poultice preparation if you don't care to play Kitchen Chemist, but it may take some shopping to find a large tub rather than the small jars marketed for countertop maintenance.

For areas too large for that but too small to have steam cleaned your best bet is probably a commercial degreasing product (or copious amounts of mineral spirits) and your garden hose. Soaking the area first should help by saturating the stone so the solvents won't be able to carry more contaminates into the stone.


Caustic soda.

Make a thin paste with water.

This stuff will eat flesh, be careful.

Clean up with lots of water, then club soda or white vinegar to neutralise any residue.

If your stone has any moss it will die so there will be a visible change, you may need to bleach your whole patio afterwards.

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