EngineLabs’ Tool Of The Month — DEI’s Fluid-Absorbing Oil Rug

When it comes to our Tool of the Month, sometimes it’s not a tool in the typical sense. This month, we’re looking at a product designed to keep the workshop clean and reduce cleanup time at the end of an oily project. We’re looking at DEI’s Oil Rug.

Anyone who has followed EngineLabs for any amount of time knows that I like things to be clean, and that I like to cover my workbench in blue shop towels when I’m working on anything even remotely oily. They’ve made appearances in quite a few articles, because A – I want to keep the wood tops of my workbenches nice, and B – I don’t like my workspace to be covered in slippery fluids.

However, in the grand scheme of things, paper towels, shop towels, or even shop rags really aren’t the best tool for the job. They have relatively low fluid capacity and once they are saturated, they don’t really keep the fluid off of the benchtop. If your benchtop is porous and isn’t properly sealed, can lead to issues beyond just cosmetic staining.

The usual go-to, the blue disposable shop towel, leaves a lot to be desired. As you can see, the oil coming off the piston on the right is still in contact with the wooden benchtop, and will still need to be cleaned up.

So, when we ran across DEI’s new Oil Rug, our interest was piqued. It’s advertised as holding 16 fluid ounces of fluid per square foot of material and is specifically designed to work with oil and petroleum products, which can prove to be challenging fluids to clean up. Besides just absorbing the fluid, the multi-layered rug “traps” fluid, keeping it separate from the work surface, which is nice for when you have to leave something oily on the bench for an extended period of time.

The Oil Rugs are available in three different sizes, ranging from the 12 x 18-inch “small” all the way up to a giant 29 by 48-inch literal rug, designed to go on the floor of your shop and keep oil off of the ground during maintenance. Even running plastic drip trays on an engine stand doesn’t keep everything off of the floor, especially during teardown, when you are turning the engine over and dumping trapped fluids.

From left to right, you can see the Small (12x18-inch), Medium (18x24-inch), and Large (29x48-inch) Oil Rug sizes.

For my workshop, the medium is going to be my go-to, as the 18 x 24-inch size makes it perfect for my 24-inch-deep workbenches. The best part is when you’re done soaking up the oil, the instructions say to just put it back into the resealable package and dispose of it. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll probably reuse it a couple of times if you haven’t really dumped a lot of oil during a project.

In use, there is a night and day difference between the Oil Rug and the typical blue paper towels I normally use. The best part is that once I was done with the rug, the benchtop was totally clean. It doesn’t require secondary cleanup afterwards, because nothing permeates the rug; it’s all trapped inside of the rug.

On the left is the front, and on the right is the back of the Oil Rug. The material is extremely absorbent and the backing prevents any fluids from making contact with whatever surface the Oil Rug is sitting on.

However, one potential drawback we noticed after shooting the video, is the color of the rug itself, While it keeps a neat and tidy appearance, even after getting oil all over it, the black pile doesn’t provide a contrasting background for dark-colored parts. This could prove to be a minor annoyance as black-oxide parts will disappear into the rug.

If you’re someone who is concerned with keeping oil off of the floors or work surfaces of your shop or garage, give these DEI Oil Rugs a look. They perform that task incredibly well.

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Greg Acosta

Greg has spent nineteen years and counting in automotive publishing, with most of his work having a very technical focus. Always interested in how things work, he enjoys sharing his passion for automotive technology with the reader.
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