It’s a concern of many who change their oil at home about getting motor oil in their eyes. You wonder if there are any major implications of motor oil splashing your face. Unfortunately, accidental exposure to motor oil during vehicle maintenance can lead to a potentially painful and dangerous situation. It’s crucial to take immediate action to flush the chemical out of your eye and prevent further harm. Today, we are going to take a look at what to do if you get motor oil in your eye, including the symptoms, as well as safety tips.

What to Do if You Get Motor Oil in Your Eye header image

Health Implications of Getting Motor Oil In Your Eyes

Motor oil may not seem dangerous at first glance. However, you have to remember that it contains a mixture of chemicals, including hydrocarbons, phenoxides, and metal compounds like barium and cadmium. This means you don’t want to drink it. You also don’t want to get it in your eyes. When these substances come into contact with the eye, they can cause a range of health issues:

  • Irritation: Motor oil is an eye irritant and can lead to immediate discomfort and pain when it touches the eye’s delicate tissues.
  • Chemical Burns: Prolonged exposure to motor oil or a high concentration of chemicals in the oil can cause chemical burns on the surface of the eye (cornea). This can lead to more severe symptoms and potential long-term damage.
  • Corneal Ulcers: Chemical burns from motor oil can result in corneal ulcers, which are open sores on the cornea. These ulcers can cause intense pain, redness, and vision problems.
  • Eye Infections: In addition to chemical burns, motor oil exposure can introduce bacteria or contaminants into the eye, increasing the risk of eye infections.
  • Blurred Vision: Exposure to motor oil can cause blurred vision, making it challenging to see clearly.
  • Swelling: The eye may become swollen, especially the eyelids, due to irritation and inflammation.
  • Excessive Tearing: Motor oil exposure can trigger excessive tearing as a protective response by the eye.

What Motor in Your Eye Feels Like

Being that motor oil is toxic to humans and animals, having it come into contact with your skin or other parts of the body is risky. If you get motor oil in your eye, you may end up experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Immediate Pain: You may feel a sharp, stinging pain or burning sensation in your eye.
  • Redness: The affected eye may become red and bloodshot due to irritation.
  • Tearing: Excessive tearing or watery eyes can occur as your eye tries to flush out the irritant.
  • Blurred Vision: Vision may become blurry or hazy.
  • Foreign Body Sensation: You might feel as though there’s something foreign in your eye, like grit or sand.
  • Sensitivity to Light: Your eye may become more sensitive to light (photophobia).

What to Do if You Get Motor Oil in Your Eye

If you get engine oil in your eye, the best thing to do is act quickly. The more swiftly you move and start care, the more you can minimize injury. Follow the steps below to safely cleanse your eye if there is motor oil in it:

1. Wash Your Hands

If you got motor oil in your eye because of a spill or something residual on your hands, wash them first before moving forward. You do not want contaminants getting anywhere near your face as you proceed.

2. Rinse Your Eye With Water

Next, you must remove the motor oil from your eye. Find a sink faucet or a shower—anywhere where you can position your eye in the stream of water. Make sure the temperature is lukewarm.

To keep water from running into the uninjured eye, tilt the affected eye down and to the side. In this position, let the water run freely over the eye, flushing it out for about 15 to 30 minutes. The water must flow consistently over the eye the entire time. Avoid blinking, rubbing, and shutting the eye while there is motor oil still in it.

This video provides useful info on how to rinse chemicals out of your eyes. Motor oil is not mentioned, but the principals are the same:

3. Seek Medical Assistance

Even if your eye starts to feel better after the initial rinsing, it’s highly recommended to undergo a medical evaluation. This evaluation can ensure that no long-term damage has occurred and provide any necessary treatment. Even if you feel okay after the rinse, do not take any risks with the health of your eyes, especially if something doesn’t seem right.

4. Warm Compress

Whether you decide to go for medical attention right away or to relax for a moment, it is best to continue caring for yourself and your eye. Lie down and keep your affected eye slightly closed. Avoid putting any pressure on the injured eye. If possible, have someone call emergency assistance or take you to an eye doctor’s office or the nearest emergency room.

While waiting for help to arrive, you can use a warm, dry towel to gently cover your eye or apply a warm compress with a soft cloth.

How to Prevent Getting Motor Oil in Your Eye

Prevention is always better than a cure, particularly when it comes to eye injuries. Whenever you are working on vehicles or performing an oil change, it is best to protect yourself from motor oil exposure. Here are some tips to avoid accidents:

  • Wear Safety Glasses or Goggles. The most effective way to prevent motor oil from getting into your eyes is by wearing safety glasses or goggles specifically designed for eye protection. These should have side shields for additional coverage.
  • Use a Face Shield. For tasks that involve a higher risk of splashing or spraying motor oil, consider using a face shield in addition to safety glasses or goggles. A face shield provides full-face protection.
  • Work in a Well-Ventilated Area. Adequate ventilation can help disperse fumes and reduce the likelihood of motor oil splashing into your eyes due to sudden movements or gusts of wind.
  • Use Funnel or Spout: When pouring motor oil, use a funnel or spout to direct the flow accurately and avoid spills.
  • Secure Containers. Ensure that containers holding motor oil are securely closed when not in use. Leaky containers can lead to unexpected oil spills.
  • Keep Hands Clean. Clean your hands before touching your face or eyes. Contaminated hands can transfer oil to your face if you inadvertently touch them.
  • Avoid Distractions. Focus on the task at hand when working with motor oil. Distractions can lead to accidents and spills.
  • Keep a First Aid Kit Handy. Have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand in case of any accidents. It should include items like eyewash solution, sterile eye pads, and bandages.

Final Thoughts on Getting Motor Oil in Your Eyes

What do you do if you get motor oil in your eye? Don’t panic. Take immediate action and flush your eyes with warm water. Seek medical help, too. However, the best way to keep motor oil from getting in your eyes is prevention, including proper eye protection and safety measures. Your eyes are irreplaceable, so prioritize their safety during vehicle maintenance tasks.

Categories: Oil Guides


Hi, I’m Alastair. Welcome to, a website for the best oil recommendations for your vehicle, whether it is a two-door sports car, SUV, hatchback, or tractor. Having grown up on a family farm and working as an engineer, I became interested in just about anything with an engine. I also found that motor oil, despite being essential for internal combustion engines, is overlooked, underestimated, or just misunderstood. There may come a day when motor oil is obsolete as electric vehicles become more and more popular. But until then, you are going to need to know the best type of motor oil for your vehicle. That is why I was inspired to create this website. aims to be the internet’s destination for everything related to motor oil, including news, comparisons, features, and recommendations for vehicles by make and model. All the information you need to keep your treasured vehicles running clean is right here. In particular, I am also obsessed with the upkeep of vehicles in general. That is why you will also find troubleshooting tips for removing oil filters and drain plugs, for example. Consider it the mission of to provide accurate information, as well as insight for automotive professionals and enthusiasts.


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