DIY: Motor Oil Wood Stain

With a record setting hurricane season this past fall, almost everyone I know lost part of their fence or at the very least realized theirs might need some TLC after the beating they took from the wind and rain. Unfortunately, lumber prices have sky rocketed due to the demand and stains to give your fence a face lift can be pricey. Enter a good DIY project. By using old motor oil to stain your fence, you can spruce up your fence for an affordable price.


Here is what you’ll need:

  • Equal parts used motor oil and diesel fuel
  • A container with measurements on the side
  • An old t-shirt or rag
  • A wooden Stick
  • A garden sprayer
  • A funnel
  • A mask or respirator

Step 1:

Pour the diesel into your container until it reaches the halfway mark (use less if you desire a darker stain)

Step 2:

Place the old t-shirt over the opening of your container then place the funnel on top of that. Slowly pour the used motor oil into the funnel and wait for it to filter through the t-shirt. Repeat the process until your container is full.

Step 3:

Remove the t-shirt and funnel from the opening of your container. Place the funnel over the opening of your garden sprayer. Use the wooden stick to mix the diesel and old motor oil together then pour the mixture into the garden sprayer.

Step 4:

Spray your fence in slow, deliberate strokes to ensure an even coat and minimal runoff from excess. Be sure to wear your mask. Repeat annually.



  • Cheap (costs about $15 for 10 gallons of stain)
  • Recycles old oil that otherwise would be tossed out
  • Lasts a year


  • Not environmentally friendly, however neither are most traditional stains as they contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Scent can linger for a few days
  • Not safe if you have pets or animals contained within your fencing system


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