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How to Clean Oil Off Concrete Garage Floor


Oil stains on concrete have recently made an appearance in many garages and motor pools. It seems many folks are not using their garage as a garage but rather as a place to work on their cars or motorcycles. This results in oil stains everywhere.

Oil stains on concrete present a problem for two reasons. First, they look terrible, and second, they can be unsafe. The oil and grease stains you see on garage floors aren’t just unsightly- they can be dangerous, too.

Since there are many such stains that one may encounter, we will look at the most common types of floor stains and removal methods.

What are the best ways to prevent oil from leaking on a garage floor and leaving stains? How can you clean up the mess if that does happen? Let’s take a look at some of the ways to help keep your garage floor looking its best.

Homemade Methods

Baking Soda and Dish Soap

Baking soda is one of those handy household items that seem to be good at cleaning everything. Baking soda has a chemical reaction with the acid in motor oil which creates a natural and gentle abrasion. This, in turn, loosens the bonds between the stain and concrete then allows it to be vacuumed up along with the baking soda. Check out these best vacuum cleaners to clean garage floors. Dawn dish soap comes into play because it can break down the molecular structure of grease and suspended solids allowing them to rinse away quickly. So, these are the steps involved in this method:

  1. Sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda according to the amount of oil.
  2. Allow the baking soda to settle for a few hours, and then sweep or vacuum it up.
  3. Make a paste using three parts of baking soda and one part of Dawn dish soap and scrub with a sponge to remove any remaining stains.

Cat Litter

Cat litter cleans oil off a floor in two ways. The first is by absorbing the liquid, like a blotter. The second way it works is that clay-based cat litter adsorbs the odor as well. Additionally, it is inexpensive and easily available, unlike a lot of chemical cleaners. What you need to do is:

  1. Give a wide surface area to the spill by dumping kitty litter on it.
  2. Let it settle for an extended period, preferably overnight.
  3. Clean the litter up and discard. Voila! The stain and smell should be gone if the stain was fresh.

Sawdust And Paint Thinner

Using this method requires both paint thinner or acetone, and sawdust, which absorb oil quickly. This is an effective method for removing fresh oil stains that have already begun to set.

WARNING: KEEP AWAY FROM THE SOURCE OF FLAME

  1. Mix sawdust with paint thinner and rub it into the stain.
  2. Place an old sheet or a piece of plastic over the area and leave for a few hours.
  3. Remove the sheet and clean up the mixture.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits are a more refined variety of paint thinner, so they are a more potent degreaser. The substance works to dissolve oil-based paints, glues, and oils. These are recommended for older stains.

WARNING: WEAR GLOVES, GOGGLES, AND MASK TO AVOID IRRITATION.

  1. First, spray or apply mineral spirits (according to size and age of stain) and then scrub with a wire brush.
  2. Put a newspaper on top of it and leave it overnight.
  3. Rinse with a hose.

Chemical Methods

Eco-Friendly Degreasers

If you have an oil stain on your garage floor, you can always opt for an eco‑friendly degreaser to get rid of the scars. The degreaser typically contains a citrus‑based degreaser in a non‑leaching absorbent. Always follow the instructions included with your cleaner. Do not put water on any oil stains; let them dry so they can be vacuumed up.

  1. Work the product into the stain using a brush or scrubber.
  2. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the stain.
  3. Rinse using hot water.

Laundry Detergents

The best way to remove grease stains from a concrete surface is to use a powdered laundry detergent. The powdered laundry soap acts as both the cleaning agent and the deodorizer. It also eliminates any foul smell that may come from dirty oil stains.

  1. In a bucket, add laundry detergent and warm water. Soak the oil stain in the soapy water.
  2. Then, pour a bit of the powder directly onto the stain.
  3. After a couple of hours, rinse off with a high-pressure water hose and scrub with a hard-bristled brush.

Industrial-Grade Degreasers

Industrial-grade degreasers are harsher than eco‑friendly products but will generally work faster and cost more. If it’s just a tiny stain, an eco-friendly version might work. If it’s a more significant smear, you may have to use an industrial-grade degreaser to cut through the oil.

WARNING: ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES, MASKS, AND GOGGLES. VENTILATE GARAGE DURING AND AFTER USE.

  1. After pouring the cleaner onto the stain, allow it to dry.
  2. Scrape up the dry residue/dust from your floor onto a dustpan, then discard down the drain.
  3. Don’t let it come in contact with skin or eyes.

Eco-Friendly Degreasers

Trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP, is a heavy-duty cleaning solution used for removing set-in stains in concrete. It will clean the oldest stains but isn’t suitable for all types of concrete. So, make sure it won’t damage the floor before application.

WARNING: IT’S A HIGHLY TOXIC MATERIAL, SO MAKE SURE THAT THE OTHER ITEMS ARE OUT OF RANGE.

  1. Create your cleaner using two gallons of water and one cup of TSP (or as mentioned in instructions)
  2. Mix well and apply to the stain with a scrub brush.
  3. Rinse the area thoroughly.

Conclusion

Just a single method will not remove oil stains. If you’re dealing with old scars, it may be incredibly time-consuming to speed up the process of eliminating them. You’ll have to try several solutions before finding the right one. So, it may be a great measure to look into preventing stains. However, accidents do occur. If they do, these are the best methods to remove stains and leave your floor spotless, beautiful, and shiny.

Perry Olsen

Perry Olsen is an expert when it comes to vacuum cleaners, steam mops, pressure washer and other cleaning gadgets.

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