How to Clean Oil Off Concrete Garage Floor

  • August 29, 2019
  • / By Dale Keese
Car Repair

It is practically impossible to stop oil and grease stains from occurring on your concrete garage floor. Oil can drip from your car and other things onto the garage floor leaving spots and stains. Not only do these stains look unsightly, but they can also spoil your shoes, cause you to slip and fall and can get tracked into your home. Fortunately, it is not very difficult to remove these oil spots and there are many methods of how to clean oil off your concrete garage floor.

Car Repair

Concrete is very porous and absorbs any liquid that falls on it and soaks it up. It is very important to remove the oil from your garage floor before you stain, resurface or seal the concrete. If you do not remove the oil, it will seep back via the surface and completely ruin your garage floor. While some oil stains may simply be small spots or spills, others may be quite large.

The age of the oil stain and its size will essentially determine how difficult it is to remove. And, finding the best method of how to clean oil off your concrete garage floor can take a bit of trial and error before you arrive at the one suitable for you.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best ways of how to clean oil off your concrete garage floor.

Cleaning Your Concrete Garage Floor

Before you actually go about removing the oil off the concrete garage floor, you must clean the area properly. Using a broom, sweep the area and then vacuum the floor with a dry/wet vacuum. This helps to remove all the dirt and dust from the area. Then mop the area with some water and soap and then rinse with clean cold water. This will ensure that the area you will be working in is completely clean.

Washing Powder

Removing Oil from Your Concrete Garage Floor

Laundry Soap

If there is a recent or fresh oil spill, then powdered laundry soap delivers the best results in removing the oil from the concrete. This method has been used by race car associations like NASCAR for years. However, before you use laundry detergent ensure that all you blot up all the oil, otherwise, the oil will leave a secondary stain on your garage floor.

In a bucket of warm water mix laundry soap, so that you get an extremely frothy and soapy solution. Pour this soap solution onto the oil stain and then pour some extra detergent over the stain directly. Let this sit for a few minutes. Then scrub the stain vigorously, using a stiff-bristled nylon brush. When this is done, rinse the area with clean water using a garden hose. The higher the pressure of the water, the better it is.

Cat Litter

Cat litter is the best solution to remove oil from your garage floor. An inexpensive cat litter should do the trick. Pour the litter on the oil spots in a thick layer. The oil from the concrete surface will be absorbed by the litter. Let the kitty litter rest on the oil-stained concrete for 2 days. Use a broom, sweep off all the litter and discard it.

Cement

Once you remove the oil using cat litter, the oil stains will be much lighter. But, if you want to get rid of the stains completely, take some ready-to-mix cement and pour the powder over the oil spots in a generous layer. There is no need to temp the cement down. Let the powdered cement sit on the oil stains for 2 days and then sweep it away.

Ensure that all the cement is completely removed, otherwise, it will become hard and set if the cement comes in contact with moisture. If you find that the oil stains have not completely vanished, then repeat the process with the cement until the stain completely disappears.

Other Homemade Solutions

When it comes to cleaning oil off your concrete garage floor, there are several other homemade solutions such as using WD-40, a paste made of sawdust and paint thinner, mineral spirits, etc. Pour any of the above on the oil stain and allow it to sit for around 3-5 minutes and then scrub using a stiff-bristled brush.

Lay a newspaper over this and let it dry. Then, mix a cup of bleach and 1 cup of laundry detergent with a gallon of warm water and wash the stain with this solution.

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Eco-Friendly Degreasers

You can use an eco-friendly degreaser to clean the oil stain off your concrete garage floor. Typically, these kinds of cleaners contain a degreaser that is usually citrus-based in a non-leaching absorbent.

First, ensure that all the excess oil in the area is blotted up. Then, sweep the area to ensure that is free of all dirt and debris. Apply the degreaser to the oil stain using a trowel. Let this dry for around 8-10 hours until it turns into a powdery state. Then sweep up the powder. It may take several days for the moisture below to dry completely and once it has dried, the oil stain should disappear.

Industrial Grade Degreasers or Concrete Cleaner

Concrete cleaners or industrial grade degreasers generally work in the same way as eco-friendly degreasers. These commercial degreasers may work faster and may be more effective compared to the eco-friendly version because they are much stronger. Industrial grade degreasers are basically concentrated alkaline soap, which when scrubbed into the concrete surface acts like ball bearings and loosens the oil and allows you to remove the oil easily.

However, the drawback of typical degreasers is that they do not break down the oil and so they will not work very well on oil stains that have occurred a long time back or if the oil spill is very heavy. Also, these degreasers are more effective when used on porous concrete compared to concrete with a dense or hard finish.

It is recommended that when using industrial-grade degreasers or concrete cleaners, always use some kind of eye protection, wear rubber gloves and ensure that while cleaning, your garage is well ventilated.

Poultice

A very common method to remove oil stains from concrete garage floors is using a poultice. Poultices are usually effectively used on small and stubborn stains. Typically, a poultice is made by mixing a strong solvent such as acetone, lacquer thinner, MEK or xylene with some absorbent material like sawdust, cat litter, pool filter media, etc.

Apply the mixture on the oil stain. Then cover the poultice with a plastic wrap and let it rest. The solvent will work on the oil, break it down and it will be pulled out of the concrete by the absorbent material. However, this process of stain removal using a poultice is time-consuming and may not be practical or cost-effective to remove large oil stains.

Microorganisms

In recent times, using special single-cell organisms to remove oil from concrete has become very popular. These microorganisms eat and live on crude oil and its by-products. The microorganisms produce enzymes and this along with oxygen digests the oil and converts it into more microorganisms and carbon dioxide.

When there is no more oil, then the food source for the microorganisms is gone and they die, leaving behind your concrete floor oil-free and clean. This is the same technology which is used to clean waterways and beaches after oil spills.

Protecting Your Concrete Garage Floor

Sealing the concrete of your garage floor can help to prevent it from being damaged by oil stains.

First, clear out your garage and clean the floor properly by using a vacuum cleaner to clean out all the dirt and dust and then mop the floor, especially the corners. Apply a high-quality concrete sealer. Start the application of the sealer at the rear-end of the garage and work your way towards the front. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

Car Keys

Once you have finished applying the sealer, allow it to dry completely for around 24 hours until you use your garage again. The application of a sealer will protect your garage floor from oil stains and if oil spots do occur, they will be easier to remove. Mop the area with water and soap and rinse the floor with clean and cold water.

As you can see, cleaning oil stains off your concrete garage floor is now super simple. If your garage floor is stained with oil or grease spots, there is no reason to panic or call the professionals. Simply pick up a brush and choose your favorite cleaning solution and start cleaning.

The quicker you clean up the oil stain, the easier it is to get it out because the oil will have lesser time to soak into the concrete. And, you will have your garage spic and span and stain-free in no time at all.