How to Clean Oil Off Concrete Garage Floor

  • December 5, 2019
  • / By Dale Keese
Car Repair

It is practically impossible to stop oil and grease stains from occurring on concrete garage floors. Oil can drip from your car onto the garage floor leaving spots and stains. Not only do these oil 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 soaks up any liquid that falls on it. It is very important to remove the oil from your garage floor before you stain, resurface, or seal concrete floors. If you do not remove the oil, it will seep back via the surface. This can make cleaning difficult and will 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 clean garage floors. 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 that effectively makes your garage floor clean.

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 floors, you must do a proper concrete cleaning. Using a broom, sweep the area and then vacuum the floors. This helps to remove all the dirt and dust from the floors. Then, mop the garage floors 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, powdered laundry soap delivers the best results in removing the oil from garage floors. This method has been used by race car associations like NASCAR for years. However, before you use laundry detergent, ensure that you sweep the concrete clean and blot up all the oil. Otherwise, the oil will leave a secondary stain on your garage floors.

To use laundry soap as a garage floor cleaner, mix laundry soap in a bucket of warm water. This will give you an extremely frothy and soapy solution. Pour this homemade cleaner 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 garage floors with clean water using a garden hose. The higher the pressure of the water, the more effective the cleaning and rinsing results.

Cat Litter

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

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. Let the powdered cement sit on the oil stains for two days before cleaning and sweeping it away.

Ensure that all the cement is completely removed from the garage floor. Otherwise, it will become hard and will set if the cement comes in contact with moisture. If you find that the oil stains have not completely vanished, repeat the cleaning process with the cement until the stain completely disappears and you see a clean concrete garage floor.

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, and mineral spirits. If you want to know how to use these homemade cleaning solutions, all you have to do is pour any of the above on the oil stain and allow it to sit for around three to five minutes. Then, scrub using a stiff-bristled brush until you see a clean concrete garage.

Lay a newspaper over this and let it dry. Then, mix a cup of bleach and a cup of laundry detergent with a gallon of warm water. Use this homemade cleaner to wash the stain off your garage floor.

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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, this kind of cleaners contain a degreaser that is usually citrus-based and a non-leaching absorbent.

First, do some initial cleaning to ensure that all the excess oil in the garage floor is blotted up. Then, sweep the area to ensure that it is free of all dirt and debris. Apply the degreaser to the oil stain using a trowel. Let this dry for around 8 to 10 hours until it turns into a powdery state. Then, sweep up the powder.

It may take several days for the moisture to dry completely and once it has dried, the oil stain should disappear from your garage floor.

Industrial Grade Degreasers or Concrete Cleaner

Concrete cleaners or industrial grade degreasers generally work in the same way as eco-friendly degreasers. These commercial cleaner products 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. When scrubbed into the concrete surface, industrial grade degreasers act like ball bearings and loosen up the oil. This allows you to remove the oil without exerting a lot of effort in cleaning.

However, the drawback of typical degreasers is that they do not break down the oil. 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 cleaning with industrial-grade degreasers or concrete cleaners, to always use some kind of eye protection and wear rubber gloves. While cleaning your garage, ensure that the area is well-ventilated.

Poultice

A very common method of how to remove oil stains from concrete garage floors is using a poultice. Poultices are 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, and pool filter media.

Apply the cleaning poultice 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 will pull the oil stain out of the concrete by absorbing it. However, this process of stain removal and cleaning is time-consuming and may not be practical or cost-effective for removing large oil stains.

Microorganisms

Recently, 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, a food source for the microorganisms disappears and they die. This leaves your concrete floor oil-free and clean. This is the same technology used in cleaning waterways and beaches after oil spills.

Protecting Your Concrete Garage Floor

Sealing the concrete of your garage floor can help prevent it from being damaged by oil stains. It helps to know how to seal your concrete garage floor because you will need to do it every couple of years. The best concrete sealer will help you maintain a cleaner garage and lessen your cleaning and repair costs.

Car Keys

First, clear out your garage and clean the floor properly. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean out all the dirt and dust. 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.

Once you have finished applying the sealer, allow it to dry completely for about 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, choose your favorite cleaner, and start cleaning.

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