Even the most careful mechanic or DIY enthusiast can find themselves with oil stains on the concrete surfaces of their home. And whether these oil stains are old or brand new, they can be an eyesore on the otherwise spotless expanse of your concrete.
Oil is a slippery substance that can seep into porous concrete surfaces if it’s not wiped up right away. And if you don’t have a cleaning cloth on hand, or just don’t notice the oil spillage until it’s too late, you will likely be faced with some stains on your concrete!
So, what can be done about oil stains? You might have tried scrubbing at them to no avail, but not to worry—there are a variety of effective methods that you can use to eliminate any pesky oil stains from concrete surfaces.
How To Remove Oil Stains From Concrete: The 6 Methods That You Should Know
Oil stains are tough to get out, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to remove them!
By applying one of the many proven methods for cleaning up your concrete surfaces, including garage floors, driveways, or walkways, you can lift oil stains over the course of an afternoon.
All you need for a successful cleaning session are the right supplies and some good old-fashioned elbow grease. Keep on reading for your complete guide to six different methods for how to remove oil stains from concrete!
1. How To Remove Oil Stains From Concrete With A Commercial Degreasing Product
One of the easiest ways to tackle the oil stains on your driveway is by applying a store-bought degreaser directly to the problem area.
These products are specially formulated to eliminate even the toughest of oil and grease stains from commercial, industrial, and residential concrete surfaces. By using a top-quality degreaser, oil stains become a thing of the past in your home.
Make sure to put on a pair of protective gloves when using a degreaser. This type of product is notorious for leaving hands and other areas of skin that it touches dried out and sore to the touch.
Application is easy: for most liquid formula products, apply over the stain and leave to soak for about 15 to 30 minutes. Then, use a bristle scrub brush to remove the oil and rinse the product away.
Some stubborn oil stains may take a couple of applications to be fully removed, so make sure that you have enough of the product for repeating these steps.
If using a particularly potent commercial-grade degreaser, it is recommended that you use a broom or a long stiff brush to scrub the stain, and keep your distance from the substance’s odors.
Additionally, you can use a pressure washer to rinse the area down for maximum cleaning effort. Move the spray across the area at an even pace, while keeping the nozzle and the concrete equidistant at all times. This helps to prevent streaking or further marks from appearing on your concrete surfaces.
2. How To Remove Oil Stains From Concrete With Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the handiest household products to have on hand—not only for use in the kitchen for baking, but also for a variety of cleaning applications.
And baking soda’s usefulness is no different when it comes to oil stains on concrete surfaces. However, keep in mind that fresh oil stains are the easiest ones to lift and remove by using baking soda, though you can try the mixture on older stains as well.
To apply, sprinkle baking soda liberally across the entire stain and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Next, add some dish soap over top to form it into a paste, then scrub with a firm brush for several minutes to remove.
Make sure to scrub in a circular motion to avoid scuffing the concrete, and then rinse thoroughly. Repeat if needed.
3. How To Remove Oil Stains From Concrete With Cat Litter
Cheap cat litter is great for applying to areas, not only when oil has already formed a stain, but also to remove any excess oil that has not yet seeped fully into the concrete. This method is primarily useful for stains that are more recent though.
Scatter a liberal amount of cat litter across the oil stain area, including any fresh oil drops that you can see on the surface. Grind the particles in, either with your shoes or the back of a shovel, while being careful not to harm the concrete.
Let this sit for at least 10 to 12 hours to fully absorb the oil and eliminate the stain. Then, you can scrape up the cat litter with a trowel or shovel and safely dispose of it. You should notice a size difference in the stain at least, if it hasn’t been removed completely.
Repeated applications of cat litter to a fresh stain should soak it up, but you might have to use a different method if it fails to eliminate the entire thing.
4. How To Remove Oil Stains From Concrete With Coca-Cola
Not only is it a refreshing drink on a hot day, but Coca-Cola also makes a great concrete cleaner, among other household applications. Pour yourself a glass and then head out to the problem area with the rest of the soda.
To apply, pour a good amount of Coca-Cola over the stain and make sure it is completely coated in it. Then, add a liberal dose of dishwashing soap over top and use a bristle brush to scrub it all in for several minutes.
The acid present in Coca-Cola, when mixed with the degreasing agent in dishwashing soap, should work to lift and break down the oil molecules, allowing you to simply rinse it off the concrete after scrubbing.
5. How To Remove Oil Stains From Concrete With Engine Degreaser
Another great way to remove those stubborn oil stains from concrete is by using a generic engine degreaser. Anyone who likes to work on their own cars likely has a bottle of this product available, and handily enough, it is very effective for removing oil stains.
However, because the engine degreaser is so chemically dense and highly toxic, you should ensure no children or pets are near the application zone while using it. This product is also not as biodegradable or environmentally friendly as other oil removal methods.
Pour only the amount of engine degreaser necessary to cover the oil stain onto it, and let the product soak in for about 15 to 20 minutes. During that time, make sure to securely close and put away the engine degreaser to avoid accidents or dangerous spillage.
After the product has sat on the oil stain, you should be able to simply wipe it up and marvel at the stain-free concrete surface underneath.
6. How To Remove Oil Stains From Concrete With Laundry Detergent
Acting as a combination of dishwashing soap and baking soda, any brand of laundry detergent powder can also be used to eliminate oil stains from your concrete surfaces.
To apply, spread a generous layer of powdered laundry detergent over the entire surface of the oil stain, even exceeding the boundaries a little bit for full coverage.
Then, sprinkle over a little bit of water—just enough to form a thick paste and not enough to make it fully liquid. Add only a small amount of water at a time, as powdered laundry detergent tends to absorb it quickly and the ratio can be difficult to control.
Once the paste consistency has been reached, grab your scrub brush and use it in circular motions across the entire oil stain. Let the mixture sit on the stain for one or two hours, then rinse it off and repeat the steps until the problem area is stain-free.
Now that we have discussed some of the most popular methods of removing oil stains, let’s address some lingering questions that might remain.
You might be left wondering about old stains that have been in place for a long time, or even other product options for dealing with concrete. It’s time to spill the tea on stubborn oil stains!
What Removes Oil Stains From Concrete At Home?
If your driveway, garage, or other concrete areas in the home are plagued by oil stains, you don’t necessarily need to invest in an expensive cleaning product to remove the blemishes. There are plenty of at-home remedies for removing oil stains, as discussed above.
In general, to remove an oil stain from concrete you need a mixture of degreaser or acidic compound, absorbent material, and friction.
And while methods involving baking soda, cat litter, and degreasers are popular for removing such stains, you can also try some other household remedies. This includes absorbent poultices, oven cleaner, or paint thinner and sawdust.
These are easily made and applied to oil stains. Absorbent materials found around the house like baby powder or talcum powder are ideal for this, and, once mixed with soap and warm water, can be spread over the stain to draw it out.
Once the poultice has completely dried onto the concrete surface, you can scrape it away with a bristle brush or putty knife, being careful not to scratch or gouge the concrete. It may take repeated applications, but the oil stain should eventually fade.
Because oven cleaner can be a harsh product for use on porous surfaces like concrete, it is best to apply it with caution.
Spray down the oil stain patch with the oven cleaner, instead of pouring it out for a more controlled application. Let it soak in for about 10 minutes before scrubbing with a hard brush and rinsing.
Paint Thinner And Sawdust
As mentioned previously, the best way to remove oil stains from concrete is a chemical reaction between a lifting agent such as a degreaser and an absorbent material that can incorporate the removed oil, instead of letting it settle back into the concrete.
And if you have paint thinner and sawdust on hand, this is a great combination to achieve such a chemical compound and beat those oil stains!
Spread sawdust over the problem areas, then pour a generous amount of paint thinner overtop. Allow this mixture to sit for about 30 minutes before sweeping it away and rinsing down the concrete.
Does WD-40 Remove Oil Stains From Concrete?
WD-40 has many household uses, including helping to remove oil stains from concrete. Because WD-40 is formulated as a water displacement product, it can disrupt the bond between the oil and the concrete, helping lift it up for cleaning.
To successfully remove oil stains from concrete with WD-40, you will also need a firm scrub brush, dish soap, and some rags. Spray the oil stain thoroughly with WD-40 and let it saturate completely before scrubbing it clean with dish soap and the brush.
This process should be able to remove oil stains from a variety of concrete surfaces, including garage floors, driveways, patio slabs, or walkways. If the first application doesn’t clean it all away, repeat the process until it’s fully removed.
Does Dawn Dish Soap Remove Oil From Concrete?
Strong, anti-grease kitchen cleaners such as Dawn dish soap are great for removing oil stains from concrete.
However, it’s important to note that using dish soap for this process typically has the best results if the oil stain is fairly fresh and has not had a significant amount of time to set into the concrete.
By scrubbing a mixture of warm water and Dawn dish soap into the problem area, you activate an emulsification process that works to lift the oil sediments to the surface. After allowing the mixture to seep deeply into the concrete, you can just rinse it away and enjoy a clean surface!
How Do You Remove Old Oil Stains From A Concrete Garage Floor?
Even when the oil stain is relatively old, you can still remove it by using the right product and method—specifically, with a mixture of Trisodium Phosphate, or TSP.
If the oil stain in question has been there for longer than a few months, it has likely settled deeply into the concrete material and will not budge with the more natural or gentle cleaning methods already mentioned.
However, using a compound of TSP and water will help lift that oil stain right out of the concrete, even if it has been there for a while. For this method, you can find powdered TSP at your local hardware store.
How To Use Trisodium Phosphate On Old Oil Stains
Don your protective gear before mixing up the TSP compound. That includes goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Then, combine one cup of TSP powder with one gallon of warm water, stirring well to remove any clumps.
Pour this solution over the oil stain and allow it to sit for around 30 minutes. This should be enough time for the absorbent TSP mixture to draw the oil up and out of the concrete. Then you simply scrub it away with a bristle brush to remove.
However, if the stain persists, try adding an absorbent material into the original TSP mixture, such as baby powder or talcum powder. This will give you a paste consistency that can be spread onto the area and left until dry.
The oil stain should fade away after the paste is scraped off and disposed of, thanks to the absorbent material safely incorporating it as the oil lifts out of the concrete.
Sometimes, an oil stain appearing on your concrete is unavoidable. Whether you’re changing the oil on your car or working on another project, splatters happen! There might even be stains from a previous homeowner that you would like to remove.
Luckily, there are several methods for cleaning up the mess and preventing the stain from spreading or remaining.
By removing oil stains when they happen, or dealing with settled stains ASAP, your garage, driveway, or other concrete surface areas can look brand new in no time.
From household supplies like baking soda or dish soap to commercial products like degreasers and trisodium phosphate, homeowners and DIY-ers can easily and effectively tackle any oil stains that occur, and safely return their concrete surfaces to a clean state.