Getting Tough Oil Stains Out Of a Concrete Floor

Posted on: 21 July 2017


If you spill oil on concrete, you're probably going to get a mess that's not easy to clean up. Worse still, it can easily leave stains that persist no matter how hard you try to clean the surface. In garages and workshops, this is a particularly common problem – when you're using oil regularly, especially if there are vehicles coming and going, sooner or later it's going to end up on the ground.

Many people simply give up and leave oil stains there, accepting them as part of life. But they can look unsightly, which isn't good if they're on your business premises, as the way customers perceive you is important. Here are some tips to clean up oil and shift those stubborn stains.

Get rid of the excess

If the spillage is fresh, get plenty of paper towels and carefully soak up the excess oil to limit how much soaks into the concrete. Next, you're going to use a technique that absorbs more of the stubborn oil. This can be done whether it's fresh or it's been soaking into the concrete for a while.

Get some ordinary cat litter – not the clumping kind – and sprinkle it generously over the whole area of the oil spill. Leave it for as long as you can – overnight is ideal, if possible. When you return to it, crush the litter thoroughly using your feet either directly or with a wooden board.

When the cat litter is worked in well, sweep or vacuum it away, making sure you get every last bit.

Clean it up

Mix up a generous amount of dish soap with hot water and, using a strong sponge or a stiff brush, get scrubbing at the stain. When you think you're done, leave it to dry. If some oil still remains, it will need a second attempt.

This time, however, soak the oil stain with WD-40 first and leave it for 30 minutes to soak in. Repeat the cleaning process. If this still isn't working, you may need to try a heavy-duty oil cleaner, but the dish soap method will be enough in most cases.

Stop it happening again

Concrete is porous and often has a rough surface, which makes oil stains really difficult to clean. Applying a tough floor coating will not only protect it from staining so easily, it will also cover up and remaining discolouring from the oil. In the future, any spills should be far quicker to deal with.