Your garage is a valuable part of your home-it keeps your car, which is an expensive asset, safe and sound. Your garage may also be where you store tools or work on projects.
However, because you keep your car and your power tools in the garage, the concrete floor is bound to get grimy. Simple dirt you can always sweep away, but the car, lawnmower, and power tools will probably drip oil onto the floor as well. This substance is more challenging to clean up.
How you get rid of the oil depends on the size and age of the stain. With these tips, you can get your garage floor clean again.
Before You Start
No matter what kind of oil stain you have on your garage floor, you’ll need to start by cleaning as much off the area as possible. Clear any possessions away from the area so they won’t get in the way. You’ll probably want to leave the garage door open as well.
Use a hose or a bucket of water to wash dirt and debris away from the affected area. However, you shouldn’t scrub or use high water pressure at this point. Using force could push the oil further into the concrete, making it harder to eliminate.
Once you’ve cleaned the overlying grime off the area, you’re ready to start working on the oil itself.
Small New Stains
These are the easiest oil stains to remove, so you won’t have to do or buy anything out of the ordinary. You’ll need a detergent of some kind, hot water, and a scrub brush.
You have a lot of options for your detergent: you can use dish soap, laundry soap, baking soda, or any other cleaning agent that picks up grease. Pour whatever detergent you pick onto the oil stain-the stain should be completely covered. If your detergent is a powder, you’re ready to move on to the next step immediately. If your detergent is in liquid form, like dish soap, let it sit on the oil stain for about 15 to 30 minutes.
Next, you should add hot water to the detergent and start scrubbing. Because you’re working with concrete, make sure that the scrub brush you use is stiff enough to not get damaged-a steel brush may be your best option. Scrub the stain for a few minutes, and then rinse all the detergent off with more hot water.
To get all of the oil out, you may have to repeat these steps. To tell if all the oil is gone, wait a day and let the concrete dry out before you check the stain.
Small Old Stains
If you have an older, more stubborn stain, you’ll need stronger materials to get it out. Your best bet is the poultice method. You’ll need an absorbent material and a solvent.
You may have some kind of absorbent material on hand already, or if not, you can get one cheaply. Sawdust, baking soda, kitty litter, or pool filter media all work. Once you’ve chosen your absorber, mix it with your solvent: acetone, xylene, or lacquer thinner will do the job. Your mixture should be a thick paste.
Wipe the paste over the oil stain. You’ll need a layer that’s approximately a quarter of an inch thick. Next, cover the paste in plastic-tape the edges down to keep them from moving. Then the easy part-just wait one day for the poultice to do its work!
Afterwards, take off the plastic, sweep or scrape up the paste, and rinse the area. You may have to repeat the process or do some scrubbing for a very stubborn stain, but hopefully the poultice will get most of the oil out on its own.
If you spilled a container of oil all over your floor, or if you’ve had repeated small spills that have built up, you’ll need to buy more specialized materials. Go to a hardware store and look for a commercial concrete degreaser or cleaner. You’ll have to spend more money, but this is the most effective option, making it the best choice for a large area.
Grab your product and make sure to read the directions on the bottle. Follow them-they will likely tell you to put the degreaser on the oil stain and let it sit for a few minutes. You’ll then need to scrub and rinse it, repeating the process as necessary.
Oil can be difficult to get out of concrete, but it can be done. You’ll need to find the right products, put in some work, and have a little patience, but you can get your garage floor clean again, which will make your garage that much more usable.
If you’d like to continue fixing up your garage after you get the oil stains out, consider servicing or upgrading your garage door. Contact AAA Garage Door-we’ll be able to get your door functioning beautifully.