If you’re like most people, your garage serves as a catch-all for anything that doesn’t have a home anywhere else in your home. While this is convenient, it can also lead to some messy situations – like your garage getting covered with oil spills. Here’s how to clean garage floor oil stains – and how you can prevent them from occurring in the first place.
What You'll Learn Today
- What Removes Oil From a Garage Floor?
- 1. Get to it ASAP
- 2. Use Baking Soda
- 3. Use Dawn Dish Soap
- 4. Try Kitty Litter
- 5. Leverage the Power of Trisodium Phosphate
- 6. Try a Bioremediation Method
- 7. Use Cornmeal or Cornstarch
- 8. Goof Off
- 9. Give WD-40 a Try
- 10. Try Sawdust and Paint Thinner
- 11. Use Oven Cleaner
- 12. Try Vinegar
- 13. Have a Coke
- 14. Give Mineral Spirits a Try
- How to Prevent Oil Stains on Garage Floors?
- What is the Best Oil Stain Remover for Concrete?
What Removes Oil From a Garage Floor?
If you’re looking for a few simple, convenient ways to get oil off your garage floors, give these tips a try.
1. Get to it ASAP
The best tip when cleaning up oil on a garage floor? Tackle this chore as soon as you can. The longer you let the oil sit around, the harder the stain is going to be to remove.
2. Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is a naturally absorbent material, making it an excellent choice for soaking up fresh oil. It isn’t quite as effective on older stains but still can be used as an abrasive cleaner to get rid of any leftover stains.
3. Use Dawn Dish Soap
Dawn dish soap is one of the best degreasers out there. You can use it to emulsify the stain and blend the oil – it will then lift away from the surface so you can clean up the oil by using equipment like a brush or broom.
Concentrated soap works well for getting rid of oil, too.
4. Try Kitty Litter
You can also use cat litter to get rid of an oil stain. Make sure the cat litter covers the entire area and grind it in. Leave the oil on for several hours, depending on how long the oil has been there. Discard the litter.
5. Leverage the Power of Trisodium Phosphate
TSP, or trisodium phosphate, is a chemical that you can use to get rid of oil on concrete floors, too. It is somewhat caustic, so wear gloves and eye protection before you use it. Add a cup of this to a gallon of boiling water.
Pour diluted TSP onto the oil stain and allow it to soak for half an hour. Scrub the area, then rinse. Repeat until the stain is gone.
6. Try a Bioremediation Method
This environmentally sound method of getting rid of oil stains on concrete is also effective. Essentially, this solution is using microorganisms to get rid of the stains.
These solutions sometimes come in a powdered form so you may need to add a bit of moisture to get things captivated. Depending on the age and severity of the stain you might have to wait for a day to a week for the stain to disappear. You can sweep the solution away once the oil is gone.
7. Use Cornmeal or Cornstarch
Both cornmeal and cornstarch can be used on oil stains. Simply pour a bit on the fresh oil stains, then give the material time to be absorbed. Sweep and discard!
8. Goof Off
Goof Off or other degreasers can also be used to get rid of oil stains on concrete. These are great for older stains that haven’t held up well to other methods.
Use hot water to get the affected area moist. Make a concentration solution with the degreaser, then pour it on the stain. Let it soak in, then scrub. Make sure the degreaser doesn’t get too dry while you scrub it.
Apply more if necessary, sweep, then rinse.
Here is a video that will show you how to use Goof Off to get rid of garage floor oil stains quickly:
9. Give WD-40 a Try
You can also use WD-40, the classic standby, to get rid of oil stains. It is more effective on fresh stains versus old ones, however.
10. Try Sawdust and Paint Thinner
Fresh oil stains that have begun to set are easily removed with a mixture of sawdust and paint thinner. Just keep in mind that this mixture is highly flammable, so you’ll want to keep it away from heat sources and open flames.
The theory behind why this works is this – sawdust is highly absorbent, while paint thinner (or a good substitute, acetone) is a solvent that can break down the remaining oil. They work wonders when used together!
11. Use Oven Cleaner
Another solution to consider trying on your oil stain is oven cleaner. SPray it on the stained area and let it sit there for 15 minutes. Then, scrub the spots with a stiff nylon brush and rinse.
12. Try Vinegar
Vinegar works at removing oil stains, too. After all, it is a natural degreaser. The process is similar to how you might use baking soda.
Sprinkle sawdust over the stain and allow it to rest. Sweep it up then add a couple cups of water, a tablespoon of dish soap and a couple tablespoons of white vinegar. Cover the oil stain with the solution, scrub, then rinse. Repeat until the floor is as clean as can be.
13. Have a Coke
…but first, use it to get rid of the oil stain! A can of cola at room temperature is perfect for getting rid of a stain. Just pour the can on the stain and allow the mixture to rest. Wipe, then rinse – the oil stain will likely have disappeared by that point.
14. Give Mineral Spirits a Try
Just like paint thinner, mineral spirits can also be used to remove oil. These petroleum-based solvents are great degreasers and are also easy to find.
How to Prevent Oil Stains on Garage Floors?
There are a few tactics you can try to prevent oil stains from forming in the first place. These solutions mentioned above might not even be necessary!
Use an Oil Stain Blocker
Using an oil stain blocker is a great way to get rid of old oil stains but it can also prevent new ones from forming. You can spray it anywhere in which oil stains might be a possibility and it won’t damage your floor in any way.
Try a Garage Floor Oil Mat
This method is also highly effective at preventing oil stains. Just put the meat beneath your vehicle, engine parts, or other equipment that might damage your floor with oil stains.
These mats are meant to be durable enough to prevent things like gas, water, battery acid, and of course, oil, from staining the floor.
Paint the Garage Floor
Painting your garage floor is another way to prevent oil stains from settling in. it adds an extra layer of protection, particularly if you use a paint that’s durable and easy to work with (like epoxy paint, which is specifically meant for concrete floors).
What is the Best Oil Stain Remover for Concrete?
Any of the methods listed above will work well at getting rid of oil stains on concrete. However, the efficacy of each does vary some based on the age and size of the stain.
Oil stains (or gasoline spills) can be tough to remove, particularly if they’re old. That said, keep trying the methods above until the oil stain comes off – you’re bound to find something that works!