Spring Cleaning Tips: How to Clean Oil Off a Concrete Garage Floor

how to clean oil off a concrete garage floor

Imagine this: you’re changing the oil in your beloved sports car or family minivan and you accidentally knock over the bottle, creating a large, expanding oil stain on your concrete garage floor. Because concrete is so porous, it effectively acts as a sponge, soaking up the liquid and creating a stain. Regardless of what cleaning solution you use, cleaning oil and grease stains often requires quite a bit of scrubbing, but these solutions will help you restore your garage floor to its original beauty. Here’s how to clean an oil spill in your garage* the right way.

Cleaning Method #1: Laundry Soap

There’s a reason NASCAR relies on powdered laundry soap for cleaning up oil stains: it works! Before you grab the laundry soap, be sure to blot up all the oil you can, being extra careful not to further rub the oil into the concrete. Then mix a large amount of laundry soap into a bucket of warm water, pouring the mixture onto the stain. Then, sprinkle extra detergent directly onto the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and use a stiff bristle brush to scrub the stain. After you’re through scrubbing, be sure to hose off the stain with the highest water pressure available. If you’re working with a stain you’ve had for years, this might not be the best method, as it tends to work best on fresh stains.

Cleaning Method #2: Degreasers

Whether you opt for an eco-friendly or industrial grade degreaser, the cleaning process will be relatively similar. Just like with the laundry soap method, you’ll want to first blot up any excess oil that hasn’t been soaked into the concrete garage floor. Then you’ll want to sweep up any debris, spread the degreaser, and allow it to sit before scrubbing. Especially when using industrial grade degreasers, you’ll want to be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection, as well as ensuring that your garage is properly ventilated.

Cleaning Method # 3: A Poultice

Poultices are made by saturating an absorptive material like cat litter or sawdust with a strong solvent like acetone or lacquer thinner. Once you’ve combined these materials and smeared the material over the stain, you cover the poultice with plastic and let osmosis take over. In this method, the solvent breaks down the oil stain while the absorptive material soaks up the oil from the concrete. This method works best on smaller stains, as larger stains may reduce the cost effectiveness.

Doing other spring cleaning? Follow these tips for reorganizing your garage and getting rid of mice in your garage. Have any other questions or concerns about your overhead door? We’re here to help! As your garage door experts in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA, we’re just a phone call away.

*Please check your garage door warranty before any cleaning or repairs.