An Oil Stained Concrete Driveway in Dallas, Texas.
We’ve all been there–a delivery truck leaves a giant oil stain on your concrete driveway. Or you may have polished concrete floors in your home, and a broken bottle of olive oil has left a stain in your kitchen. Whatever the circumstance, a common inquiry we receive is about removing oil stains from concrete.
This article will first discuss common DIY methods for cleaning oil stains using products you can find in any house. Next, we will tell you what products we use when cleaning oil stains on job sites, and we will rank our favorites.
About Craftsman Concrete Floors
At Craftsman Concrete Floors, we specialize in luxury residential and commercial polished concrete installations. With nearly 25 years of experience installing concrete floors and terrazzo, we’re the preferred installer of countless luxury designers, builders, and architects.
Our in-house design team is available at no cost to help you achieve your project’s desired goals. We employ well-known veterans of the decorative concrete industry, many with decades of experience. Proudly, all our employees are full-time W-2 employees receiving a living wage. At Craftsman Concrete Floors, we never subcontract jobs.
REMOVING FRESH OIL STAINS FROM CONCRETE
The most important thing to remember about oil stain removal is that fresh oil stains are always easier to clean than stains allowed to sit. Concrete is porous, so oil that has been allowed to sit will penetrate into the surface, making it more difficult to remove.
The first step for cleaning a fresh oil stain is to remove excess oil from the surface. We use a rag with diluted dish soap on smooth surfaces such as polished concrete. We use a sweeping compound, sawdust, or even kitty on rough or broom-finished concrete to absorb excess contamination.
Once the cat litter or other absorbent has removed the excess oil, we suggest diluted dish detergent with a stiff nylon brush to remove the remaining contamination. On very fresh stains, this is often enough to resolve the stain.
DIY Home Remedies for Removing Oil Stains on Concrete
For removing oil stains from concrete, there are many home remedies that people stand by. A quick search on Youtube will turn up people using everything from powdered laundry detergent to gasoline and even soda. Just keep in mind while many of these solutions will clean oil stains on concrete, they can often etch and degrade the underlying concrete in the process. While this may be okay for a concrete driveway or untreated garage floor, only some solutions are acceptable for decorative concrete surfaces.
Due to its absorbent nature, baking soda is a logical oil stain remover. A mixture of baking soda and other products can be applied to an oil stain and then left to dry. This method of oil stain removal is inexpensive and effective.
Be careful; baking soda’s alkaline pH may cause it to react with concrete and create unexpected outcomes. While baking soda is only a weak base, concrete is quite reactive when exposed to an unbalanced pH. We suggest only trying baking soda on non-decorative concrete such as sidewalks, driveways, or unfinished garage floors.
to learn how to make an effective oil stain remover at home, visit our page, ‘How to Remove Oil From Concrete with Baking Soda‘
While gasoline appears to clean oil stains, it will leave a persistent odor in the concrete that may take a very long time to dissipate. Further, its flammable nature makes it unsafe to use as a concrete cleaner. Due to these issues, we cannot recommend gasoline as an oil stain remover.
While laundry detergent is also effective at removing oil stains, it only effectively removes oil from the most superficial surface of the concrete. This method takes a lot of elbow grease, and stains are known to reappear days later.
Further, laundry detergent can be harsh on concrete, leaving an etched surface. While we understand the allure of a readily available product, laundry detergent is generally less effective than dish detergent or a simple degreaser at removing oil stains on concrete. Therefore, we recommend other methods, especially for decorative concrete surfaces.
Soda is an effective concrete cleaner because it contains phosphoric acid. The acid eats the surface of the concrete, taking any surface contaminants with it. While soda will leave concrete looking cleaner, its acidic nature makes it unsuitable for decorative concrete.
Dish soap is a simple surfactant and the most logical at-home remedy for oil stain removal. Keep in mind, you must dilute dish soap before use. Often, just a few drops in a gallon of water is enough to help remove oil stains from concrete.
While dish soap is not very effective for deeply set stains, it is the least harsh at-home solution for cleaning oil stains. We commonly use dilute dish soap on decorative concrete surfaces to remove fresh oil stains without any ill effects.
Dish soap can be highly effective. See our page ‘using dish soap to clean concrete‘ for before and after pictures and other tips.
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The best oil stain remover for exterior concrete
#1 Best Oil Stain Remover
Prosoco Consolideck Oil & Grease Stain Remover
For most oil stain removal, we use Prosoco Oil and Grease Remover. It’s a poultice explicitly designed for decorative surfaces, and from our experience has minimal impact on the areas around the stain. Further, it will remove stains set deep into a concrete slab, reducing the chance they reappear (necessitating an additional application).
Prosoco Consolideck Oil & Grease Stain Remover is easy to use. It’s as simple as brushing the product over the stain, waiting for it to dry, and then brooming the dry product from the surface. Old or especially severe stains may take more than one application, but this product will remove even stubborn oil stains.
The Best Oil Stain Remover For Polished Concrete Floors
#1 Best Oil Stain Remover for Polished Concrete
Ameripolish Oil Ingester
The Ameripolish Microbial Oil-Ingester is designed for polished concrete floors and won’t damage or discolor the concrete. Further, it’s safe for pigment-treated floors concrete floors.
However, as this product works by microbial action, the stain can take weeks to ingest fully. This product requires that water be sprayed on the stain daily during removal. For best results, you should cover the stain with plastic to keep the affected area moist.
In other words, the application of this product is a total headache! However, there is an excellent reason to use this product.
Unlike the abovementioned Prosoco oil remover (or many of the home remedies), this microbial oil remover will not impact the surrounding concrete. That makes it the perfect product for removing stains from decorative floors such as polished concrete, concrete overlays, or cement-based terrazzo. For these floors, you should never try cleaning solutions such as laundry detergent or baking soda, as the likelihood that they will damage the floor is too high.
Honorable Mention: SIMPLE GREEN AND OTHER DEGREASERS
The most common oil remover is the degreaser, Simple Green. While Simple Green is most effective at removing fresh oil stains from concrete, it’s gentle on outdoor concrete, and you can easily apply it to large areas. Further, it’s inexpensive, and you can buy it at any hardware or auto parts store. You should use care when applying Simple Green to decorative concrete finishes.