Oil stains on your driveway or garage floor are unsightly and stubborn but can be removed or significantly diminished. Here’s how.
Tools you will need
Soap or a solvent is your primary tool for lifting oil stains from concrete. If the stains are recent, dish or laundry soap is a good first resort. If the stains are older and more set, automotive degreasers will do a better job. Other tools you’ll need are:
- Cat litter
- A stiff-bristled brush
- Hot water
- A water hose
- A broom
If the stain comes from freshly dripped oil, pour cat litter on it and leave it for 20 minutes. Then, sweep the debris away and seal it in a plastic garbage bag.
Doing the dirty work
Squirt dish soap on the stain and let it soak. Alternatively, sprinkle powdered laundry soap onto the stain and add enough water to form a paste. Work the soap into the stain and let it sit for half an hour.
Next, pour hot water onto the soap and attack the stain vigorously with the stiff-bristled brush. Scrub back and forth with the concrete grain so the bristles can get down into tiny crevices. Use water from your hose to rinse.
If this process merely lightens the stain, repeat it for a second time.
Stubborn oil stains
For tougher stains and those accumulated over time, perform these steps using an automotive degreaser instead of soap. Spray on the product and let it soak. Then sprinkle on cat litter to soak up the degreaser. Sweep up the litter and dispose of it in a garbage bag. Follow up with dish soap and hot water until the stained area is clean.
The ultimate oil stain removal method
If a slight shadow of the stain remains after these steps, a power washer will ultimately erase it. The power washer removes the concrete’s uppermost layer, cleaning down to a level beneath the stain.
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