Although it is normal and unavoidable, oil smears on driveways and garage floors are not pleasant to look at but often take the beauty of the area away—whether it is due to an oil leak, or you accidentally spilled a commercial oil on your pavement.
Such a dilemma, on a good note, is easy to fix. There are now several ways to remove both fresh and deep-seated oil stains on concrete. You can, for instance, use powder- or liquid-based commercial cleaning emulsions such as Prosoco Oil and Grease Stain Remover. Or a natural cleaning solution if you prefer an eco-friendly alternative.
That said, this article covers everything you need to know on how to remove oil stains from colored concrete.
Different Methods to Remove Oil Stain from Concrete
To efficiently scrub off oil stains, you must be using the correct method. And such processes often depend on the type of oil stain—whether it is a fresh, a week-old, or an old and deep-seated splatter.
That being said, below are some of the proven and tested methods on how to rub off different oil smears on colored concrete floors.
1. Lifting Off Fresh Oil Stains
Fresh oil stains, unlike days and weeks old smears, are the type of splatters that haven’t completely seeped into the concrete yet. Thus, it requires a light scrubbing method only.
Essentially, what you need to prioritize in such a case is to halt the oil from spreading throughout the concrete which means you will need an oil-absorbing material apart from concrete degreaser.
Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to do it.
Concrete is an extremely porous material. Hence, as mentioned, the first thing you need to do is to prevent the oil from seeping completely through the concrete. Quickly grab oil-absorbing materials such as paper towel, rag, old clothe, or a granular material such if available.
You can simply blot the area using a rag or a paper towel. Or you can cover the stain with sand or any granular material like cat litter sand, sawdust, and cornmeal. It is important to wipe the affected area gently as well, as it could scrub the oil down through the insides of the concrete.
Allow the oil-absorbing material to do its job for an hour or so. If you think the stain is still damp, simply repeat the process.
Once done, remove the absorbent material.
Next, wash the affected area using a concrete degreaser. Concrete degreasers can range from powder- and liquid-based detergents, liquid dish soap to specifically formulated liquid solution such as Prosoco Oil and Grease Stain Remover.
Simply rinse the area with water first. Then pour a right amount of your chosen concrete degreaser and scrub the area using a nylon brush. Continue scrubbing until the oil smudge is gone.
Lastly, simply rinse the concrete with hot water. You can also use a garden hose or a power washer. Repeat the process until the stain is completely rubbed off. Then allow it to dry.
2. Lifting Off Old and Deep-seated Oil Stains
Unlike fresh oil splatters, weeks to months old stains are not easy to remove and will require a heavy cleaning method. It will need a strong cleaning solution as well, and ordinary laundry detergent or liquid soap may not be enough.
On a good note, there are now commercially available cleaning mixtures formulated specifically for deep-seated oil smears. And these are:
Weeks to months old oil splatters on concrete are typically cleaned using a poultice. It is a soft moist mass of material made through soaking an absorptive material such as sawdust, cat litter sand, and pool filter media with a strong solvent like lacquer thinner, acetone and xylene.
Because of its components, poultice makes a great cleaning mixture for lifting stubborn oil stains. It is typically used on small and old oil smears rather than large ones. It is used as it is too and does not have another solution or solvent to mix with.
It is convenient in terms of process as well. All you need to do is to cover the affected area with poultice and allow the material to break the oil down while absorbing the grease out of the concrete. The only drawback about using poultice is that the process takes hours—usually 5 to 8 hours.
Rather than creating your own mixture of poultice, you can purchase concrete cleaners and degreasers instead. These solutions, unlike poultice, are specially formulated for removing stubborn concrete dirt such as oil splatters. It is more aggressive as well in terms of ingredients.
Take concentrated alkaline soap as an example. It serves like ball bearings that loosen up the oil, making the stain easier to wipe off. The only catch is that concrete cleaners work more efficiently on porous concrete compared to dense or finished concrete.
Aside from poultice and commercial concrete cleaners, special single-celled microorganisms can also remove old oil stains on concrete.
A method that was discovered just recently, it is a process wherein a specific type of microorganisms that thrive and feed on oil is used to digest the solvent and turn it into carbon dioxide. Once their food source is gone—the oil, to be exact—these enzymes die altogether as well.
Such technology is used similarly on cleaning contaminated waterways and beaches after an oil spill as well.
Lifting off oil splatters—whether it is a fresh smudge or weeks old—from colored and plain concrete floors is indeed a laborious method that requires time and effort. And if you are a busy type of person, this could be a major inconvenience.
As such, it is best to prevent oil leaks. You can get an oil mat, for example. Have your car fixed in a service center instead too, to avoid oil drips. But if that is not doable, then I recommend hiring a team of professional oil stain cleaning services instead.
Otherwise, you have no choice but to clean it yourself.