Oil stains are one of those common problems that many people have to deal with at least once in their life. When your car, lawn mower, or even a service vehicle leaks oil, it ends up on your driveway in a sticky mess.While oil stains hardly damage the actual concrete, they make garage floors and driveways look unsightly and dirty. However, getting rid of these spots can be easier than you think. Try these proven removal tips to get your garage floor looking like new:
1. Start with kitty litter, powdered pool filter, or Tide detergent- The first thing that you want to do to the stain (dry or wet) is absorb as much of it as possible. Use any absorbent or cleaning powder you have on hand and cover the stain completely. Put on an old pair of shoes and stomp on the kitty litter or other powder to grind it into the concrete. Lightly sprits it with water and then place newspapers or plastic garbage sacks on top and let it sit for one to three days. Then, sweep the powder into the garbage and rinse off the driveway. Repeat once or twice.
2. Clean with Dawn dish soap and a scrub brush- After sweeping away the powder, cover the area with a mixture of dish soap and water, and scrub thoroughly. A brush with nylon bristles will be soft enough to scrub the area without damaging the concrete. Rinse off and repeat this step several times.
3. Apply a stain removal product- There are several different products available to help diminish driveway stains, such as Super Clean and Purple Power. Heavy-duty multi-purpose cleaners may also do the trick, such as oven cleaner or bleach. Another option is using Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) to lift the stain. Simply dissolve one cup of TSP in one gallon of water and use it as a scrub.
4. Use a Concrete Brightener- After scrubbing and rinsing off the stain removal, finish the job with a concrete brightener/enhancer. Concrete brighteners are formulated to loosen dirt and help to restore the concrete’s natural color. Because concrete brightener is potent, try diluting it a little with some water in order to make a little go a long way. You can find concrete brighteners at most hardware stores and super-centers.
5. Take Steps to Prevent Future Stains- When you have cleaned the area thoroughly, seal the area using concrete sealer. This will protect the area and keep stains from sinking into the concrete. For the future, try using a large pan, cardboard panel, or carpet remnant underneath your car will also shield the concrete and absorb any oil drippings.
Every oil stain is different, and your results will vary. Newer stains are more likely to be removed than stains that have settled over several months. One thing to remember is that while an oil stain may still look noticeable, over time it will fade.
*Note: These tips are for concrete, not asphalt. Asphalt requires different stain removal procedures.
Nina Hiatt helps people find solutions to everything from loading dock repair to Edmonton home buying. She keeps a sturdy, clean garage using tips from Door Surgeon.