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How To Remove Oil Stains from Concrete

Oil stains are common blemishes on concrete caused by vehicles leaking oil in garages, on driveways or commercial parking lots & gas stations. Pressure washing alone will not be successful in getting the oil stains out of the concrete, so the chemical applied to lift the oil out of the surface is critical. 

To remove oil stains from concrete, there are a few different methods you can use depending on the size and severity of the stain. We cover our most successful cleaning method step by step below.  

Step 1: Absorb Excess Oil

The first step we recommend is to try to absorb the stain as much as possible. To do this, you can use an absorbent material such as cat litter or even baking soda. Cover the stain with the absorbent material for at least 24 hours or longer. This will give it enough time to absorb as much of the oil as possible. 

After 24 hours, remove the litter or baking soda completely and make sure the surface is dry before proceeding.

Step 2: Apply a Chemical

The next step is to apply a chemical of your choice to the concrete surface. There are a lot of options you can use for chemicals, from chemicals readily available in your home (laundry detergent, soda) to chemical solutions designed to remove oil stains like degreasers. 

What we have found works best are degreasers. If using a degreaser, you should mix a 1:1 ratio with water. It’s important to not mix degreasers with other chemicals like bleach because there can be a toxic chemical reaction if so. Always be sure to follow the product label instructions.   

Step 3: Agitate the Chemical Into the Surface

Once the chemical is applied to the surface, you will need to scrub the chemical into the concrete to make sure it agitates properly and fully penetrates the surface and stain. Scrub the chemical into the surface using a commercial push broom, stiff broom, floor buffer or even hand-held brush for smaller stains. 

Allow the agitated chemical to sit for 15-20 minutes.

Step 4: High Pressure Rinse

After the chemical is applied to the surface and agitated, the next step is to high pressure rinse. A pump up sprayer machine is a powerful option to do this as well as a pressure washer. Washing down with water from a hose is also fine if this is what’s available to you. 

Step 5: Repeat as Needed

For really tough stains, you will need to repeat this process as needed to reach the desired result and the stain is completely removed. If the stain is still visible after following these steps, you may need to use a commercial concrete cleaner or a poultice to remove the stain.

Once the stain is removed, be sure to rinse the area thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before using it again.

If you are still struggling to remove the oil stains completely, consult with concrete cleaning professionals in your area to see how they can help. 

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