There’s nothing worse as a mechanic than moving into a new commercial space only to notice that the previous tenant left oil stains all over the concrete garage floor. Or, discovering that your motorcycle kept in your garage has an unfortunate oil leak that’s left a large stain on your brand-new concrete floor. These old oil stains are unsightly at best and dangerous at worst. 

Learning how to remove old oil stains from your concrete garage floor will save you time and money and increase the concrete’s lifespan. In a commercial setting, removing old oil stains from a concrete garage floor is necessary to maintain a safe working environment for employees and visiting customers.

How Does Oil Contamination Happen?

Oil contamination occurs when oil is spilled onto a concrete surface and permeates through pores or pre-existing cracks in the concrete’s surface. Oil contamination of concrete was once thought to be non-harmful due to the hardening of concrete, however, should oil find its way into non-cured concrete, it creates a barrier between the elements of concrete that bond together to give it strength. Thus, creating a problematic instability within the freshly poured concrete.

Could Oil Stains Potentially Harm Your Concrete Floor?

Oil stains can cause major structural problems for a concrete slab, particularly if it is a relatively new slab, or if it is an older slab with pre-existing cracks.  When working on concrete with cracks, take care when handling oils, as any oil that works its way into these cracks could cause further decay throughout the depth of the slab.

As the oil seeps into the cracks in the floor, cleaning it out becomes much more challenging. Removing oil stains from a concrete garage floor is much easier when the spill is fresh. Removing oil quickly is paramount if oil spills onto your concrete floor. If you notice cracking in polished concrete floors, reach out to us for a grind and seal fix sooner rather than later.

In addition to permeating your concrete slab, oil spills on the surface are a huge safety hazard for slip and fall injuries. Learning how to clean oil stains from a concrete garage floor will mean you can quickly clean up the mess before someone hurts themselves.   

Tips to Remove Old Oil Stains From Your Garage Floor

Here are some tips for getting the grime off your concrete garage floor. Oil can be a stubborn customer to clean, so here are some of the best ways to remove oil stains from your concrete garage floor. 

Your first step to remove stain from your concrete garage floor is to cover the spill in kitty litter, or other granular oil absorbent (usually found in your local hardware store), which will absorb some of the oils over a few hours (or overnight if the spill is large).

Following this, sweep up and dispose of the kitty litter/granular absorbent. If you’re at home, the simplest thing to remove oil stains from your concrete garage floor is to use dish soap. Pour it over the stain and let it sit for a few hours. The dish soap is breaking up the grease within the oil, reducing its viscosity and making it far easier to scrub and wipe up.

Use a wire brush to scrub and clean up the stain. Be sure to brush in a circular motion and occasionally rinse the wire brush off in a bucket of hot water. Continue this process for as long as necessary to remove the stains from your concrete garage floor. Use a rag or paper towel to wipe off the excess oil, rinse the area with warm water and give it one last wipe!

If you are operating a commercial space, you can use WD-40 to clean up oil stains, but be sure to use granular absorbents before applying the WD-40. WD-40 may work in a pinch for removing old oil stains from your concrete garage floor, but the above-listed method is more thorough, as you aren’t replacing one foreign agent (oil) with another (WD-40).

Final Thoughts

Depending on the amount of oil that has spilled onto your concrete garage floor, you may find yourself overwhelmed at the prospect of cleaning it all up. Particularly if your concrete has large cracks. If this is the case, it may be time to repair your floor entirely using a grind-and-seal method. Or, you could invest in a garage epoxy floor, as cured epoxy resin protects the existing concrete and is non-porous, making cleaning up oil spills a breeze!

As professionals in the epoxy resin industry, particularly for workshops and other industrial applications, we have the experience and knowledge to help you properly clean up that oil spill, as well as offering repair or replacement options for your home or workplace garage floor. Contact SWEF today to get your concrete garage floor on the road to recovery! 

Frequently Asked Questions

As industry leaders in all things concrete sealing, we get a lot of questions frequently concerning removing old oil stains from a garage floor. Here are some of our most popular questions.

How do I get old oil stains out of my garage?

There are several steps to getting old oil stains out of your garage. The first is to use kitty litter, or other granular absorbent material to absorb any surface oils. This should be left over the spill for at least a few hours. Then, use WD-40 or other industrial oil and grease remover, or dish soap and water to break through the grease contained within the oil. Use a wire brush to scrub the area clean and then wipe up the remaining oils with a rag or paper towel.

What is the best product to remove old oil stains from concrete?

One of the best ways to remove oil stains from your concrete garage floor is to either use a commercial product like WD-40, or an oil and grease remover. However, hot water and soap will also do the trick. 

How do professionals remove oil stains from concrete? 

Professional removal of oil stains typically means using heavy-duty commercial oil and grease removers. These thick, liquid-based products eat through the oil and grease much faster than the above-mentioned traditional methods. These products tend to be more expensive but are more than worth it for most commercial spaces where oil spills are almost a guarantee.

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