Oil stains from a leak or accidental spill can leave some pretty serious stains, especially if you let an oil stain sit on concrete for a long time before removing it. At this point, removing the dark spots from your concrete can be a challenge. However, even if the stains are old and set, they can still be removed with the right techniques.
The most common way to remove old oil stains from concrete surfaces is by using a good degreaser or an epoxy paint. It is also possible to remove less severe stains with a laundry detergent mixture or a vinegar, washing soda, and dish soap mixture.
All methods require a little time and effort, but are not impossible.
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How to prevent getting oil stains on concrete
The rule of thumb for dealing with oil spills on concrete floors is to get rid of the spill right away. The quicker you respond to the situation, the better. This way you can prevent the settling of excess oil on concrete.
Be aware of the high-risk areas for oils stains and keep an eye on them. Your garage will probably end up getting stained with gasoline. The same goes for your patio, where grease from a barbeque might leave a stain behind.
- Always maintain cleanliness in areas prone to being stained.
- When an oil stain is already present on your concrete, never let water sit on the stained area. Prolonged contact could lead to water soaking into your concrete, making the stain penetrate the surface.
- Avoid the use of bleach on oil stains or any other stains that your concrete might get. Bleach will only strip the color of your concrete as most of them are gray.
- Trying harsh chemicals on concrete will only aggravate your problem.
- Do not use a brush with hard bristles like steel wool or wire brush because your concrete will end up scraped.
Removing an old oil stain
A week or two is enough for oil or grease to settle on your concrete. At this point, you will need a more vigorous approach to treat these. You can distinguish an old stain from a new one by looking at the stain’s color. Usually, the area with the old oil stain is darker than the other part of your concrete. Some oil also causes blackening when left behind.
Follow these steps to remove old oil stains from your concrete:
- Remove dirt and debris from the surface of the concrete.
- Spray a degreaser onto the stained area.
- Let the degreaser sit for a minimum of 5 minutes or until it has completely saturated the stained area.
- Wipe the degreaser off. You can also scrub it with a soft-bristled brush or a sponge, depending on the instructions on the degreaser you have used.
- Mop the stained area to remove the degreaser, and then use a vacuum cleaner or a dry cloth to dry the area.
If the stain is still present, repeat the process. However, an effective degreaser will remove the superficial layer of the stain after one use. Some commercial degreasers recommend a gradual removal of the stain for optimal results.
Removing barbecue grease from concrete
Perfecting the art of grilling takes some time and unfortunately your meat’s flavorful juices may end up falling onto your patio. Be careful not to let this happen because then you might be stuck dealing with a stain, rather than enjoying your barbecue. If it does happen, here are the steps to remove them:
- Get laundry detergent and water.
- In a bowl, prepare a mixture of both. To make a paste, gradually add water to your laundry detergent after every mix.
- Apply the paste on the area that had contact with grease.
- Cover the entire area with at least an extra centimeter on each side.
- When the area is fully covered with the paste, cover it with plastic wrap. Secure the edges of the plastic wrap with tape and leave it overnight.
- The next day, scrub the area and rinse with water.
Dealing with oil-based stains takes a lot of time, starting from the preparation of mixtures to the application and removal process. If you find this method inconvenient, you can use a degreaser and simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Common questions about oil stains
Does vinegar remove oil stains from concrete?
Yes, vinegar can help remove oil stains from of your concrete floors, but not on its own. After allowing the liquid to be absorbed by sawdust, you will need to make a mixture of water, washing soda, dish soap and white vinegar, which will help remove the stain.
Follow these steps:
- Remove excess oil by covering the area of the oil stain with sawdust, which allows the sawdust to absorb the oil.
- Leave it overnight.
- The next day, remove the sawdust.
- Since the oil is already in the sawdust, use a dustpan when removing it so it doesn’t make contact with other concrete surfaces.
- In a container, prepare a mixture of ½ teaspoon washing soda, 2 cups water, ¼ teaspoon liquid dish detergent, and two tablespoons of white vinegar.
- Use the prepared mixture as a cleanser then scrub the area with a brush.
- When there is no remaining oil, rinse the area and monitor it until it dries.
What causes black spots on concrete?
There can be a lot of causes for the blackening of your concrete. When a black spot is discovered in the garage or driveway, the most probable reason for this is the contamination with oil or grease. If a black spot is seen in a moist area where there’s rarely sunlight, it could be caused by lichen, which is an organism that grows in damp areas.
Can you paint over oil stains on the concrete?
Yes, some paint can be used to conceal stubborn oil stains on concrete. Regular paint will not completely stick to concrete with an old oil or grease stain. You will need a tougher paint that is meant for that type of surface: an epoxy paint.
- Wash the oil-stained concrete with your typical washing solution.
- Try etching the surface of the stained area to remove the stain. It’s fine if you can’t get the oil or grease stain completely removed.
- Using the amount of epoxy paint recommended on the label, roll over the stained area the same way you would with regular paint.
- Let it dry.
Old oil-stained spots on your concrete can become an eyesore. Luckily, removing them is not an impossible task to do. With our remedies to help you, you can now remove these stubborn oil stains from your once flawless concrete surfaces.