Oil stains on garage floors that are not treated immediately will cause stains and are challenging to clean. Even in the garage, the floor’s oil stain still feels dirty and cluttered and is more likely to be slippery and dangerous for us. So this article will provide a way on how to clean garage floor oil stains simply in minutes.
I understand that with old oil stains, it’s never easy to get rid of them. Dirt and dust can be easily cleaned, but cars and passenger vehicles can cause the oil basket to fall to the floor and be challenging to clean. But the truth is, there are always tips to help you fix these problems more quickly. Below, we will break down the valuable information sections to help you get your garage floor clean again.
- Circumstances That Cause Oil To Stain On The Garage Floor.
- Things To Consider Before We Start.
- Cleaning Method.
Circumstances That Cause Oil To Stain On The Garage Floor
People often say, “Prevention is better than cure.” So I will cover the common cases where oil stains appear on garage floors so you can avoid and be careful in these cases. In fact, there are many causes of oil stains on the floor, but most likely, your car has lost or leaked its lubricant.
Loose crankcase screw
In this case, the most common cause is that the crankcase screw is not tightened. To avoid this loss, you should carefully check the screws after oil changes to make sure they are tightened or replaced when damaged. Also, this test helps to ensure your safety during driving to minimize possible risks.
An excessive amount of oil
Another cause of oil leaks that stains garage floors can be due to the excessive amount of oil. This will happen if you add more oil than needed during an oil change, which causes excess oil to be removed and spilled onto the floor. Furthermore, maintaining the oil level above the recommended level will cause engine problems as it creates a lot of impurities that can build up to harmful to the engine. If you are careful in changing the oil, you can protect the car and prevent the oil from spilling onto the garage floor, causing it to lose aesthetics.
Stretched Oil Filler Cap Gasket
Finally, this is less common than the above two reasons, but still quite common that the gasket on the oil filler cap is stretched over time. This means that the oil filler cap is not in good condition resulting in oil spilling onto the floor. The only way to fix this is to change another gasket.
In short, if you see oil stains in multiple locations throughout the day, the fault could be caused by a part of your car. If the oil is dripping continuously on the garage floor, you can check the cartridges because the responsibility may lie there. Also, learn about how to clean garage floor oil stains below.
How To Clean Garage Floor Oil Stains: Before We Start
In any case of cleaning dirt, including car oil stains, the first thing you need to do is clean up the area as much as possible. If you don’t want the oily stains to spill out of your other objects or vice versa, the things get in the way of your cleaning; then you need to clean them up so you can focus on removing the oil.
Next, leave the garage door open. This cleaning will take more effort than you think, so leaving the door open to allow the air to circulate will help you most comfortable during the whole process. Furthermore, the cleaning will also be quicker if you leave the door open to allow the area to be more ventilated and dry.
Before embarking on how to clean garage floor oil stains, use a hose or a bucket of water to wash off dirt, even debris from the oily area. As a side note, use a low-pressure jacket to clean instead of scouring or spraying the oil stains with vigorous water as it can cause the oil to be pushed deeper into the concrete. For sure, you won’t want the oil to be harder to remove, so clean the dirt gently. After that, you can start to clean the oil stain without any other problems.
Type of oil stains
Before embarking on the primary job, you need to clarify what kind of oil stains are. I will classify oil stains on the garage floor into three main categories. With each type, there will be its cleaning methods.
- Minor New Stains: This type of oil stain is easiest to remove, and you don’t need to spend too much effort cleaning it. For these minor and new stains, any type of detergent, hot water, and scrubbing brush will suffice.
- Minor Old Stains: For older and stubborn stains, use a topical method, absorbent material, and a solvent to absorb and clean.
- Large Stains: Surely, for large oily stains, you need specialized materials such as degreaser or commercial concrete detergent. So prepare these types of products before you start cleaning.
Some of the products commonly used to clean oil stains on garage floors include:
- Powdered Detergents.
- Homemade Poultice.
- Cleaner Degreasers: Oil Eater, Oil-Dri,…
- Bioremediation: Terminator-HSD, Eximo,…
- Solvents: acetone or MEK.
Besides, you can also refer to the best floor cleaning machines here instead of cleaning manually.
How To Clean Garage Floor Oil Stains Cleaning Method
Way 1: Laundry Soap Solvents
The first way to remove oil stains on the garage floor that I am talking about is powder detergent. However, this method is only really suitable for new or recent oil stains. You can use any powder detergent, but in my experience, Tide is the best in this case. This is because it was used by the professional racing association NASCAR as an oil cleaner for many years before more professional oil cleaning products were available.
- Towel or scraper.
- Hard-bristled nylon brush.
- Laundry Soap.
- Warm water.
- High-pressure water hose.
Step 1: Absorb oil residue
Before using powder detergent, you need to blot all the oil on the floor. If you do not clean it thoroughly, not only will it not be able to remove the oil stain, but you also create another stain that is much more difficult to clean.
Then, wet the stain and the surrounding area. This will prevent the oil from escaping and moving on the concrete floor, causing other stains.
Step 2: Mix the laundry soap solvent.
This is an essential step in helping you create an oil stain remover on your floor. Start by mixing the solution at the ratio of 1 cup of detergent to 1/2 cup of hot or warm water. If your stain is large, mix a large amount of laundry detergent in a bucket of warm water so that the solution has a high soapy level. Remember to use hot or warm water.
Step 3: Pour laundry soap solvent over the oil stains and scrub with a nylon brush.
Pour the detergent solvent directly into the oil stain directly. Then, you need to sprinkle more detergent from the box onto the stain. One caveat is that you should not rub the stain immediately but let it rest for a few minutes to allow the solvent to soak and rub off more manageably. Never let the mixture dry, however, and do the scrubbing before it dries. This will help the mixture penetrate the voids in the concrete floor and effectively separate the floor’s oil.
After a few minutes, grab a hard-bristled nylon brush or deck brush to scrub away stains.
Step 4: Use a water jet of high pressure to wash it off
Finally, use a high-pressure water jet to rinse the solution off after scrubbing. Remember, the greater the water pressure, the better for oil stains on your garage floor. Why? The water pressure is the last key to help push the emulsified oil remaining out of the pores and altogether remove the concrete floor’s oil stains.
Alternatively, you can also use wet-dry vac together with a sudsy solution to wash off stains.
Way 2: Eco‑friendly Degreasers
For long-term stains or have dried, you need to use specialized degreasing products instead of regular laundry detergent. One of the safest and most effective ways is to use an environmentally friendly degreaser, which usually contains citrus deposits in the sorbent that does not wash off. Also, the eco-friendly degreaser is easy to use and effective in restoring your garage floor.
In fact, there are two popular types of eco-friendly degreasing available today: dry powder and liquid. The liquid form will be citrus-based. Besides, in its powder form, it uses microorganisms to break down the texture of the oil.
Precisely, these bio-lubricants remove oil stains by breaking down and eating the hydrocarbons in the oil. However, this method will take you quite a lot of time within a few days. If you need a quick cleaning, then this method won’t be for you.
- Towel or scraper.
- Cleaner Degreasers or Bioremediation.
- Floor wiper or trowel.
Instruction for dry powder:
Step 1: Blot away excess oil
Like the first way, the first thing before you start cleaning oil stains is to darken the oil residue and remove small debris from the surface of the floor and around the stain.
Step 2: Pour dry powder.
Pour the eco-friendly detergent powder directly onto the stain. Then, take the floor wiper evenly on the oil stain and leave for several days.
Note that it can take anywhere from a few days to a month for the moisture underneath to dry, but this method won’t require scrubbing. You will be amazed at the image of an oil-free concrete floor without scrubbing or doing a lot of work.
Instruction for liquid detergent:
Besides, there are also eco-friendly liquid detergents. The method is also straightforward. First, apply the degreaser mixture evenly to the stain and allow it to dry. On average, it takes about 8 hours for the solution to dry, depending on the air’s humidity. Finally, once the degreaser has dried to a powder, wipe it off and let the moisture from the stain completely evaporate on its own and disappear within a few days. In case the stain is still not gone, use a nylon brush to scrub it.
Way 3: Industrial Grade Degreasers
If neither of the methods above worked for oil stains on your floors, you could use industrial-grade degreasing agents. This method is faster than biological cleaning and is also more expensive. However, it is only really when necessary that you should use these lice as these are compelling products that can harm your health if you are not careful.
Some common chemical solvents include acetone or MEK. They are capable of breaking down and extracting oil. Furthermore, these chemical degreasers also penetrate well on smooth concrete.
In terms of usage, you’ll do the same for the eco-friendly ones listed above. Also, remember always to wear rubber gloves and protect your eyes carefully when exposed to these solid industrial detergents.
- Towel or scraper.
- Chemical degreasers.
- Portland cement.
Step 1: Blot away excess oil
Like the above way, the first thing before you start cleaning oil stains is to darken the oil residue and remove small debris from the floor’s surface and around the stain.
Step 2: Pour industrial degreaser over the oil stains.
After removing the debris and excess oil from the stain, start cleaning. First, pour the right amount of solvent for the oil stain size. Then, let the solution rest for one to two minutes. For significant or long-term stains, you can continue to add more solvent if needed.
Once it has seeped into the floor, your next step is to cover the stain with Portland cement. Note that you should use pure Portland cement and do not use a mixture of concrete or mortar because it does not absorb oil. With these solid topical products, you will need to use Portland cement as it is a fine hygroscopic powder and works well on many products.
Step 3: Leave the oil on for a few days
While this is faster than bioremediation, you still need to leave it on for a few days to a week for the stains to disappear completely. To avoid any inconvenience, you should use a floor mat or cardboard placed over the stain to avoid stepping. After a few days, the oil stain on the floor of the garage will be pushed up; now, you just need to sweep it off quickly.
Note, make sure the garage assigned to you is well ventilated during the cleaning process. Besides, smoke from rising solvents is also capable of causing fire and explosion. Be sure to remove any flammable objects such as pilot lights or open flames before pouring solvents. If the solvent is covered, you don’t need to worry about this anymore.
Furthermore, depending on the size of the oil stain and the weather, these products may have different durations. Therefore, the above times are only an average estimate.
Way 4: Clay Cat Litter And Liquid Dish Soap
- Clay cat litter
- Liquid dish soap
- A brush with stiff bristles
First, cover the oil stains with a clay cat litter to remove excess oil from the stained area. You can repeat this step as many times as possible to absorb the oil as much as possible before attempting to scrub. The longer it takes, the more oil the sand absorbs, so it’s best to leave it on overnight. Then scan it the next day.
Next, this is when liquid dish soap comes into play when it saturates the oil stain. Pour soap on it, break the greasy texture, and let it sit for 1 hour. Finally, use a brush with stiff bristles to scrub away the oil stains. A little tip for you is that rubbing in circles will help the stain be cleaned faster. If necessary, you can also add a little more water and repeat the step of adding soap. Scrub until the oil is gone, use water to rinse it off, and you have a clean garage floor.
Way 5: Mix Paint Thinner And Sawdust
- Paint Thinner
If you ask me how to clean garage floor oil stains without the detergents mentioned above, there is still a more manual but equally effective way. That is to mix diluted paint mixture with sawdust.
Of course, this won’t be the proper method for oil stains that are stubborn and difficult to remove. However, in emergencies where the above detergents are not available, paint and sawdust are alternatives.
Besides, this is also extremely easy to use and does not take too much effort. For this method, you simply need to soak the sawdust in thin paint. Then spread the soaked sawdust over the stain and let rest for 20 minutes. If the oil stains have not gone away, you can repeat spreading the sawdust and wait until the stain is completely removed. Alternatively, you can also use the last step cleaner to clean the garage floor more thoroughly.
Way 6: Other Homemade Solutions
There will probably be times when there is an urgent need to buy tools or specialized detergents when homemade solutions come into play. There are actually many homemade solutions available to help you fix oil stains on your garage floor quickly and conveniently. However, it’s just a method for new stains. For more stubborn and older oil stains, it probably won’t work.
Besides solutions such as sawdust mixed with dilute paint thinner or cat litter and dish soap, or WD-40, there are more straightforward homemade ways. For example, you can use mineral water and a bristle nylon brush. First, pour mineral water over the oil stain and let it sit for 3 minutes. Then, rub the oil stain with a nylon brush, spread the newspaper over the area, and wait to dry. Finally, use a disinfectant and detergent solution mixed with warm water to remove oil from the garage floor.
What is the best detergent to remove oil stains from garage floors?
As mentioned above, you can ultimately make your oil stain remover on the floor, but its effect on concrete floors will not be high and only suitable for minor or new oil stains. Besides, you will take time to prepare the cleaning solutions, and the implementation of these methods is quite a long process. So oil stain remover products on concrete will be the perfect choice for you. It can even remove even the most stubborn oil stains.
There are countless types of degreasers on the market today, but not all are good and safe if you are not sure about their use. In my opinion, it’s best to use environmentally friendly degreasers like Griot’s Oil and Grease Cleaner. For stubborn stains that need a more robust and more effective degreaser, consider products like Pour-N-Restore, Oil Eater, Oil-Dri, and Purple Power Driveway.
Alternatively, you can also use WD-40 to remove oil stains from your garage floor. Of course, you will need to combine it with dish soap to scrub away the oil stains. But it’s also an effective and quick-acting product.
Do I need to dilute detergent before use?
Most detergent products available today are very concentrated. Depending on the condition of your oil stain, consider whether to dilute the degreasing agents or not. However, I do not recommend diluting the degreasing agent as it will decrease its cleaning effect.
Of course, diluting a concentrated degreaser will save you more, which can be used over and over but means that it will take more time and effort. It takes much longer for diluted degreasers to remove oil stains from garage floors than with a concentrated degreaser. Meanwhile, conventional degreasers take at least a few days to get rid of oil stains. So I’m sure you don’t want to spend more time diluting your product.
Besides, the correct and correct phase ratio is also a problem for you. The instructions on the internet cannot precisely match the oil stain on the floor you are facing, so it will take many times for you to draw the proper proportions. In short, I think that the degreasing dilution is not necessary.
Can vinegar or baking soda be used to remove oil stains from concrete floors?
In addition to the above ways on how to clean garage floor oil stains, baking soda and vinegar are also great and inexpensive cleaners. With these products, you can remove minor and new oil stains on concrete floors with homemade solutions.
Vinegar is a natural detergent, so it’s incredibly safe but not as powerful as the methods listed above. For new oil stains, you can try bleaching with vinegar in the following way. First, you still need to remove as much oil as possible with sawdust or cat litter spilled over the stain overnight. Then, you will need to mix the bleach mixture using 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, two tablespoons vinegar, one teaspoon dish soap, and 2 cups water. Once you have the combination, pour it directly on top of the oil and let it soak for a few minutes. Finally, you need to use a stiff bristle brush to scrub away the oil stains.
Besides, with baking soda, you do not need to mix with any other solution. After the removal step using sawdust or cat litter, you will sprinkle baking soda over the stain and wait for the oil to push out. Then, just scrub with a brush, and the stain will completely disappear.
How can I make a poultice by myself?
There are many ways and ingredients to make a homemade poultice, but I will recommend the simplest one. And this method is suitable for minor oil stains or in cases where the detergent solvent has been used, and the dirt is still not completely dirty. This is also a highly easy-to-make topical detergent. Just prepare a cup of detergent and mix it with water to make a thick paste. Remember to keep the mixture thick, neither too thick nor too thin, for best results.
Then, use the paste’s mixed poultice to spread a thick layer over the oil stain and cover it with nylon. This plastic coating will slow evaporation and ensure the repellent’s effectiveness in sucking the remaining oil onto the concrete floor. To work best, you should leave it on overnight and let it dry after opening the plastic. As a final step, when checking that the topical is dry, use a floured knife to scrape off and wash off any residue.
How to keep garage floors clean?
The garage floor is where your traffic is frequently accompanied by dirt from the outside environment that will degrade quickly. Not only oil stains but mud or rust can all be on the floor of your garage. So I’m going to come up with five tips to keep your garage floor clean and look new no matter the years.
- Periodic cleaning. We all have regular housekeeping, but we forget to move the garage. Therefore, you will need to clean it up on a fixed schedule to ensure your garage floor is always clean and prevent long stains that are difficult to clean.
- Scrub the stain with a mixture of TSP and hot water. Besides, you can also add white vinegar to make the solution more effective.
- Remove oil stains with the methods in this article.
- Fill cracks with epoxy glue. You can use a hammer and a vacuum cleaner to remove loose and substantial debris leftover in trials before doing this.
- Use concrete sealing to avoid yellowing on the garage floor.
Refer to how to clean oil stains on concrete floors within a few minutes here.
Final Thought: How To Clean Garage Floor Oil Stains
The truth is there are many ways to remove oil stains from garage floors, from homemade to using industrial products. Of course, experts still recommend using homemade blends or eco-friendly products for your safety and also to preserve the floor because these products are primarily citrus-based or beneficial microorganisms that push oil out of the pores.
Check out the best and quietest wet-dry vacs here.
In some cases, however, these products are ineffective on stubborn and stubborn oil stains. So you may also consider solid solvents or industrial solid degreasers. When using these solutions, you need to have protective gear for yourself, such as gloves and eyeglasses, to ensure they do not get caught or shot in your eyes.
Indeed, leaving oil stains on the floor for a long time will cause many inconveniences for you. Not only does it make your garage look aesthetically pleasing, but it also causes an unpleasant odor. Consider the appropriate cleaning method and oil stains on your garage floor so you can remove them quickly and effortlessly. Best of all, clean it up right before it’s drier and more stubborn. I hope this article helps you!