Eventually, you’re going to spill oil or grease on your garage floor, no matter how careful you are.
Oil and grease stains on a garage floor are just as common as they are dangerous. It’s critical to clean them up as quickly as possible so they don’t set and become a permanent design on your floor.
Trust me, I’m speaking from experience on that one.
How to Get Grease Off a Garage Floor
To safely wash off any new or resistant grease stains, follow this cleaning process.
1. Absorb the Extra Oil With Towels
If you have oil absorbing mats or pads, they’ll do great here. If not, an old towel or thick rags will do the trick.
This part is most effective if you can do it immediately after spilling the oil.
2. Use Sawdust or Kitty Litter
Next, you want to pour a dry substance like sawdust or kitty litter on the oil spill and let it soak up the grease. The goal here is to pull as much of the grease off the surface of your floor.
Let it sit overnight. After that, you’ll want to remove the sawdust or kitty litter with a dustpan or shovel and move on to the next step.
3. Use Liquid Dish Soap
Dawn dish soap used to have the tagline that they “take grease out of your way.” In high school, part of my senior year science project tested how true that was.
It turns out that Dawn works really well at breaking up oil and grease. In fact, it works so well that whenever there’s a major oil spill, volunteers use Dawn to help wash the oil off bird’s feathers.
Once the absorbent has been removed, pour Dawn dish soap (or your favorite brand of liquid dishwasher detergent) on the stain, along with enough hot water to get a good lather. Warmer water will help the soap start to break down the oil faster.
4. Scrub The Stained Area
Now for the elbow grease. (pun intended)
Scrub the floor with a metal scrub brush, steel wool, or other stiff brush until the stain is completely gone.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut for this step.
5. Rinse With Hot Water
Pour clean water over the stain and absorb the extra liquid with a mop. You’ll likely need to scrub and rinse several times to get the remaining grease off your floor.
What Cleaners Take Grease Off a Garage Floor?
There are many different cleaning solutions on the market to help you get rid of grease and oil stains. However, how well they work depends on the material of your garage floor.
If you have concrete surfaces in your garage, the following products will be your go-to solution in case of a grease stain. Remember, the quicker you address the issue, the less cleaning you will have to do later!
Degreasers are specialized cleaning agents that, when blended with the grease, will change the state of the substance, making it much easier to clean the grease stain later on.
Industrial grade degreasers are often highly alkaline, aggressive, and affordable. Sellers tend to stock them in larger packages such as 55-gallon bottles or packs of six 1-liter bottles. If you are using your garage continuously and, due to your numerous projects, your workspace ends up often splattered in oil, this might be the optimal choice for you.
Using an undiluted industrial-grade degreaser can be detrimental to your floor or driveway. Most manufacturers recommend creating a diluted solution and applying it with a sprayer.
Ensure that the stain is completely covered and leave the solution on the surface long enough to penetrate through the oil. Proceed to wash and rinse the concrete with water, preferably using a pump. Painted surfaces can be damaged after using industrial-grade degreasers.
Eco-friendly degreasers are a milder solution that won’t be as aggressive towards your floor. These products operate similarly to the previous ones, but some characteristics make them preferable to many people.
Most of the eco-friendly degreasers on the market are biodegradable, water-based, and non-toxic. An eco-friendly degreaser will minimize safety concerns if your kids tend to walk and play in the garage. If you don’t tend to stain the floor, eco-friendly substances are often safer, healthier, and just as useful.
Inexpensive Ways to Clean Up Grease Spills
It is Sunday afternoon, and you have just spilled engine oil on your garage floor. You need a quick way to clean the grease stain and keep working.
You can easily create an effective degreaser blend at home that also happens to be pretty inexpensive!
Solvents are among the most potent and common types of chemicals to get rid of fresh oil or grease. While powdered laundry soap can seem like a cheap homemade remedy, it’s a well-known trick among NASCAR and racecar mechanics.
Since the soap might not be as strong as a degreaser, you will need to soak up or absorb as much grease and oil as possible. It’s not uncommon for the leftover oil to blend with the powder, resulting in a secondary stain that is even more difficult to remove.
To use this method on your concrete floor, you should:
- Add laundry soap to a bucket filled with lukewarm water.
- Allow the solvent to mix with the water and create a soapy solution.
- Pour the mix onto the stain.
- Add extra powdered detergent to the oil stain and let it set.
- After scrubbing the area with a broom with stiff bristles, rinse the area with a hose at high pressure.
Using oven cleaners to remove stubborn grease stains is an alternative solution.
However, remember that oven cleaners aren’t as strong as specifically-designed degreasers. The oven’s metal surface is very different than a concrete surface. It can easily suffer damage if treated with such aggressive solutions.
Oven cleaners will remove grease stains efficiently, but they might need you to leave them to soak for over 10 minutes on the stain itself. Afterward, you may proceed with the method we have explained earlier: scrub the stain and rinse at high pressure. As mentioned, oven cleaners might not be strong degreasers, and you might need to repeat the whole operation several times to eliminate the stain.
This method is a great way to remove grease stains from a concrete driveway or garage floor.
- Coca-cola (around 1 liter)
- A broom with stiff bristles
- Cat litter or cornmeal
- Start by pouring the litter over the stain and brushing it. This mix will dry off any remaining oil.
- After removing the kitty litter, add the cola and scrub thoroughly with the broom. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare a mix with laundry detergent, bleach, and water.
- Use a mop soaked with this blend to clean up the cola and the stain.
If you search correctly, you will realize that you have at least a bottle of WD-40 hidden away somewhere in the house. Among its 2,000 uses, this product is a lubricant and solvent and has the power to clean away all the oil stains on any floor.
To use the WD-40 properly and avoid staining the surface by mistake, follow these steps:
- Start the procedure by soaking up with a towel or litter as much oil as possible off the floor.
- Once dry, spray the WD-40 across the grease stain and let it sit for up to ten minutes.
- As usual, scrub and rinse the floor with water.
- Repeat if needed.