No matter how careful you are, eventually you’re going to spill oil or grease on your garage floor, especially if you have a classic car that you’re restoring.
Oil and grease stains on a garage floor are just as common as they are dangerous. It’s important 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.
To safely wash off any new or resistant grease stains, you should:
1. Absorb the Extra Oil With Towels
If you happen to 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 oil. The goal here is to pull as much of the oil off the surface of your floor.
This part will take up to 48 hours to work. 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 say that they “take grease out of your way.” Back in high school, part of my senior year science project was testing how true that was.
I turns out that Dawn works really well at breaking up oil. 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. Seriously!
Once the absorbent has been removed, pour Dawn dish soap (or your favorite brand) on the stain, along with enough water to be able to get a good lather. Warmer water will help the soap start to break down the oil faster.
4. Scrub The Stained Area
Time to break out the elbow-grease. With a metal scrub-brush, steel wool or other heavy-duty brush, scrub the floor until the stain is completely gone.
Unfortunately there’s no shortcut for this step.
5. Rinse With Warm Water
Pour clean water over the stain and absorb the extra liquid with a mop. You’ll likely need to repeat steps 3&4 several times in order to get all of the remaining oil off your floor.
What Cleaners Take Grease Off a Garage Floor?
There are many different solutions on the market that can help you get rid of grease and oil stains. However, the level of efficiency of most products depends on the material of your garage floor.
If you have opted for cement when designing your garage, the following products will be your go-to solutions 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 aim at getting rid of oil patches and grease stain. They can be incredibly practical, and they are widely available, which made them the preferred solution to clean a garage floor.
Degreasers contain chemicals that, when blended with the grease, it will change the state of the substance, making it much easier to clean later on.
Here are the kinds of degreaser that you could pick:
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 quite detrimental to your floor or drive-way. Oppositely, manufacturers recommend to create a diluted solution and apply 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 report damages after the use of industrial-grade degreasers.
Eco-friendly degreasers are a milder solution that won’t be as aggressive towards your floor. Such products operate on a similar principle as the previous ones, but some characteristics make them preferable.
Most of the eco-friendly degreasers on the market are biodegradable, water-based, and non-toxic. If your kids tend to walk and play in the garage, eco-friendly degreaser will minimize safety concerns. If you don’t tend to stain the floor, particularly often, eco-friendly substances are safer, healthier, and just as useful.
Solvents are among the most potent and common types of chemicals to get rid of just-spilled oil or grease. While using powdered laundry soap can seem a cheap home-made remedy, such a trick is famous 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 from the stain as possible. Moreover, it is not uncommon for the leftover oil to blend with the powder and result 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 on 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 an oven cleaner to clear out persistent oil stain can seem like an alternative solution. However, due to the no small amount of oil, food debris, and grease that can build up in the oven, such a product is perfect for getting rid of a stain on a concrete floor.
If you have decided to try to clean with an oven substance, remember that it might not be as strong as specifically-designed degreasers. The ovens’ metal, differently from a concrete surface, can easily suffer damage if treated with such aggressive solutions.
Oven cleaners will remove your oil stain 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 particularly strong degreasers, and you might need to repeat the whole operation several times to eliminate the stain.
It is Sunday afternoon, and you have just spilled engine oil on the floor of your garage. Do you need a fast and efficient solution to clean off the grease and keep working? You can easily create an effective degreaser blend at home, and without significant expenses!
This method is by far the most accessible solution for your greased concrete floor. For the soda method, you will need to gather:
- 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 litter, add the cola and brush it through with the broom. The cola won’t be a particularly strong detergent, so you will need to leave it on for at least 20 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, prepare a mix with laundry detergent, bleach, and water.
- Use a mop soaked with this blend to clean up the cola and, with it, 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 of cleaning 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 stain and let it sit for up to ten minutes.
- As usual, scrub and rinse the floor with water.
- Repeat if needed.