How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete Garage or Driveway

Are you thinking of resurfacing the concrete in your garage or driveway? Do you find yourself tracking leftover oil, transmission fluid, or gas into your home? If so, it’s time to take action and get rid of those stubborn oil stains once and for all. 

Concrete is porous, which means oil and other unwanted fluids can quickly settle in and stain your driveway or garage floor.

However, you can use this to your advantage when removing these stains. Anything you use to tackle the oil stain will seep into the concrete to attack and loosen up the oil.

Oil stains in your garage or on your driveway can be a pain to erase, but there are plenty of methods that will do the job.

Thankfully, most of these tips are inexpensive and easy to work with. You won’t have to call a professional to have your driveway and garage floor look brand new.

How to Remove New Oil Stains from Concrete

If you’re working on a fresh stain, it’s best to attack the oil as soon as you notice it’s spilled. Don’t wait until later to deal with caked-on oil stains when you’re trying to sell your home or resurface your driveway or garage.

Follow these steps to prevent any severe stains that can be more difficult to deal with later.

1. Clean up excess oil

Cat litter is great at soaking up excess oil, but you can use cornstarch, cornmeal, or even baby powder if you don’t have any on hand. A rag can also be effective.

Be sure to wear gloves to prevent any leftover oil from getting on your skin.

2. Dissolve the oil stain

There are a few household cleaning items that can do the trick.

Baking soda or powder laundry detergent is effective – mix it with water and pour it on top of the stain. Once it’s sat for a few minutes, rinse the spot with water to check the progress.

3. Use soap and water

Tried and true dish soap and water is your last step. Grab a scrub brush and work the mixture into the concrete.

Rinse with water and repeat until the spot is gone.

If baking soda or powder laundry detergent did not work, you could also try WD-40. Just follow the steps above, but use a healthy amount of WD-40 rather than the other cleaning materials.

You can rinse the stain with boiling water to break down and wash away any last bits of oil.

Oil stain on concrete

How to Remove Old Oil Stains from Concrete

An older oil stain can take more elbow grease to work out. Before you clean your garage floor, you should try to tackle any stubborn stains, especially oil stains.

You can try the above steps to see if that helps to lighten the stain, but chances are you’ll need a little more firepower. 

1. Oil eaters/de-greasers

If you use a specially formulated concrete cleaner or degreaser immediately, it will usually remove the stain. You can find either at your local hardware store.

Please wear gloves if you plan on using these chemicals, as they are strong corrosives.

Using them is simple – scrub the soap into the stain and rinse. The chemicals will loosen up the oil and allow you to rinse it away with ease.

2. Oven cleaner

If you have some oven cleaner in your kitchen, you can use it to get rid of that pesky oil stain.

Similar to the oil eaters/degreasers, the chemicals in this cleaner will break down the oil and let you rinse it away.

Spray the cleaner onto the stain and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes, then use a cleaning brush to dislodge the oil further. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

3. Baking soda and liquid detergent

Similar to dealing with fresh stains, baking soda can also help get rid of old oil stains.

Apply the baking soda to the stain and wait for twenty to thirty minutes for the concrete to absorb it, then rinse it away.

Try scrubbing the baking soda into the concrete with a wet scrub brush if you need to repeat the process.

For liquid detergent, pour a generous amount onto the oil stain and add water. Scrub using a stiff scrub brush, then rinse to check your work.

As always, repeat as necessary.

4. Vinegar and vegetable oil

Here are more common household items that can clean up your driveway or garage floor. Vinegar happens to be a great way to clean concrete.

Start with the vinegar, pour it on top of the stain, and then sit for a few minutes. If you rinse and the stain is still there, apply some baking soda, apply additional vinegar and scrub vigorously.

Do the same method with vegetable oil if the vinegar isn’t working as well as you’d like.

Surprisingly, grease counters grease effectively.

5. Poultice

A poultice can be made out of numerous materials. However, for an oil stain, it’s best to use an absorbent material like ground sawdust and a combination of soap and hot water.

To properly use your poultice, pour water over the oil stain and apply the paste. Let it soak until the paste is dry.

Once dry, scrape off the poultice and check the status of the stain. Repeat as necessary until the oil stain is gone.

If you prefer to purchase the poultice rather than make it yourself, you can buy it online or at your local hardware store.

6. Coke is it

If you need that stain gone asap and you have a couple of cans of Coke in your fridge, I have great news for you.

Coke has been used as a stain remover for generations and can remove oil stains in concrete.

All you need to do is pour two cans of Coke on top of the oil stain, then wait a day. Rinse off the spot, and your driveway or garage floor should look good as new.

If not, try a few more cans and wait another day. 

Combine methods

Using just one of the above methods may solve your problem.

Still, if you want to attack with the kitchen sink approach, you can combine multiple solutions at once. You can use the cat litter, baking soda/laundry detergent, Coke, and bleach in tandem. It is necessary to wear the proper safety gear since you’re mixing chemicals.

Please wear rubber gloves and goggles to prevent any unwanted accidents.

Start by applying the cat litter on top of the stain. Next, pour Coke over the stain and mix the concoction with an old or unwanted broom. Let it sit for twenty to thirty minutes.

While you wait, mix 1/4 of a cup of laundry detergent with 1/4 of a cup of bleach in a gallon of warm water. Use this to rinse off the litter and Coke.

Once the spot dries, the oil stain should be nonexistent.

Photo of author

Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.