How to Clean Up Engine Oil Spills at Home

If you park your car in the garage, chances are you’ll notice oil stains start to develop as time goes by, especially if you drive an older vehicle. Many homeowners wish to maintain a clean garage floor and avoid tracking toxins from spilled oil into the house.

It’s not impossible to clean engine oil spills from concrete, but your best chance for removing stains successfully is to act quickly and use the proper techniques. Here’s how to remove oil stains using helpful tips from the experts at Rainbow International®.

Absorb the Oil Stain

The first step is to soak up as much oil as possible. Just follow these steps:

  • Sprinkle sawdust, clay kitty litter (not the clumping kind), coconut husks, or a commercial oil-absorbing product on the stain. If you have none of these products on hand, set paper towels on the floor to soak up any wet oil while you make a trip to the store.
  • Allow the absorbent materials to work on the oil for 24 to 48 hours. Then, sweep up the debris with a broom and dustpan.
  • Repeat with fresh absorbent materials as needed to remove any remaining oil.

Saturate the Oil Stain

If the oil stain remains, you have a few options for saturating and cleaning the area, especially if it hasn’t had time to soak in. Here’s what you can try:

  • Water and liquid dish soap
  • WD-40
  • Dry laundry detergent
  • A paste made from acetone, lacquer thinner, or mineral spirits mixed with one of the oil absorbents used in the first step
  • Coca-cola (the phosphorous in the soda eats up grease from the oil stain, though you’ll need to remove the colored stain the soda leaves behind with baking soda or a dry cleanser like Bar Keeper’s Friend)

Whatever cleaning solution you use to saturate the stain, allow it to sit for one hour. During this time, the cleanser cuts into the oil and starts breaking up the stain.

Scrub the Oil Stain

Make the most of your cleaning solution by scrubbing the area with a quality wire brush. This helps it penetrate the concrete, which is a porous material that stains easily. Still, you’ll need to use a bit of elbow grease to eliminate the stain completely.

To help you save your arm as you work, reapply the cleaning solution of your choice along with a little water as needed before you start scrubbing. Then, remember to move the brush in a circular motion around the stained area.

When you’re done, rinse the area with water (either by hand or with a pressure washer) and allow the concrete to dry. Hopefully, you find that the stain has been removed.

Recruit the Professionals for Help

If oil and debris have clogged your garage floor drain, call Mr. Rooter® to request drain cleaning services. Also, if you waited too long to remove the oil spill, and now the stain has become all but permanent, you need cleaning services from Rainbow International. Contact us today to learn more about the expert techniques we use to remove oil stains from your garage floor.