Remove Oil From Driveway
Remove Oil From Driveway TIPS
- Act FAST to get best results
- Liquid Dawn dish soap with Stain Solver oxygen bleach is BEST
- WATCH oil stain removal video below
- Beware solvents and acid cleaners - can be dangerous
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DEAR TIM: Yesterday a dump truck not only left a load of top soil at my home but it also left behind a nasty oil stain in the center of my concrete driveway. I also have some old oil stains on my concrete garage floor.
How can I remove these stains and restore the concrete to its original state? Once I get the concrete clean and dry is there a way one can prevent oil stains from seeping into concrete? Gus Z., Elmhurst, IL
DEAR GUS: Motor and hydraulic oils can really cause a mess on concrete, brick and blacktop but the good news is that you can achieve excellent clean up results if you act quickly.
Concrete Is Hard But Spongy
Concrete is a dense surface but water and many other liquids can and do soak into the surface. The fresh oil stain created by the dump truck will be a breeze to remove if you act quickly. The older oil stains in your garage may be a far greater challenge.
Simple Stain-Removal Tools & Soap
Removing the fresh stain from the driveway will require a regular scrub brush, some liquid dish soap and water. All you need to do is squirt some liquid dish soap onto the stain and add some water.
You can get even better results if you also use Stain Solver oxygen bleach. This is a certified organic product that breaks apart oil molecules making them easier to remove.
Mix, Stir & Scrub Rub-a-Dub
You mix Stain Solver with hot tap water, stir and make sure the powder dissolves. I always add three tablespoons of the Stain Solver powder to a quart of water and stir for about 90 seconds.
Be sure to wet down the surrounding concrete as well after you've poured the Stain Solver solution onto the oil stain. This will prevent oil released during the cleaning process from causing a secondary stain.
Scrub the stain vigorously and add enough Stain Solver solution to make a rich lather of soap.
Dawn Dish Soap
I've achieved the best results using Dawn liquid dish soap. Other soaps will work, but Dawn seems to do a superb job.
The soap will emulsify the oil and lift it out of the concrete. If you simply rinse the driveway the oil will pollute your yard or street.
Hug The Environment
You may decide it is more environmentally responsible to blot up a majority of the dirty soap mixture with paper towels or a dry compound like cat litter and dispose of this in a certified landfill. There is a good chance your local waste collection service can accomplish this task for you.
Remember, if you use the Stain Solver oxygen bleach, it BREAKS DOWN the oil so you don't have to waste paper towels and fill up the landfill with the oil that might seep through to Mother Earth at some point.
No Wire Brushing!
Do not use a wire brush to scrub the concrete. It can erode and scratch the concrete finish resulting in a permanent scar.
I've successfully removed many fresh oil stains from my own concrete driveway using a standard nylon bristle scrub brush that I purchased at a local grocery store. Some stains require several scrubbing attempts to completely remove all of the oil.
Oil Stain Removal Video
Watch how I use simple soap to remove an oil stain. I didn't use Stain Solver in this video because the oil was spilled as we taped the video.
You can use the same method to attack the older stains in your garage floor. If the concrete finish on the garage floor is quite smooth, you may have a great chance of success.
Smooth steel-troweled concrete is highly resistant to oil stains. This type of finish, though, is unsuitable for exterior concrete. It simply is too slippery when it gets wet. Rough concrete finishes absorb oil rapidly.
Solvents - Maybe?
If the old stains do not respond to the soap and water method you can consider using a solvent like kerosene to help lift the stain. But I do not like to use solvents as they are very dangerous to work with. It's better to use the Stain Solver method above.
The fumes from these products can ignite and cause serious harm to you and your home. If you decide to work with solvents, I would only do so after consulting with your local fire department's fire prevention officer.
Muriatic Acid - Watch Out!
Some people have had success lifting oil stains using muriatic acid. But keep in mind that this chemical, even when mixed one part acid to ten parts water, can and will dissolve some of the cement paste at the surface. Couple this with scrubbing and you very well may alter the appearance of the concrete once it dries.
It's dangerous to work with this powerful acid. Be careful if you go down this pathway of destruction!
Sealers Prevent Oil Stains
Clean concrete can be treated to help minimize the penetration of oil and water that contains dirt and pigments. Some of the best products are clear water and oil repellents that contain silane and siloxane ingredients. Here's a great one:
These chemical solids help block the tiny pores in concrete to stop water from entering and soaking into the concrete. The silane and siloxane products allow the concrete to breathe. This is very important for concrete that is subjected to freezing temperatures. The clear repellents are easy to apply and dry clear.