Anyone who’s ever worked on their vehicle in their garage will know that oil drips, spills, and stains are an inevitability rather than a possibility. And if you have had that experience, then you will also know how much of a challenge they are to remove.
Not to worry, though; this guide will bring you up to speed on how to clean that pesky oil leak on garage floor and also teach you a bit more about the chemistry behind it so you can better understand why some cleaners work and others don’t.
Understand What Your Garage Floor Is Made Of
The first thing you need to do before you tackle the oil stains on your garage floor is to know and understand what your garage floor is made of. The reason for this is that different flooring materials will interact with oil in different ways, which will need different techniques to remove it effectively.
For instance, you will need a different process to remove oil stains from pavers as opposed to, say, vinyl floors.
Now, most garage floors are typically made of concrete, which many people tend to refer to concrete floors as cement. It should be noted that cement and concrete are not the same.
To clear things up, cement is a binding material that is used as a part of concrete, but is rarely used as a flooring material on its own. Cleaning either type, however, uses generally the same process—the only difference being that cement is a lot more fragile.
As we mentioned, though, there are many different kinds of garage floors, each with different ways of going about cleaning them. We’ve made a list of some of the most popular options below:
- Concrete. As the standard for a vast majority of garage floors, you can use a variety of cleaning materials to remove oil stains from the surface of concrete, although certain sealers can make cleaning a bit easier.
- Interlocking tiles. This is a garage floor covering that, as the name suggests, is made up of interlocking tiles that are usually made of a durable, rigid plastic. Oil can usually be cleaned from these tiles with the standard combination of soap, water, and a cloth to wipe the stain off.
- Vinyl. Vinyl is another common type of floor covering used in auto garages, popular because of its low maintenance and relative softness. Cleaning fresh oil stains usually takes no more than just wiping off the oil, but older, dried stains will need some cleaning chemicals to get the job done.
- Sealed concrete. Applying sealer to concrete changes the characteristics of its surface enough that cleaning out stains from it becomes much easier than it would with raw concrete. We will expand on this in a later section.
- Epoxy flooring. A common alternative to standard concrete sealer, epoxy flooring creates a highly durable (and if applied correctly, smooth) surface that doesn’t absorb stains allowing for relatively easy cleaning.
How to Remove Old Stains From Concrete Garage Floor
Use Professional Stain Remover
Arguably the best way to clean oil off concrete floor is by using a professional stain remover like Prosoco. These stain removers are specially formulated with a blend of surfactants and other chemicals that target and lift oil-based stains. With these cleaners, one can ensure a very clean removal to clean oil stain on concrete floor like it had never been stained at all.
Use Cat Litter
If you happen to have a feline friend in your home, you can actually use cat litter for oil stains. Litter is designed to stick to and absorb liquids including oil, so it works quite well for removing tricky liquids like engine oil.
Although it doesn’t seem very intuitive considering WD-40 is itself a kind of oil, you can actually make WD 40 remove oil stains from concrete. Since WD-40 is a displacing chemical, you can spray it on old stains, let it soak for a few minutes, then wipe with a cloth or paper towel to remove the stains.
How to Remove Engine Oil Stains From Garage Floor
Arguably the most common stains you will have to deal with in your garage, which car enthusiasts will know as tending to splash and spill when doing an oil change.
So how to get oil stains off concrete? The general process takes two steps: first, use an absorbent material to get most of the oil spill out. Cloth, cat litter, or paper towels are what gets motor oil out of concrete.
Afterward, apply a cleaning chemical like a dedicated stain remover or WD-40 to the oil, let it set, then wipe out the stain.
How to Get Grease Off Garage Floor
People who work on their garage a lot will also likely end up with grease stains on their garage floor.
Unlike oil, grease has a much thicker consistency which can make it more difficult to simply wipe off. To actually get this off of your garage floor, you will need more than the typical chemicals used to clean out oil stains.
Specifically, you will need to get a degreaser—a specific chemical that is designed to break up the viscosity of the grease, allowing it to lift off of the concrete more easily. Outside of that, the cleaning process is practically the same as that of liquid oil.
How to Protect Garage Floor From Oil Stain In The Future
Once you’ve cleaned up every last oil leak on garage floor, you would want to make sure that the floor doesn’t get any pesky stains again.
Of course, since you won’t be able to actually avoid getting oil stains on your floor, the best thing you can do is to make it easier to remove when oil spills and splashes do happen. You can achieve this by applying a sealer to your garage floor, which covers over the many microscopic pores in .