How to Get Oil Out of Concrete – Complete Tutorial

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Besides oil stains on concrete being unsightly, they can also severely impair the adhesion of your new coating, be it an epoxy paint or concrete sealer. Consequently, you will need to completely remove oil and grease stains from your concrete before applying a sealer or paint. There are many methods as well as products that will help you remove oil from concrete. This article will show you how to remove oil stains from concrete and introduce you to the best products for getting the job done.



Concrete and Oil Stains

Concrete is made by mixing cement, water, and gravel, or sand. Once it dries it becomes very hard but it remains porous. The porosity can vary depending on the particle size of the sand or gravel used. The porosity of concrete makes it permeable which means vapor and air can move through it. This is all fine and well but if vapor and air can move through concrete then so can stains, right? Correct.

It is porosity that makes it extremely challenging to remove oil stains from concrete as stains will seep into the surface of the concrete. Furthermore, oil stains can act as a natural water repellent which makes things that much more tricky.

Choosing to apply a concrete sealer is a wise move as it can make cleaning stains far easier as sealing concrete will prevent stains from soaking into the porous surface.

Stains on concrete usually occur on the driveway or the garage floor. These stains are caused by fluids that sometimes leak from motor vehicles. If your vehicle is leaking fluids, stain removal should be the least of your concerns. You will want to consult a mechanic about that before you remove oil stains from your driveway. Let us take a look at the most common stains that are found on concrete.

How to Remove Oil Stains From Concrete



A gasoline spill is a common garage or driveway mishap. This can happen when refueling the lawnmower or weed wacker. These spills should be dealt with as soon as possible as gasoline is flammable and can be toxic to plant and animal life.


Motor Oil

An oil spot under your car is usually an indication of a bigger problem than a little stain but the longer it is left the harder it is to remove oil from concrete. Later on, in this article, we will look at a few powerful degreasers that are ideal for removing oil from concrete.


Transmission Fluid

Transmission Fluid is another common stain that can show up on garage floors. On light-colored concrete floors, it can leave a red stain. The longer the transmission fluid sits on concrete the more difficult it can be to remove as it will seep into the pores of the concrete and begin to dry.

Remove Grease From Concrete



How to Remove Oil Stains From Concrete

Besides using a commercial degreaser to remove oil stains from driveways and other concrete surfaces, there are some other methods that can work just as well, if not better! In this section, we will look at some of these methods. If you are having a difficult time removing oil from concrete, consider all the methods listed. Sometimes you just need to throw everything you have at a problem to remedy it. When dealing with the chemicals mentioned below it is a good idea to wear safety goggles, nitrile gloves, and a respirator.

Protection for Removing Oil Stains From Concrete


Soak Up Excess Oil

If you are dealing with a fresh oil spill on concrete there is a chance that it has not yet soaked into the surface of the concrete. It is always best to address stains as soon as you can. The longer a stain sits on concrete the deeper it penetrates into the surface and the more time it has to dry.

Choosing to act immediately can save you from having to break too much of a sweat when removing oil stains from concrete.

Use sawdust or affordable kitty litter to absorb the spill. Allow the kitty litter or sawdust to sit for about 24 hours. This will give it more than enough time to soak up the excess oil but if you feel more time is needed feel free to leave the absorbent material for as long as you like. Once you are happy that the oil has soaked into the material use a shovel to scrape up the oil-soaked muck and dispose of it responsibly.

If your concrete floor has been sealed or if it has any form of a coating on it, this trick will work wonders. There may not be any need to start scrubbing and using detergents however if you still see evidence of the oil stain you will need to consider one of the other methods below.


Poultice for Oil Stains

Creating a poultice for removing oil stains from concrete is a leveled-up version of the method mentioned above. It requires a drawing agent such as sawdust, kitty litter, and wheat flour as well as a solvent like acetone or thinners. The idea behind a poultice, when talking about stain removal, is that the solvent breaks down the oil while the drawing medium absorbs or draws the oil from the surface of the concrete. Instead of using a solvent try using trisodium phosphate soap (TSP) mixed with kitty litter.

After you have mixed up the poultice, lay it down generously over the stain and cover it with plastic sheeting.

Allow it to sit for about 24 hours for it to get working. Once all the oil has been broken down and soaked up it is time to remove the poultice with your trusty shovel and dispose of the muck responsibly. This method works really well on small stains. It might not work so well on larger stains but it is worth a try.

Once the poultice has been removed, rinse the area with a mop and a bucket of water and detergent or flush it with a power washer. Once the concrete is dry you will be able to see how effective this method was. You may want to consider repeating this process on tougher stains, so it may be an idea to get scrubbing!

Remove Oil Stains From Driveway



Commercial Concrete Degreaser

When asking yourself how to remove oil stains from concrete the first thought you may have is using a commercial degreaser. This method is the most common and for good reason. It works. Although it will require some elbow grease to encourage the degreasing process. There are many degreasers available for removing oil stains from concrete. However, our favorite is the Goof Off concrete degreaser.

Whichever product you decide on, it is best to let the degreaser sit on the stain for about 30 minutes before scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush or a push broom. You will need to rinse the degreaser with warm water to remove it from the concrete. These degreasers are usually a high alkaline formulation that breaks down the oil making it easier to remove from the concrete. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions as directions for use may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

An alternative to using a concrete degreaser is using baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda generously over the entire stain and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. Next, squirt a generous amount of dish soap over the baking soda and begin scrubbing. Once you have given the surface of the concrete a good scrubbing you will need to rinse it with warm water. You can repeat this process if necessary.

The combination of these two ingredients can be a very effective way to remove oil stains from concrete.


Removing Oil Stains From Concrete with WD-40

WD-40 has a list of around 2000 uses for its product. It is a wonderfully versatile product and is readily available. This deep-penetrating, water dispersing formula can even be used to remove oil stains from concrete. WD-40 contains a solvent that can break down the oil making it easier to remove.

Before you spray WD-40 on the oil-stained concrete be sure to soak up as much excess oil as possible. Spray a generous amount onto the stain and allow it to work in the stain for about 30 minutes. While WD-40 may work well at breaking down the structure of the oil you may also have to scrub the concrete with a detergent in order to further remove the oil stain as well as the residue that WD-40 will inevitably leave behind.

Remove Oil From Concrete



Tips and Tricks for Removing Oil Stains From Concrete

  • Oven cleaners are designed for removing tough, baked-in grease and oil from ovens and stovetops. A great tip is to try using oven cleaner to remove oil stains from concrete. Simply apply the oven cleaner to the stained concrete, allow it to sit, scrub, rinse, repeat.
  • There are products on the market that use single-celled organisms to remove oil stains from concrete. These organisms eat the oil and continue to do so until all the oil is removed. This is a great environmentally-friendly alternative to solvents and degreasers.
  • Coca-Cola has been a go-to household stain remover for decades and it can be an effective way to remove oil stains from concrete. Pour the Coca-Cola onto the stain and allow it to sit while it fights the stain. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
  • Sometimes a method may not work when trying to remove oil stains from concrete. Consider trying all of the methods in this article. Look at it as the guns-blazing approach to remove oil from concrete.
  • Once you have removed the oil stain from concrete, consider sealing your concrete driveway or garage floor with a concrete sealer. Not only will a sealer prolong the life of the concrete, but it will also stop stains from soaking into the concrete which will make them easier to remove.


How to get oil out of concrete is a question with a variety of different answers. The best thing to do is to remove as much of the oil as you can with an absorbent material like sawdust or kitty litter. Next, you will want to apply a degreaser to the stain, allow it to sit for a while, scrub and then rinse with warm water and repeat. There are many alternatives to degreasers that you can try such as baking soda and dish soap, oven cleaner as well as WD-40. And using a poultice by mixing a solvent with an absorbent material can break down and draw out the oil from concrete.



Frequently Asked Questions


How to Get Oil Out of Concrete?

There are many methods for removing oil from concrete. The best place to start is to remove as much excess oil using an absorbent material such as kitty litter or sawdust. Remove the oil-soaked material with a shovel and scrub the stain with a concrete degreaser and rinse with warm water.


How to Prevent Oil Stains on Concrete?

Sealing your garage floor or concrete driveway is a great way to protect the concrete from stains as well as extend its life. An oil stain on a sealed concrete driveway is far easier to clean than an oil stain on an unsealed driveway.


How to Remove Grease from Concrete?

Grease is similar to oil in that it repels water and can be difficult to remove from concrete. You will need to use a degreaser that is designed for concrete. Apply it to the stain and allow it to work its magic before scrubbing the stain and rinsing it with water.


Will WD-40 Remove Oil Stains from Concrete?

Yes, WD-40 is a versatile, water dispelling solvent that can cut through grease and grime. Spray the stain liberally with WD-40 and let it sit you about 30 minutes before wiping the concrete clean with a rag. You may want to rinse the concrete with soap and water to remove the WD-40 residue.


Are Oil Stains on Concrete Permanent?

The longer an oil stain sits on concrete the harder it can be to remove. This is why it is best to get to work immediately after the spill occurs. Use absorbent material to remove as much excess oil as possible before using a degreaser on the concrete to remove the stain. If the stain is old you will have to use a more aggressive degreaser and you will need to apply more elbow grease.