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How to remove oil stains from concrete

How to Remove Oil Stains from a Concrete driveway?

Removing oil stains

Oil stains are not only unattractive, they also cause your concrete to deteriorate quicker. They start on the driveway and quickly make there way into the house on our boots and shoes. In Calgary we are particularly at risk of concrete blemishes due to our extreme weather and the chemicals used to deal with it. Learn how to remove oil stains from your concrete driveway and how to take measures to prevent them from reoccurring below.

Must know tips before you start

An oil leak or spill is always an issue, whether its your car or driveway. An oil drip makes unnatural blemishes that diminish your home and gardens appearance. The first step to eliminating oil stains and debris is choosing the correct cleaning method. With a plan of action, what seems like a daunting task can be made less intimidating.

Various household items are useful in removing oil stains from concrete. Depending on the severity of your oil stains, you may need a specially formulated concrete cleanser intended for use outdoors. When you are cleaning a driveway on a steep incline, start in the highest spot and gradually work down the surface, cleaning as you go.

The basic cleaning process for oil stains follows this framework which can be attempted beforehand to assess how difficult it will be to remove your oils stains.

1. Absorb excess oil: Absorb excess oil using some sort of substrate such as baking soda, kitty littler or cloth, taking care to ensure as much oil is lifted as possible.

2.Scrub Oil Stain: Once all of the excess oil has been removed from the work area you can begin scrubbing. Detailed materials are listed below. In a pinch common household baking soda can be used.

3. Rinse: Continue to scrub while rinsing away with water and detergent.

Remember, oil is flammable pay attention when cleaning up stains and properly discard of any material used in the project.

With those safety considerations out of the way, lets dive into how to remove oil stains from concrete. We will start with household materials before making our way to heavier duty suggestions.

Removing oil with a laundry detergent

Small concrete stains are sometimes easily removed using just a toothbrush a sponge and powdered laundry detergent or dish soap. The process is simple and follows the three steps above, absorb the excess oil, scrub the concrete and rinse with clean water.

Can I use coke to clean my concrete?

People have used coke to as an oil remover for concrete and other stains from household surfaces over the years, but have you considered trying it on concrete? For those with limited resources or small stains, old-fashioned Coke might be worth giving a try. Pour one 12 oz can onto the stain and let it soak overnight (atleast 10 hours) . In the morning, scrub with a nylon brush (metal wire will increase the risk of scratching the concrete) and rinse. If this trick saved you the hassle of some of the other methods, it’s time to celebrate, if not read on for other household items that can be used for removing oil stains.

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An inexpensive brand of cat litter to soak up oil

Cat litter generally contains highly absorbable clay that can be used efficiently as a concrete oil stain remover. There are also different varieties of litter for cats. The higher priced brands generally make use of perfume but are often clumped in the moisture. You should choose a cheaper brand. Pouring cat litter onto the stain will help soak up all the excess dirt and oil leave. If the oil stain you’re treating covers huge areas, leave it to sit overnight. When you’re ready for the final steps, remove the debris. Rinse with warm soapy water and scrub with the nylon bristle brush.

Oven cleaner for cleaning concrete stains

Oven clean can help remove oil residue and dirt from concrete. Apply any oven cleaner directly to the concrete stain and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Use soft bristle brushes and rinse with warm water. Keep repeating until the unsightly oil stains are gone.

Can I use WD-40 to remove oil stains from concrete?

Most Calgarians carry WD-40s in their garages or at home so it makes sense that this is a common question we get. This handy solvent can be used for many different purposes and is perfect for cleaning driveways. If the oil stain in cement is still water soaked from the rinse, then take care to dry the area first. When the concrete is dry, spray the target area with plenty of WD40 and let sit for about 20 minutes. Afterwards wipe the concrete clean with a cloth. If this alone solves your problem, rinse and scrub with warm soapy water.


Poultices are porous materials mixed with a solvent and can be used to remove oil stains from surfaces. For our concrete driveway, the powder can easily be made using coarse ground of absorbable materials such as talc or sawdust, and then blending with soap and hot water. Pour the liquid over oil and apply the paste over the stains and let the mixture soak. After the poultice has dried, scrub it thoroughly with a sharp bristle brush. If all of the common household approaches haven’t worked you may want to visit your local hardware store.

Using Concrete Cleaner or Degreaser

The most aggressive method of cleaning concrete surface surfaces involves using concentrated alkaline soap in water. This soap essentially breaks down and helps loosen the stain which allows it to be cleaned. Standard degreasers do not actually break down oil, which means they should not be used on a concrete driveway. Be sure to chose a cleaning product specifically meant for your project.

The nuclear approach

Removing an oil stain is no easy job. When nothing else works, all that’s left is to try combining all ideas listed in this list into a powerful solution. You’re going to want cat litter bags, laundry detergent, cola bottles and bleach. Moreover, brooms, gloves, or goggles are required to keep your eye safe. Apply the cat litter, baking soda, and poultices. After the excess grease has been lifted, wet and soak the driveway with coca-cola, WD-40, oven cleaner and degreaser for 24 hours. When the time is up rinse and scrub with that heavily concentrated alkaline soap water while and if anything is left standing, it will be completely stain free.

Preventing Oil Stains on Concrete

Concrete sealers and coatings can be used to create a protective film that acts as a barrier between grease and the concrete. This affordable service can eliminate all the future hassle of having to clean your driveway by protecting it ahead of time. Coatings can often be applied without interrupting the pre-existing selection OR they can be used to give a decorative look. If you’d like to learn more about our concrete sealing services click here.

Need extra help? Choose a time for us to call you

Do you have an unconquerable oil spill  on your garage floor or driveway? Interested in exploring sealing options? You can choose any days that you need and choose those that will work for you best. We’ll be happy to accommodate you with a free, no obligation consultation.