How to remove oil stains
from concrete

This page will show you some of the methods (and tricks) I use to remove oil stains from concrete.

All concrete is a little different. Some methods work better than others. Some methods have to be repeated multiple times.

It's a process that takes a little patience, but most of the time the oil can be removed from the concrete.

My Top Method

Try this first if you're not in a hurry

If you need to remove an oil stain from a concrete floor or driveway, I recommend using a process called bio-remediation.

There's no harsh chemicals involved, no pressure washing, and no protective equipment needed.

Bio-remediates are hydrocarbon eating bacteria that eat the oil and leave behind water and carbon dioxide.

This powdered cleaner is simply swept over the oil stain and then you let it do the work.


remove oil from concreteBefore and after picture of using this cleaner

Cleaning the oil stain from the concrete in the picture above took just one application.

This process takes a couple days or more to work.

The above picture of the cleaned concrete was taken 11 days after the cleaner was applied to the oil stain.

Terminator-HSD concrete cleaner is what we use to clean oil stains from concrete driveways, garage floors, gas station pads, and parking lots.

Of all the other products and methods I've tried, Terminator's cleaner has worked the best.

It's also safe to use, no harsh chemicals, detergents or acids to deal with. Very safe for the environment and animals.

Removing oil from concrete - How it works

Terminator-HSD is basically a powder you sweep on the oil stain and leave it. The hydrocarbon eating micro-organisms do all the work for you.

The cleaner contains billions of microbes that eat oil, converting it to carbon dioxide and water. The microbes are safe for people and animals - basically they aren't interested in you or your pets. 

Through this biological process, the stain fades away over time until it's gone. The microbes do need water, just like we do, but usually they draw it from nature. 

You can manually add water to speed up the process by using a spray bottle.

Depending on how deep the oil stain is in the concrete, it might take a couple days, a week, or a month to completely clean all the oil from the concrete.

The best part is, the bacteria keep eating the oil, you just apply it and walk away.

The types of stains Terminator will clean off concrete:

  • Motor oil
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Diesel fuel
  • Gasoline
  • Grease
  • Radiator fluid

Is this the best method for cleaning oil stains from concrete?

In my opinion, It's one of the best. I like that I can apply it and walk away, then come back a few days later to check the progress.

Some other reasons I like to use it:

  • ECO-Friendly - won't harm your skin or if you breath it
  • Won't kill your grass, shrubs, flowers, or trees
  • It won't harm your pets
  • No messy clean-up
  • It's inexpensive to use

The manufacturer, Terminator-HSD, actually guarantees their cleaner will remove all the oil stain from the concrete or they will give you 100% of your money back.


Here's Terminator's video showing how it removes oil from concrete

Again, they give a 100% money back guarantee if you're not satisfied. I recommend you give it a try, it's cleaned oil from a lot of concrete driveways for me.

You buy this right from Amazon. Terminator-HSD

My 2nd Method - use a degreaser

If I'm in a little more of a hurry and want to try to remove the oil "NOW" (in minutes or maybe an hour), the first thing I try is very HOT water and an alkaline degreaser.

Hot water will loosen up the oil (if it's dried on the concrete) and the degreaser will help emulsify it (break it up) and make it easier to rinse away, wipe, or vacuum up.

This method may take a few attempts to remove all the oil and it works best on oil stains that aren't too deep or too old.

I like to use ZEP Concrete cleaner and degreaser for this. You can get it local or on Amazon.

Pour some hot water on the oil stain and let it sit for a few seconds. 

After 30 - 60 seconds, apply some degreaser and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Try rinsing the oil stain and see if it looks cleaner or if it's totally removed.

If you still see some oil, apply some more degreaser and repeat the process until the stain is removed.

My third method - make a poultice

A poultice will help remove stubborn motor oil stains from concrete.

You can make a poultice by either using granular cat litter, diamotaceous earth, or powdered laundry detergent and a liquid.

The liquid can be water, the degreaser we talked about above, or a solvent like acetone, xylene, lacquer thinner, or MEK.

Mix the dry material with the liquid (of your choice), into a paste and spread it over the oil stain.

Cover it with some plastic, a trash bag will do. You don't want it to dry out too fast.

As the liquid in the poultice evaporates, it will draw the oil out of the concrete and into the poultice.

Once it's completely dry, you can sweep it up and dispose of it.

It may take a few tries (try different combinations if you have to) but this method will draw out the oil to some degree and maybe all of it.

There is a product called Chomp Pull it Out Oil/Stain Remover For Concrete. It's basically a pre-made poultice in a bottle.

You Squeeze some of this on your oil stained concrete, let it dry into a powder and remove. 

It pulls the oil out of the concrete into the poultice and cleans the concrete.

You can buy it on Amazon and it saves you from having to make a poultice from scratch.

Cleaning up oil that's a new leak, puddled, or spilled on concrete

If you just noticed a new leak under your car or truck and the oil is puddled, your best bet is to use an absorbent material like kitty litter or Oil-Dry.

If you don't have an indoor cat then it's a good idea to have a bag of OIL-DRY on hand just in case you notice some oil on your garage floor or your driveway.

As soon as you notice the oil, apply the Oil-Dry granules on the oil spill. The oil will start to immediately soak into the granules. 

Slowly move them around the oil spill with a broom or brush until the granules are soaked with oil. Pick them up with a dust pan or sweep them aside for now.

Apply more Oil-Dry as needed to completely soak up all the spilled oil.

See the video below for a demonstration of this:

Some other methods (tricks) I've used to clean oil from concrete


CARBURETOR CLEANER:

You can try a spray can of Carburetor cleaner or Brake cleaner and an absorbent material like kitty litter or Oil-Dry for spot cleaning.

I've used this method for fast spot cleaning. I found a video of this exact process, this isn't me in the video. 

The guy in the video demonstrates it well though.

Check out the video below to see how this works.

A BOTTLE OF COKE:

I haven't personally used this method but I have seen it work.

Coke has carbonated water, phosphoric acid, and citric acid as three of its ingredients. These three ingredients help loosen up stubborn oil stains.

Try pouring some Coke on your oil stain, lightly scrub it around and then wipe it up. 

You should be able to tell soon enough if this method will work or not.

Here is a video with someone using this process:

LIQUID CONTACT CLEANER:

For small spots of dried up oil that you want to clean in a hurry, try a can of liquid contact cleaner.

Spray the spot while lightly scrubbing it in. Work fast, this stuff evaporates quickly. Then wipe up the oil.

This method looks like it works very well.

Watch how Flip removes the oil stains from his concrete driveway:

In conclusion:

If you try any of these methods for removing oil stains from concrete, please do so with caution.

I've used some of these methods but not all of them. Proceed at your own risk.

I wanted to supply you with enough information so you can make an educated decision as to what might work best for your situation.

Trying to remove oil stains from concrete is sometimes very easy and sometimes not so easy.

That's why I found multiple ways you can try, in case you have a difficult oil stain to remove.

Learn how I remove rust stains from concrete.

What I use to remove cat urine from concrete.

This is how I remove black glue from concrete.

The easiest way to remove carpet glue from concrete.

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