Garage Oil Stains: Removal Tips & Tricks
Naturally, when the accident happens, we would fret about whether the oil spill has permanently damaged our floor. And while some people decide to do something about it straight away in attempt to remedy the situation, most will simply soak the liquid with a cloth and accept the presence of the stain with a feeble “That’s that, then!”
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
The Garage Oil Stains – A Threat to The Hubby’s Sanctuary
An Englishman’s garage is a castle, after his shed, of course!
It is a man’s haven, where he seeks solace or enjoys his new pursuits. This is especially valid if the place hardly ever harbours the family vehicle anymore, but instead, it has been turned into the guy’s hobby pad or his workshop.
Men, of course, differ and if some treat the garage as the only place in the house, where mess is acceptable and welcome, others eagerly take pride in the pristine and pharmacy like order, they have put in place.
Nevertheless, when it comes to dealing with a damaged floor surface and eliminating “permanent” oil stainings, most guys will try to find a popular and widely tested DIY trick to remove them. Yes, old oil stains in the garage may be unobtrusive and invisible to guests and most family members, but let’s all agree, they will truly bother the man of the house.
Before we move on with the essential part of how to clean the greasy blots off a concrete floor, first, we’ll spare a moment to differentiate between the different causes of stubborn and hard-to-remove oily types of contamination in a home’s garage.
From Unpleasant-to-Look-at Oil Stains to Dangerous-to-Health Oil Spills
Most old or new small garage oil stains are petroleum-based and result from motor oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, diesel fuel, etc. More often than not, they are insignificant in size and occur either during a car repair and servicing process or when a small quantity of liquid has been accidentally spilt out of a bottle container. These stains will naturally penetrate the porous concrete floor surface if the latter has not been sealed or additionally protected with some coverings.
The result is the formation of unsightly stains that are generally detrimental to the floor itself rather than to human health, due to their negligible size. Still, when fresh, their negative effect can be easily transferred into the living area of the main home by being inadvertently tracked into the house, onto carpets or natural stone hard floors. Well, not to mention that oil will outright ruin the bearer’s footwear. In addition, larger fresh-induced oil stains make the surface slippery, so the risk of falls is also not to be ignored.
Another, less common, source of oil contamination in the garage can be heating oil from leaking oil feed pipes, in the rare case when a heating oil storage tank has been installed inside it, rather than outdoors. As around 40% of rural households in the UK rely on heating oil to keep warm, it is worth mentioning than mishaps, accidental spillages and unforeseen leaks can be prevented if the established standards for equipment installations are regularly observed.
Although, regulations implement the installation of a secondary one-hour fire-resistant chamber with the appropriate ventilation, called a bund, in which an indoor oil tank is securely placed, spillage incidents do happen through faulty joints, connections, fire valves or damaged overfill prevent devices. This type of oil contamination poses a serious fire hazard and a high risk to human health. So it is vital that domestic heating oil spillages are cleaned up straight away.
Consider some of our other clever blog posts to better prepare:
- End of tenancy cleaning tips and advice
- Hazardous household products
- Household Dust
- Mould & Mildew
The Important How-to-Clean-Them Moment of Truth
We will navigate you expertly through the general guidelines for how to deal with oil contamination from removing standing oil that was spilt accidentally to cleaning up the unpleasant stains, left behind on your garage, basement or workshop concrete floor.
Firstly, equip yourself with the following tools and cleaning essentials:
- A bucket
- A bristle broom or a stiff brush
- A plastic scraper
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection (for large size spills)
- Absorbent material: sawdust, baking soda or cat litter, etc.
- Cleaning detergent of your choice: specialised degreasing product, oven cleaner, WD-40 degreaser, laundry detergent, etc.
- Coca-cola (optional)
There are a number of effective techniques that you can use to clear up the oil but as a general rule of thumb, making a poultice to absorb any liquid, is one of the methods, which you can employ. You can mix the absorbent base product of your choice (soda, salt, sugar, sawdust) with a degreasing agent (laundry detergent, coca-cola, acetone) and make a paste-like mixture. Then the poultice is applied to sit for a few hours on the contaminated area.
For better effect, the putty can be additionally covered and taped with a plastic sheet to work its magic and draw out the oil more efficiently. Subsequently, scrape off the paste and apply a degreaser or a multi-purpose cleaning detergent. Scrub, brush, rinse as long as it takes, depending on the size and level of contamination you are confronted with.
If making a poultice seems too messy or a laborious procedure to you, simply cover the stained area with the absorbent material at hand – cat litter, sawdust, etc. Brush it in vigorously and again, leave it for awhile. Then proceed as described above.
Some folks also promise wondrous results if a straightforward oven cleaner or an industrial-strength WD-40 degreaser is used. So it’s worth a try. And let’s not forget that a good rinsing with a hose at the end usually helps remove any oily residuals and remnants of degreasers or detergents.
Whatever you decide to apply, make sure that you wear some standard protective gear like rubber gloves and a facemask. Also, always open the garage door or a window, if any, to achieve a good ventilation.
Moreover, you can always entrust the cumbersome task of cleaning your garage floor and removing any oil stains to the patio and driveway cleaning professionals, who have got the right pressure cleaning equipment and the detergents to deal with the contamination.
What Preventive Measures You Can Take Against Oil Stainings
Oil stainings on your hard garage floor can be easily avoided if you take some preventive actions against accidental spillages. Ensure that storage containers are closed tight at all times. Your heating oil system should be regularly serviced and checked for loose pipe fittings. If you do keep your car in the garage, always place a protective sheet underneath it when you change the oil, for instance.
It is a good idea if you do not allow pets and kids to go in your garage space unsupervised for their own safety before anything else. But most importantly, you should find the time and resources to protect your floor with an appropriate covering or a coating. Our advice to you is to seek an expert opinion on what type of oil and water-resistant sealer may be suitable for your concrete garage floor.