Removing Oil Spills from Concrete

Removing Oil Spills from Concrete

Any workshop or garage will know just how difficult it is to effectively clean an oil spillage, no matter how minor. This is because concrete is a highly granular material, which allows the oil to all too easily penetrate the surface of the concrete. The result? The spillage seeps into the concrete itself, making it next to impossible to completely clean away the oil without resorting to chipping away the affected area of the concrete.

Here are some steps to help clean the oil spillage effectively, hopefully allowing your garage or workshop to retain some of its original aesthetic charm.

Deal with the Spillage Straight Away

Ultimately, the longer you leave the spillage before attempting to clean it, the deeper the oil will sink into the concrete and the harder it will be to clean.

Begin by placing absorbent workshop rags over the spillage – this will help to soak up the oil before it has a chance to seep into the concrete. Avoid wiping the rags into the spillage however, as this will only help drive the spillage deeper into the concrete.

Surround the oil with dirt, sand, cat litter or sawdust – this will stop the spillage from spreading further across the surface.

Cleaning the Spillage

After dealing with the oil spillage, you may wish to apply a product designed specifically for cleaning oil, such as an engine degreaser. After applying and following the product’s instructions, ensure the surface is rinsed thoroughly.

One alternative is to create a solution of 2 parts mineral turpentine and part lime. Spread the mixture 5mm deep across the site of the spillage, ensuring to overlap the spill by around 5cm to 10cm to help combat any further spreading. Once applied, cover the mixture with a plastic sheet and leave it for 24hours. Repeat the process as necessary before scrubbing off the mixture using warm water mixed with laundry detergent. A final rinse with clean water should help remove any remaining staining.

Ensuring you have sufficient rags to hand, as well as sand, sawdust or cat litter to prevent the spread, will allow you to be prepared for the next spillage!