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How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete By CSPW

Unattractive oil and various types of stains on concrete can usually be eliminated using common household materials and products. However, determining the most effective approach for your specific stain and concrete may involve a process of trial and error. For example, consider using a scrub brush with paste or dish soap. Degreasers can also effectively help to loosen oil.

Regardless of the chemical utilized, hot water is typically the most effective option as it initiates the process of separating oil from the concrete surface.

This article will explore common DIY techniques for removing oil stains from concrete using household products readily available.

About Clean Surface Pressure Washing 

At Clean Surface Pressure Washing, we specialize in providing professional residential and commercial concrete oil removal services. With a solid background of over 5 years in power washing various surfaces in Arizona, we stand out as the leading power washing company in Phoenix.


When addressing oil stain removal, it is important to note that cleaning fresh oil stains is significantly simpler than dealing with those that have been left to set. Concrete is porous, thus oil that has been left to settle will seep into the surface, complicating its removal.

The first step to address a fresh oil stain is to eliminate any excess oil present on the surface. We utilize a cloth dampened with diluted dish soap for cleaning smooth surfaces like polished concrete. For rough or broom-finished concrete, you can use sweeping compound, cat litter, or even absorbent material to manage excess contamination.

After the cat litter or another absorbent material has soaked up the excess oil, we recommend utilizing dish detergent along with a firm nylon brush to eliminate any remaining contamination. For very recent stains, this method usually suffices to address the issue.

Common Household Products Used to Remove Oil Stains

To eliminate oil stains from concrete, numerous home remedies are recommended by many individuals. A simple search on YouTube reveals various methods such as utilizing soda, powdered laundry detergent, and even gasoline.

While numerous solutions effectively remove oil stains from concrete, it’s important to note that some may inadvertently cause etching and deterioration of the underlying concrete during the cleaning process.

While this might be suitable for a concrete driveway or an untreated garage floor, only certain solutions are deemed appropriate for decorative concrete surfaces.

Cat Litter

Clay-based cat litter has the potential to effectively absorb a recent spill on concrete or asphalt, as suggested by Bob Vila. It may require a couple of hours to absorb adequately before starting the sweeping process.

Baking Soda

Due to its absorbent properties, baking soda serves as a practical solution for removing oil stains. A blend of baking soda and other products can be administered onto an oil stain and allowed to dry. This approach to oil stain removal is cost-effective and efficient.

Exercise caution; the alkaline nature of baking soda could lead to reactions with concrete, resulting in unforeseen consequences. While baking soda is considered a weak base, concrete exhibits significant reactivity when confronted with an unbalanced pH level. It is advisable to restrict the use of baking soda to non-decorative concrete surfaces like sidewalks, driveways, or unfinished garage floors.

Concrete Cleaner or Degreaser

The solution is in the names themselves. Concrete cleaner and degreaser effectively lifts and removes unsightly stains. However, old stains pose a greater challenge to eliminate. Consider utilizing a mixture of cat litter and degreaser as a solution; if unsuccessful, professional power washing services are recommended.


Although gasoline seems effective at removing oil stains, it can result in a lingering odor in the concrete that may persist for a long time. Moreover, its flammability renders it unsuitable for concrete cleaning purposes. Therefore, we advise against using gasoline to remove oil stains.


WD-40 has capabilities beyond silencing door squeaks; it can assist in removing oil stains from driveways. This is due to its ingredients that effectively penetrate grease. Apply a generous amount to the affected area, allow it to sit for 20 minutes, then proceed to wipe the surface clean.

Oven cleaner

Spray oven cleaner on grease, oil, or transmission stains as recommended by Reader’s Digest. Allow it to sit for approximately 10 minutes, then scrub and rinse thoroughly.

Then scrub and rinse it off. Be cautious of harmful chemicals seeping into your garden bed, as advised by Bob Vila. Consider utilizing a biodegradable product – it will typically be indicated on the canister. Additionally, please be aware that persistent stains may need more than one round.


While laundry detergent is effective in eliminating oil stains, it primarily targets oil on the surface level of the concrete. This approach requires considerable effort, and it is common for stains to resurface after a few days.

Moreover, laundry detergent may have a detrimental effect on concrete, resulting in an etched surface. Although we acknowledge the appeal of a conveniently accessible product, it is worth noting that laundry detergent is typically less efficient than dish detergent or a basic degreaser in the removal of oil stains from concrete. Therefore, we recommend other methods, especially for decorative concrete surfaces.


Soda serves as a effective concrete cleaner due to its phosphoric acid content. The acid eats the surface of the concrete, removing any surface contaminants. Although soda can enhance the appearance of concrete, its acidic properties deem it unsuitable for decorative concrete.


Dish soap serves as a basic surfactant and is a practical at-home solution for removing oil stains. Remember to dilute the dish soap before application. Typically, a few drops in a gallon of water prove effective in eliminating oil stains from concrete surfaces.

Although dish soap may not effectively remove stubborn stains, it remains the mildest DIY option for tackling oil stains. We frequently utilize diluted dish soap on decorative concrete surfaces to effectively eliminate fresh oil stains without causing any adverse effects.

How to remove oil stains

Oil may cause dark stains on concrete, yet there are methods to effectively remove even the most stubborn spots from your driveway. The following steps are recommended to eliminate oil stains from your driveway or garage floor:

  1. If the spill is still wet, consider covering the stain with cat litter, sand, cornstarch, cornmeal, or baking soda. This aids in absorbing the oil before it penetrates into the concrete surface.
  2. Once the spill has dried, proceed by sweeping up the absorbent material. Then, wet the stain with water. For stubborn, set-in stains, commence the removal process by gently spraying water onto the affected area.
  3. Utilize a firm brush, like a broom, to vigorously scrub the area using a mixture of baking soda and water.
  4. Use a hose to rinse the pavement thoroughly, then allow it to dry.

Another process you can try to remove oil stains:

  1. Applying spray lubricant to cover the stain, followed by rinsing with water, as said by Reader’s Digest.
  2. Applying a mixture of powdered laundry detergent and water onto the stain, as recommended by, is advised. Allow it to set, then proceed to scrub the area using a broom or brush before rinsing thoroughly with water.
  3. Scrub the stain using a grease-cutting dish detergent and a stiff brush or broom, as said by
  4. Spray the oil spot with a microbial stain remover recommended by The Spruce. This biodegradable stain remover facilitates subsequent cleaning of the area with soap and water.

How to remove transmission fluid stains

Transmission fluid spills or leaks can result in a vivid red stain on light-colored concrete. Below are recommended procedures for eliminating the stain from concrete surfaces.

  1. Spray the affected area with oven cleaner and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Utilize a stiff brush to gently scrub the affected area. Subsequently, rinse thoroughly with water using a hose set at its highest pressure.
  3. If the stain persists, proceed with repeating the process.

Moreover, significant stains may indicate underlying vehicle issues. Therefore, it is crucial to schedule regular maintenance to verify proper functionality and prevent potential costly problems.

While auto insurance generally excludes coverage for maintenance issues, it can provide protection against sudden accidents resulting in damaged components. If uncertain about the extent of coverage in your auto policy, it is advisable to verify with your insurance provider.