How to Remove Grease and Oil Stains from Concrete

You probably let your vehicle rest in a garage, carport, or driveway when you’re not driving it. Depending upon the mechanical condition of your vehicle, oil and grease spots soon begin to decorate the concrete in these areas. If this situation sounds familiar, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a clean-up formula for you — a couple of formulas actually, depending on the severity of the stains. In either case, wait until the area is shaded to prevent the cleaning solution from drying out too quickly.

Plan A: The soda-pop concrete stain remover

This first formula may cause your neighbors to wonder whether you’re playing with a full deck of cards. However, you’ll soon be the envy of the neighborhood when you have the cleanest driveway on the block.

Gather the following items:

  • A small bag of cat litter

  • A few cans of a cola beverage (diet or regular)

  • A nylon brush or stiff-bristle broom

  • A mixing bucket

  • Powdered laundry detergent (ammonia free)

  • Liquid chlorine bleach

  • Eye protection and rubber gloves

  • A garden hose and running water

Then follow these steps:

  1. Completely cover the grease or oil with a thin layer of the cat litter and grind it in using the soles of your shoes.

  2. Sweep up the cat litter and pour on enough cola beverage to cover the entire area.

    Don’t just throw the oil and grease-laden cat litter in the garbage can — dispose of it as you would used motor oil, paint, or other potentially hazardous chemicals. If you’re not sure how to dispose of such materials, call your local waste-management company for advice about the rules in your area.

  3. Work the cola into the affected area with a scrub brush or bristle broom, making sure to keep the entire area damp with cola. Then leave it on for about 20 minutes or until it has stopped fizzing, but don’t permit it to dry.

  4. Rinse off the cola with fresh water.

    You should see a gray stain.

  5. Scrub the gray stain with a solution of 1 cup liquid chlorine bleach, 1 cup powdered laundry detergent, and 1 gallon of very hot water.

    Make sure the detergent you use is ammonia-free. Mixing ammonia with bleach creates a lethal gas, similar to mustard gas.

Plan B: Muriatic acid

If Plan A doesn’t do the trick, then it’s time to bring out the big gun — muriatic acid. Make a solution of one part muriatic acid to nine parts water, adding the acid to the water (not the other way around).

Working with muriatic acid is dangerous! Wear eye protection, put on rubber gloves to protect your hands and arms, and make sure that there’s plenty of ventilation. Do not attempt this project when children or animals are present.

After you carefully mix the acid solution, follow these steps:

  1. Pour the solution over the area and work it in using a nylon scrub brush or stiff-bristle broom.

    Be careful not to splash — you don’t want to damage the surrounding area.

  2. Flush the entire area with fresh water after the solution has stopped fizzing — about ten minutes.

    More than one treatment may be necessary for those stains that only professional race-car drivers can appreciate.

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