How to Clean Up Oil Spills in Garage? – 3 Easy Methods

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean up oil spills in garage

One of the most common yet messiest pet peeves of every homeowner is cleaning up spilled oil on concrete, which is also one of the most challenging skills to master and make perfect.

However, technological advancements have also resulted in solutions to such everyday problems that provide us with numerous methods on how to clean up oil spills in garages.

This article explores some of the best ways of dealing with these troublesome and unsightly oil stains, especially on your concrete garage floor.

How to Clean Oil Spills in Your Garage

If there’s one type of dirty stain that cannot be easily addressed, it must be oil stains, which water alone cannot remove.

You need the appropriate household cleaning solutions to do it right and remove such problems from sight.

There are several types of oil stains on concrete that require different cleaning methods, so let’s enumerate the tools and cleaning solutions needed to get rid of oil stains.

Method 1: How to remove old oil stains on concrete

For light or clean engine oil stains


What to prepare:

  • All-purpose degreaser, cleaner or rust-remover (i.e. WD-40, Rust-Ease, etc.)
  • nylon bristle brush
  • water
  • pressure washer

Step 1: For small or contained stain areas, pour degreaser over the stained area and let it rest for a few minutes to rehydrate and soften the oil stain.

Step 2: After a few minutes, use a brush to remove the stains until you get oil stains out of the concrete.

Step 3: Rinse the cleaned area with water using a pressure washer to remove any degreaser residue.

For dirty or used engine oil stains


What to prepare:

  • All-purpose degreaser, cleaner or rust-remover (i.e. WD-40, Rust-Ease, etc.)
  • hand gloves
  • nylon bristle brush
  • water
  • clean rags or cloth

Dirty or stubborn used oil can be quite challenging to remove on your concrete driveways at home, but there are effective hacks to get it done.

Step 1: Surprisingly, using the all-purpose lubricant WD-40 to remove oil stains is also a very effective cleaner that can penetrate and remove grease from concrete surfaces.

Spray a generous amount of WD-40 on the stained areas and allow it to penetrate through the grease for 5 to 20 minutes.

Step 2: Wear gloves to protect your hands before brushing the stained areas with a rag or stiff brush.

Step 3: Allow to dry, and if there are leftover lighter stains on the cleaned areas, follow the steps enumerated in the first part of this cleaning method for light stains to remove them thoroughly.

Method 2: Removing fresh or still wet oil spill from concrete garage floor


What to prepare:

  • Absorbent material (coconut coir, sawdust, kitty litter, etc.)
  • Nylon bristle brush
  • soft cloth or rags
  • water
  • hand gloves

Step 1: While the oil spill is still fresh, place a generous amount of coconut coir, wood shavings, or cat litter enough to cover the oil and allow it to soak up the oil.

Step 2: Collect the absorbent material using a brush or broom once cat litter, wood shavings, or coconut coir has soaked up the oil.

Step 3: When you are left with light stains that were left over by the absorbent materials, follow the steps for light stain cleaning to thoroughly remove the stains left on the ground.

Method 3: Cleaning stubborn stain caused by an oil leak on the garage floor

What to prepare:

  • absorbent material (coconut coir, sawdust, kitty litter, etc.)
  • nylon bristle brush
  • soft cloth or rags
  • water
  • hand gloves
  • lacquer thinner
  • concrete cleaner or degreaser

Step 1: The best way to remove stubborn oil stains caused by dirty oil leaks may need a combination of several of the methods described above to get your garage floor thoroughly cleaned.

If the messy oil spill is still wet, which is usually caused by dirty used oil, place a good amount of absorbent material (coir, sawdust, or cat litter) over the wet oil. Allow the material to soak up the oil on the floor.

Step 2: Remove the absorbent material by wiping or brushing it away, but you may still notice some stubborn stains on the surface caused by carbon sediment staining the concrete.


Step 3: Wear your hand gloves and carefully pour lacquer thinner over the oil stain to clean oil off the concrete surface. Allow the lacquer thinner to evaporate over the stained area.

Step 4: Apply a concrete cleaner or degreaser on the oil-stained area and let it penetrate through the oil stain for a few minutes to make it softer and easy to remove.


Step 5: Using a stiff brush, work your way through the stain by brushing the stained area in a circular motion repeatedly until the oil stain is removed.

Step 6: Rinse the cleaned area using a pressure washer, mop away excess water then let the garage floor air dry. Repeat light oil stain removal steps, if needed for signs of left-over stains.


FAQs and Other Helpful Tips


Are there professional ways to remove oil stains from concrete?

Yes, you can find several professional garage cleaning services online. These services provide commercial and residential garage cleaning expertise.

While it may cost a bit more, you get your money’s worth from the knowledge, skill, and tools they use to provide expert garage cleaning services.

Is there a perfect garage cleaning solution that works on all types of oil stains?

While there are general and multi-purpose cleaners that are commercially available to get oil out of concrete, there are chemically-produced engine oil additives that can also cause stubborn stains due to leaks.

There are industrial or heavy-duty cleaners available in the market, however, they should be used with extreme caution as they can be harmful or toxic when it comes in contact with the skin.

What other household products can be used to clean oil from garage floors?

There are quite many alternative solutions that you can find in common household products.

Among them are baking soda, oven cleaner, powder or liquid detergent, vinegar, etc.

However, it depends on the nature or cause of the oil stain, so make sure to find out which product works best on a specific type of oil stain.


There are several methods on how to clean up oil spills in garage, but remember that the key to making the process work is to understand the cause and nature of the oil stain to achieve optimal results.

It is critical to be aware of the risks and hazards of using powerful cleaners when removing oil stains from your garage, so always make sure to read manufacturer labels and user instructions to avoid getting hurt.

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