Motor and hydraulic oils can really cause a mess on concrete, brick and blacktop but the good news is that you can achieve excellent clean up results if you act quickly. Concrete is a dense surface but water and many other liquids can and do soak into the surface. The fresh oil stain created by the dump truck will be a breeze to remove. The older oil stains in your garage may be a far greater challenge. How to remove oil from concrete can be as said, a breeze or other times not so easy.
How to remove oil from concrete driveways will require a regular scrub brush, some liquid dish soap and water. All you need to do is squirt some liquid dish soap onto the stain and add some water. Be sure to wet down the surrounding concrete as well. This will prevent oil released during the cleaning process from causing a secondary stain. Scrub the stain vigorously and add enough water to make a rich lather of soap.
The soap will emulsify the oil and lift it out of the concrete. If you simply rinse the driveway the oil will pollute your yard or street. You may decide it is more environmentally responsible to blot up a majority of the dirty soap mixture with paper towels or a dry compound like cat litter and dispose of this in a certified landfill. There is a good chance your local waste collection service can accomplish this task for you.
Do not use a wire brush to scrub the concrete to remove the oil stain. It can erode and scratch the concrete finish resulting in a permanent “scar” on your concrete. A nylon bristle brush will work well you just have to scrub hard. How to remove oil from concrete is a delicate process that must be followed exactly.
In attacking the older stains on the garage floor you can use the same method. If the concrete finish on the garage floor is quite smooth then you will have a better chance of success. Smooth steel trowled concrete is highly resistant to oil stains. This type of finish, however is no to be used on exterior concrete. It’s very slippery when it gets wet. On the flip side, rough concrete finishes absorb oil rapidly.
If the old stains do not respond to the soap and water method then you can think about using a material like kerosene to help lift the stain and remove the oil from the concrete. These types of materials, though, are dangerous to work with, can ignite and cause serious harm. If you decide this is the way you want to go, perhaps you should call in a professional to remove the oil from the concrete.
Another method is muriatic acid. But remember, this is a chemical that even when mixed with water can and probably will dissolve some of the cement paste at the surface. Mix this with scrubbing and you may very well alter the appearance of your driveway once it all dries.
There are lots of different theories on removing oil from your concrete so just be careful that you do your research before beginning any process.