Removing Oil Stains from Concrete

polishing after oil stain removal (2)

Old Jed Clampett (“The Beverly Hillbillies” TV sitcom airing from 1962-1971), knew he had something when he discovered oil on his property.

If you have a car and a concrete drive, you may have discovered oil too – as an ugly oil stain on the concrete.                                   

Since concrete is a porous material, it absorbs materials – including oil. Depending on how big the oil stain is and how long it has been on the concrete will determine how hard it is to remove. The longer you wait, the harder it is.

                           Some cleaning methods work better than others

There are several methods that can be used to remove oil stains. Some cleaning methods work better than others:  

  • Strong detergents and scrub brushes
  • Concrete cleaners and degreasers
  • Absorptive materials and solvent to break down and absorb the oil
  • Microorganisms that “eat” the oil

It can take some trial and error to find the best concrete cleaning method. We use a couple of the above methods but then take concrete cleaning a step further.

The before and after photos shown here are how we handled a very large and very old oil stain on this industrial facility concrete floor.

Our first step was to remove all the debris on the floor followed by cleaning with a degreaser and a thorough rinsing. The wastewater from this cleaning and rinsing was collected and removed.

We then ground the floor with a planetary floor grinder to remove a thin layer of concrete from the concrete surface. This grinding removed stains that were deeper in the concrete surface and that the degreaser cleaning did not remove.

Additional grinding, the use of a densifier and concrete polishing  created a brilliant concrete floor from a floor that once had unsightly oil stains

oil stains on concrete
Concrete floor after removal of oil stains

Over time, this concrete floor was almost completely covered with oil stains

The same floor (different view) after a concrete cleaning and polishing to 1500 grit

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