How to Remove Oil and Grease from Your Garage Floor

A garage floor can be subject to a lot of abuse over the years and for most of us, it’s an area that we don’t fit into our regular cleaning schedule.

clean concrete garage floor

It doesn’t take long for oil and grease to build up from the family car, lawn mowers or other power equipment. You don’t have to live with the mess though.

Here are Our Proven Suggestions for Removing Oil and Grease from Your Garage Floor:

1. First Understand Why You are Cleaning Your Garage

There are countless different reasons for cleaning a garage floor. The first step in cleaning a garage floor is to figure out why you’re cleaning it.

If you use your garage for parking the family vehicles, storing the lawn mower and the snow blower – you’re going to have oil and grease build up over time.

Also, if you’re cleaning your garage floor after years of build up your approach will be a lot different than someone that makes cleaning their garage floor a weekly chore.

The best approach is to start with an honest assessment of why you’re cleaning the floor and then you can start to work out the best way to move forward.

Fully understanding the reasons you’ve decided that now is the right time to clean the garage floor will help you better prepare for the task at hand.

Depending on how you plan on using your garage in the future the tools you need for cleaning may be different.

Here’s a list of some common reasons people choose to clean their garage floor:

  • General aesthetics;
  • Preparation for painting;
  • Spring cleaning projects;
  • Family safety;
  • Reduce long term wear and tear.

2. Choose the Right Tools for Removing Old Oil Stains and New Ones

If your main goal is to keep your garage clear of debris and free from slippery spots that can pose a safety risk, you may not be too worried about stubborn stains that are a bit of an eyesore.

When you are concerned about the overall look of your garage floor, you’re probably going to need some heavy-duty cleaners and degreasing products to make that floor look sparkling and new.

Before you get started on your cleaning journey it’s important to make sure you have the right tools for the job. After you’ve decided on your own definition of clean, it’s time to make a list of the tools you’ll need for success.

Here are some helpful tools you may want to consider for your upcoming cleaning tasks:

  • All-purpose floor cleaners and degreasing products;
  • Scraping tools, putty knife, etc.;
  • Bucket and mop;
  • A broom and dustpan;
  • Rust removing products (lemons work as well);
  • Handheld bristle brush.

3. Always Put Safety First When Cleaning Your Garage

Before starting any task that involves using cleaning chemicals it’s important to make sure the area that you’re going to clean is well ventilated – this is definitely the case when you’re cleaning out a garage.

Your garage is an enclosed space when the doors and windows are closed. It’s also rare for a garage to have a proper ventilation system, so make sure to open up those doors and windows before you introduce any strong chemicals to remove oil from your garage floor.

Without proper ventilation, you may experience respiratory issues or risk seriously damaging your health.

These are some other safety products and precautions you should consider when cleaning oil off a garage floor:

  • Wear long sleeves and pants when working with chemicals;
  • Leakproof gloves;
  • Safety goggles;
  • Wear a mask when using cleaning chemicals or painting.

4. How to Prepare for Cleaning Oil off Your Concrete Garage Floor

Regardless of why you’re cleaning your garage floor, it’s always a good idea to prepare your area first. Clear items off the floor that may get in the way and if necessary, temporarily clear out the whole garage.

Once your garage is emptied out it will make it easier to get a good picture of what your task will entail. Then you can decide if your original plan is going to work or if you need to add some more tools to your toolbox.

Once the garage is empty, it’s always best to start by sweeping up the entire floor first to clear it of any debris before you can start to tackle the oil stains and grease.

It’s also a good idea to get the hose out and give it a good spray down as well so that what you’re left with are those old stubborn oil and grease stains.

At this point, you’re finally ready to start removing those old oil and grease stains marking up your garage floor.

5. Use Different Approaches for Spot Cleaning vs. Cleaning the Whole Floor

The tools and cleaning methods you may need to use for cleaning your garage floor will be different if you’re just spot cleaning than they would be for cleaning your whole garage floor.

For spot cleaning, you should be able to use a spray-on degreasing product and a handheld hard bristle brush to scrub at those stubborn stains.

It’s usually best to spray on your cleaner first and let it soak in for 20 minutes before you scrub at the spot. You may need to go over the same spot 2 or 3 times depending on the size of the spot and how long it’s been soaking into your concrete.

For larger areas or for cleaning your whole floor, you’ll want to have a broom with hard bristles and also a bucket and mop to spread your cleaning solution around a larger area more evenly before you begin to scrub.

Again you may need to go over some areas several times to remove all oil and grease. For old paint stains, you’ll likely also need to use a plastic scraper or putty knife to dig it out of your floor.

Schedule Regular Cleanings

Now that you have all of the oil and grease removed from your garage floor it’s a good idea to make cleaning it one of your weekly or at least monthly chores to prevent further build-up.

It’s a lot easier to prevent a greasy mess in the first place than it is to deal with it months or years after the original spill.