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Old 10-07-2009, 05:02 PM   #159 (permalink)
dcrew1x
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Exterior How To Guides - Hardware & Supplies from Mitre 10 New Zealand

Quote:
Take a nice clean concrete driveway or pristine garage floor and what does it become? A magnet for oil! Our customers are frequently asking us for advice on removing oil stains from concrete so we decided to dedicate an article to this common problem.

Concrete is very much like a big sponge. When oil is spilt it tends to soak very quickly into the concrete and so the longer you leave oil on a concrete surface, the harder it will be to clean up.

If the oil stains are fresh, the thing to do is to soak up the surplus oil with either sand, a clean cloth, kitchen tissue (making sure that you do not spread the oil and further stain the concrete) or kitty litter. In fact, any absorbent material will do provided that it does not react with oil. As soon as all the surplus oil is soaked up, either clean the concrete with a solvent like mineral turpentine, or use a proprietary brand of degreaser. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer instructions when using any brand of degreaser. Paint stripper is also a useful aid in getting rid of fresh oil stains.

Another method that has proved useful in the past has been to use engine degreasers on the stains. Spray or coat the degreaser onto the surface, leave for a short time (depends on the product, you must read the instructions) and then hose off with as much pressure as your garden hose will give. (Or use a pressure sprayer.) It may be necessary to repeat this process a few times and sometimes if the stain is quite old, the best result that you can hope for is a paler stain than you started with!
Using Liquid Magnet on the oil stains or Spirits of Salts, 1 part acid to 5 parts water have also been used with equal success. (Please follow all directions on packaging closely)
The options don’t end there. Another suggestion to remove oil stains is to make a poultice of two parts lime to one part mineral turpentine. You will also need a plastic supermarket bag. Simply mix the turps and lime into a thick paste (use rubber gloves and take the usual safety precautions that you would when using any chemicals), spread over the stain and cover with the plastic bag. Leave it for about eight hours. Remove and repeat if required.

Sometimes careful spot bleaching of stains will have a dramatic stain removal effect but make sure that the bleach you use stays only on the oil stain otherwise it will lighten the colour of the surrounding concrete and make the oil stain stand out as badly as before.

I have also known some people who use an acid wash on their garage floor to etch the surface. This “burns” into the surface of the floor.

I recommend that you go into your local Mitre 10 store and discuss these options and your product selection with a member of staff in the paint or automotive department.

Remember to place drip trays under cars. The old saying stands true, “Prevention is better than cure.” If you wish to have a clean garage floor or driveway, then you need to prevent the stain happening in the first place.

Written by Chris Bennett.
I usually use sand/saw dust to soak up the oil and sweep it away; assuming this is a fresh oil spill.
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