Installing a brand-new concrete garage floor isn’t cheap. Though prices range nationwide, homeowners can expect to pay between $5 and $8 per square foot. You could end up paying up to $6,000 for a new garage floor.

If that’s not in your budget, you may want to consider some DIY hacks for updating the look of your garage floors. Learning how to clean oil off a garage floor is a great way to have your concrete looking like new.

Oil stains can be unsightly, but whether the stain is new or old, removing them is relatively simple. Keep reading this guide to learn the best ways to clean and prevent oil stains on your garage floors.

Cleaning Wet Oil Stains

Cleaning recent oil spills is much easier than addressing old, dried-on stains. You first want to address any liquid oil that has yet to absorb into the concrete. Then, you want to treat the area where oil has seeped into the deeper layers of your flooring.

Here are the steps to do just that.

The Best Way to Clean Up Wet Oil

If the oil has yet to soak into the garage floor, quickly scatter some absorbent material over the spill. Avoid using towels or mops, as these products may do more harm than good. They can push the oil deeper into the flooring or spread the stain.

Some great materials to reach for instead are cat litter, cornstarch, baking soda, sand, or cornmeal. Most homeowners have at least one of these items lying around their home.

Pour a liberal amount of your chosen absorbent material over the spill. Allow the product to sit on the stain overnight. You can wrap the area in plastic or put a garage mat over it to prevent water from evaporating.

Allow the absorbent material to work its magic, waiting until it dries to sweep everything away. Ideally, allow the absorbent material to stay in place undisturbed for at least a few hours or overnight for heavier stains.

This may be enough to address the liquid oil spillage. But if some of the oil has started to stain the flooring already, move on to the next step to learn how to clean up set-in stains.

Eliminating New Oil Stains

The next step is to wet the stain thoroughly with water. If you do not start with this step, you may end up creating a larger stain as the oil emerges from the deeper layers of your floor.

Next, create a thick paste out of a little more water and baking soda. Another excellent homemade oil stain-cleaning product is powdered laundry detergent. Use a hard-bristled brush to scrub the stain with your homemade paste.

Allow the paste to set in for a few minutes before clearing it away with water. Bonus points if you have a pressure washer. These tools can lift even more of the stain your scrubbing may not have addressed.

This process is also a good one for general garage floor maintenance. The absorbent materials we listed above are relatively gentle on floors but tough on oil and grease stains.

Cleaning Old Oil Stains

Old oil stains can be much more stubborn and difficult to clean. Luckily, there are other methods to try for these harder-to-treat areas.

Concrete Degreaser

Degreasers are cleaners made for the specific purpose of removing oil, grease, and other water-insoluble chemicals from hard, porous surfaces. They work by penetrating deep into concrete, breaking down the water-insoluble particles, and drawing them up toward the floor’s surface for easier removal.

Removing garage oil stains with a concrete degreaser begins with wetting the stain with water. Ideally, use hot water. Hot water will activate the degreaser better than cold water.

Next, mix the degreasing solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Create the strongest solution possible. Pour the solution directly onto the dried-on oil stain, allowing it to sink in for several minutes.

Then, use a hard-bristled brush to scrub the stain. This will push the degreaser further into the concrete so it can target the deepest layers of oil. After scrubbing, wait at least five more minutes.

Once the five minutes are up, rinse the stain with cold water. Mild to moderate stains should be fully gone at this point. If the stain is more severe, wait until the area dries and repeat this process until you eliminate it.


Bioremediation is one of the most powerful methods for addressing old oil stains. This is the process of introducing oil-eating microorganisms and allowing them to naturally break down the oil stain. It is popularly used to clean up oil spills and other pollutants after environmental disasters.

There are tons of benefits to using oil bioremediation. It is eco-friendly, chemical-free, and easy to use. Plus, this is one of the most effective ways to clean up old, dried-on concrete oil stains.

Of course, all these advantages do not come without one significant drawback. Bioremediation is a time-consuming process. Most products require a week or more to work, and tougher stains may need multiple applications.

Products like Terminator-HSD and Eximo utilize bioremediation. All that is required to clean oil stains with these products is to apply the dry powder to the stain and let it set according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

After one to two weeks, all you have to do is sweep away the product; no scrubbing is required! If some of the stain is still leftover, you can re-apply. Most products only require two applications to completely eat away old oil stains.

Oil Dissolving Solvents

So, what happens if a degreaser is not effective and you don’t have time to wait for bioremediation? In that case, oil solvents are probably your best bet. These chemicals include solvents like acetone and hexane, which are uniquely formulated to dissolve oil and other water-insoluble liquids.

One thing to keep in mind before using a solvent is that these products emit fumes that may be harmful to your health. Always wear a mask, eye protection, and gloves when working with oil-dissolving solvents.

Additionally, the fumes of certain solvents can be flammable. Ensure you turn off any heavy work lights or open flames before you start using this product. Improving ventilation is also helpful.

Oil-dissolving solvents are simple to use. All you have to do is pour the solvent onto the oil stain, making sure to cover the entire area. You do not have to scrub the solvent; it will seep into the stain on its own.

An optional step is to add pure Portland cement on top as a poultice. Cover the stain with a plastic garage mat and allow the solvent to sit for at least a couple of days or up to a week for maximum efficacy. Once the time is up, sweep away the Portland cement powder.

Why Are Garage Floors So Easy to Stain?

Garage floors are so easy to stain because they typically consist of unfinished concrete. Concrete is a highly porous material. By porous, we mean that it has lots of tiny holes liquids like oil can seep into.

Polishing concrete can only do so much to prevent oil stains. What is more, these finishes can wear off in high-traffic areas, leaving the concrete defenseless in the face of oil and other liquid spills.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce the risk of oil stains and make garage spills easier to clean up. Learn more about preventing oil stains with polyurea floor coatings next.

Preventing Oil Stains With the Right Garage Floor Coating

Want to know the best solution to preventing oil stains in your garage? You can either get garage flooring material with a lower porosity or invest in a polyurea or polyaspartic coating to seal your pre-existing concrete floors.

These materials are oil and grease-resistant. They serve as a protective layer for your garage floors, preventing oil from seeping into the concrete. That’s because polyurea and polyaspartic coatings are non-porous.

What’s more, these coatings make it easier to clean up spills. They are smooth and frictionless, allowing microfiber towels or mops to easily absorb oil, grease, and other liquids.

Other benefits of polyurea and polyaspartic floor coatings include:


    • Impressive durability, perfect for high-traffic areas like garages

    • UV resistance to ensure they never yellow like epoxy flooring

    • Fast curing to reduce waiting times after application

    • Slip resistance to protect you and your family, especially on rainy or snowy days

    • Customizable patterns, colors, and finishes to suit your unique preferences

Getting your garage floors refinished may require you to eliminate any fresh or dried-on oil stains first. That is where this guide comes in handy.

This Is How to Clean Oil Off a Garage Floor

In this guide on how to clean oil off a garage floor, we have explained the methods for addressing new and old spills. Homemade cleaning products work well for more recent oil stains. Degreasing, bioremediation, and solvents are best for older oil stains.

Are you tired of cleaning up oil stains from your garage floors? If so, it is time to consider polyurea or polyaspartic concrete coatings. Find a Garage Force location to schedule an installation appointment today!