I have a lot of stains on my concrete garage floor from oil leaks from my car and some grease. I've tried multiple times to get rid of them and now I can barely stand them. I've tried scrubbing them with a steel wire brush, but that does next to nothing and is just a waste of time and energy. Is there any quick trick to get these stains out of my garage floor? I don't want to spend more than 10-15 dollars on this though.

  • Might be too expensive, but many people regularly paint their garage floor.
    – J. Musser
    Jan 7, 2015 at 23:47
  • I've had luck using paper towels and 'brake clean' from the auto parts store. You can usually get a can for ~3 USD. Lighter fluid + paper towels also works. Jul 14, 2016 at 19:52
  • Oil in the concrete would stop the paint from adhering - still have to remove the oil, and then seal the concrete before painting.
    – Criggie
    Jun 4, 2020 at 6:22

7 Answers 7


You can use cat litter as this works really well. Cat litter works good for cleaning oil spills, but also for cleaning many spots, especially greasy ones. Pour a small amount onto the spot and rub into the spot, pulverizing with your shoe. Sweep up when finished and maybe do it a second time.

If it's a greasy spot, pour fresh oil onto the spot first to dissolve and break it up, then use cat litter to take up the oil.

If a chemical is used, cat litter will help pick up what's left.


While not a quick fix, using muriatic acid to wash the concrete floor will get a lot of the surface stains. You may have to use it multiple times to get a really deep stain out. Then there are issues around handling an acid (safety, disposal, etc.). Also, if the surface of the concrete has been sealed, you will have to remove the seal before any cleaning agent will work.

Another option would be to paint the concrete. This will probably be outside the price range of $10 to $15.

Looking at some other solutions to this issue (I have not tried these):

Oven Cleaner: Get those unsightly grease, oil, and transmission fluid stains off your concrete driveway or garage floor. Spray them with oven cleaner. Let it settle for 5-10 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse it off with your garden hose at its highest pressure. Severe stains may require a second application.

Soda: Here’s how to remove oil stains from concrete drive-ways and garage floors: Gather up a small bag of cat litter, a few cans of cola, a stiff bristle broom, bucket, laundry detergent, bleach, eye protection, and rubber gloves. Cover the stain with a thin layer of cat litter and brush it in. Sweep up the litter and pour cola to cover the area. Work the cola in with a bristle broom, and leave the cola for about twenty minutes. Mix 1/4 cup laundry detergent with 1/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water and use it to mop up the mess.

WD-40: Did a leaky oil pan leave a big ugly spot in the middle of your concrete driveway? To get rid of an unsightly oil spot, just spray it with a generous amount of WD-40 and then hose it down with water.

Found at: http://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-concrete-stains/

  • Hello and 1+ for the awesome suggestions. My one question is though doesn't WD-40 leave oil leaks itself. I have used WD-40 before and it is kind of oily. Either way thank you for your contribution and I hope to see you around Life Hacks Stack Exchange.
    – Pobrecita
    Jan 11, 2015 at 0:19
  • There was a suggestion on another site to use talcum powder or pulverized cat litter to soak up amy oily or greasy residue caused by the cleaning methods. Personally, I have used both muriatic acid and paint, so I can't vouch for the wd40. Jan 11, 2015 at 0:25
  • Then you should say that about the WD-40. Because the post is misleading if not. I think other than that your post is pretty solid :) Congratulations!
    – Pobrecita
    Jan 11, 2015 at 0:29
  • I thought that the attribution to the Reader's Digest page would indicate that I hadn't tried it. I'll edit the post to be more specific. Jan 11, 2015 at 0:32

You might try laundry detergent before some of the more aggressive methods. Some detergents are made for oily messes and if scrubbed in this could make the oil disassociate with the garage floor.

Mixing the Detergent with Baking Soda or salt can make a scouring solution that works on tough stains and even odours.

  • Hello Imager and Welcome to Life Hacks Stack Exchange! Thank You for your response, but you should consult the Help Center on how to write a proper post. I hope to see you around and if the help center doesn't explain going to Meta or Chat should help you out.
    – Pobrecita
    Jan 10, 2015 at 23:34
  • I edited this post a little to help you out. If you do not like the edits, you can always roll-back.
    – Pobrecita
    Jan 11, 2015 at 1:41

I used to work for a company that specialized in coating concrete surfaces, like parking garages, tennis courts, etc. Muriatic acid ( be very careful with it!) will etch the concrete so that paint will adhere, but the oil will actually keep the muriatic acid from reacting with the cement. You have to remove the oil first.


This is lifehacks - one free solution is to open out a corrugated cardboard box and spread that out under your vehicle.

Firstly it hides the stained concrete, and it also catches the future drips of oil.

When it gets a bit too wet, simply fold and dispose in the regular trash (you can't recycle this because its contaminated with oil) and lay out a new cardboard box.

Downsides, no recycling, and this leaves a box on the floor which can be a trip hazard.

I found this Mako oil catch mat to be effective under my leaky english car.
Yes that is a duplicate redundancy.

The text calls it "Samson Oil Trap Garage Mat" and it's doing a fair job for me. I did glue it down with spray adhesive. The layer is quite thin at about 2~3 mm, but I would avoid walking on it due to the damp oils trapped within. And its about your estimated cost too.


Expanding on the first answer; kitty liter is sold in larger bags at auto parts stores as "oil dry" or some such name. And to lift the oil out of the concrete, pour on a little gasoline , let it soak a few minutes and the brush with a broom . Then put on kitty liter and walk it into the floor. Then sweep up the liter. I put litter in a shallow steel pan and burn it in a safe location. I have recycled litter a few time this way. Apologies for the political incorrectness of this successful life-hack.


The way my dad taught me to do this would be to saturate the area with kerosene (cheap and readily available), scrub with a stiff nylon brush, then spray off using a garden hose with a nozzle to increase water pressure. Then you repeat because it never all comes off the first time.

We did occasionally use muriatic acid for this as a last resort on extreme stains, but it requires a great deal of care. Because it is an acid, you need to be careful about splashing yourself and breathing it, the hands-and-knees work is limited, but also it will not just clean concrete, it can dissolve it too if left on too long. A safer acid to try would be phosphoric acid, less strong but a whole lot safer.

Another cheap and useful cleaner would be tri-sodium phosphate. Tri-sodium phosphate is a crystalline cleanser similar to soap. It will break down oils so it is useful for both dissolving the grease stain and also for dissolving other oil-based chemicals you have applied (like the kerosene).

  • In addition to cat litter [dmcdivitt](best first treatment), which can be crushed into the stain to help it, then treating it with tri-sodium phosphate [Mike], use a strong detergent such as laundry detergent or Lestoil. Rinse repeatedly to bring up and wash out the oil. Avoid flammable kerosene. BTW, pure tri-sodium phosphate is hard to get in the US because of phosphate pollution, but some detergents in hardware stores , called "TSP", contain a bit. Jan 8, 2015 at 4:03
  • 1
    I would warn of a big Veto on the use of kerosene. Flammable safety hazard, and washing it away is pollution, may be illegal. I know I guy who spent nine months in jail for a pollution offense that involved putting a hazardous material into the watershed.
    – Jon
    Jan 8, 2015 at 7:26

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