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How to remove oil spots from concrete and stone

May 6th, 2024 | Stone & Tile

Oil spots on concrete and natural stone are a common nuisance, often marring the appearance of surfaces and posing safety hazards. From heavy vehicular traffic areas to industrial settings to dining areas, learning the art of oil spot removal is crucial for maintaining clean and safe environments. With the right techniques and products, oil spots on concrete can be tackled with ease and efficiency.

Oil leak or drop from engine of car on concrete floor , check and maintenance auto service

Oil Spot Removal: Before You Begin

On the internet, you’ll find countless DIY methods for tackling red wine stains on carpets, such as vinegar, baking soda, and salt. While these home remedies may offer some success, they also carry a high risk of damaging the carpet in the process.

Having both these chemical components employed in a water based detergent like T&G Cleaner LF which is further enhanced with wetting agents and surfactant emulsifiers means the vast majority of oil stains can be eradicated. It’s worthwhile to note that treating oil stains with a solvent based cleaner most often will dissolve the oil and drag it further into the substrate.

However, it’s important to consider the substrate’s composition when choosing the appropriate cleaning method. When dealing with natural stone, using an acid or too high pressure can damage the surface. For more insights on achieving exceptional cleaning results, check out our webinar recording ‘The Cleaning Pie.’ It explores the secret formula for success, including the ‘Job Description’ concept, which outlines how a comprehensive understanding of the cleaning factors increases productivity and success on the job.

Equipment

  • Detergent/Degreaser – When dealing with oil removal or cleaning, the choice of chemistry is important. While solvents dissolve oils, detergents emulsify them and hold them away from the substrate for easy removal. The most effective approach is using a combination of these chemistries, like T&G Cleaner LF. Specifically formulated to penetrate deep into dense substrates, such as concrete and natural stone, and dissolve, emulsify and suspend oily residues for effective removal.
  • Brush/Pad – Agitation enhances the T&G Cleaner LF cleaning action especially on stubborn, older, compacted or oily build-ups.
  • High Pressure Washer – High pressure washers are excellent rinsing tools to flush away the emulsified oil and grime. Be careful on natural stone as the high pressure washer can damage the surface if sprayed too close to the surface.
  • PPE – All the necessary PPE needs to be used when using chemicals.

The Process

2. Agitate

3. Dwell for 30 minutes

4. Rinse

5. Repeat

After

  1. Apply T&G Cleaner LF – Soak the concrete with an undiluted solution of T&G Cleaner LF (for lighter stains use a 1:1 solution) , ensuring all of the affected area is covered.
  2. Agitation – Agitate the affected area with the scrubbing brush, glomesh pad or System 7 Pad. This will enhance and accelerate the penetration and emulsification of the oil.
  3. Dwell – Allow the T&G Cleaner LF solution to dwell for at least 30 minutes. Dwell time is very important to ensure success – it can be left up to 4 hours. It will allow the solution to fully reach and emulsify all of the oil. The surface must not dry out during this dwell time, if necessary add more T&G Cleaner LF solution to the surface to keep it wet.
  4. Rinse – Rinse the concrete well with a high pressure washer.
  5. Repeat– If staining still remains the process can be repeated once the surface is drier and extended dwell time can be given, up to 4 hours or overnight.

Tips

  1. When to use a pad and when to use a brush
    Match the agitation tool to the surface texture: the rougher the surface, the more effective a brush will be. For smoother surfaces, use a pad, as it makes better surface contact and provides more thorough cleaning. 
  2. Removing severe oil spots
    For severe oil spills, use the T&G Cleaner LF undiluted in combination with Actisorb poultice, like, to increase dwell time and absorb the oil out of the concrete.

Where To Buy

Tile & Grout Cleaner LF is a solvent enriched alkaline detergent designed to tackle oily grease & grime. Whilst this constitutes it’s core technology, it is turbocharged with super wetting agents, dynamic emulsifiers and soil dispersing action. This optimised formulation ensures dependable oil stain treatment results across a wide rage of hard substrates and oil types. And of course these features all combine to make a great hard floor cleaning detergent for use in autoscrubbers and pressure washers.

Additional Resources

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