Over the years I’ve had hundreds of common requests to power wash various types of horizontal concrete surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, patios and pool-decks but every once in awhile I would also receive inquiries about the need to remove oil stains from some of these concrete surfaces. Most of the time the oil stains would be created as a result of people parking motor-vehicles with leaky engines, on their driveways. Other types of oily stains could come from transmission, brake or power steering fluid.
Now unlike trying to use a pressure washer to physically remove substances such as dirt, green algae, surface mold or mildew and hard-water depositing from concrete, oil stains will consist of at least 90 percent of the oily substance being below the actual surface of the concrete, where the water pressure coming from the power washing unit would have little to no effect in being able to remove the oily substance and if anything, may actually tend to drive a bit of the oil down further. The only oil that would be removed or dissipated would be the part that was on or above the concrete surface.
As I’ve found out through the years by doing a little bit of research, there actually are a few products on the market that usually do wonders when it comes to removing oil stains from concrete surfaces but before revealing these products I just want to go over what most people tend to believe or think of when it comes to trying to remove oil stains. For some strange reason so many homeowners think that degreasing products will save the day.. from ultra dish-washing liquid all the way up to industrial strength degreasers.. I’ve heard it all.
You can try scrubbing those types of cleaning products into your oil stains with a nylon or wire brush all day long with hot water (with or without using a pressure washer to do the final rinsing) and all you might get is a slight visual improvement along with a sore wrist and a really sweaty t-shirt. The only instance where those methods would have an honest shot of removal would be if the oil stain was just created only minutes before the removal attempt.. otherwise the oily substance must be extracted from the concrete.
So in the end, pressure cleaning has very little to do with properly removing oil from concrete. The most efficient and complete way to get rid of oil stains from concrete surfaces is to use products made for extracting. The extraction method provides a lot of Pro’s and no Con’s (that I can think of) and the best part is that the oil cleaning process can usually be performed by most homeowners for about $15 and a trip to their local home improvement store.
There’s a few companies that make similar oil extracting products but the one I typically recommend to my customers is called: Pour-N-Restore
A 32oz bottle goes for about $15 at Home Depot, Lowe’s or Ace Hardware. With a bottle that size you should be able to cover the removal of an oil stain that’s 3 to 6 square feet in size. In some cases you may have to repeat the process an extra time in order to reach complete stain removal.
The application process is simple. Be sure to remove as much of the oil from the top of the surface as possible without going to extremes.. it doesn’t need to be perfect. Once you’ve done that and that area is fairly dry, it’s time to apply a quarter inch thick coat of the product over the stained area. The product has the consistency of drywall joint compound and will dry overnight as long as it doesn’t get rained on.
By the very next day all you need to do is sweep the dry product into a dust pan and inspect to determine whether an additional application is needed in order to achieve the desired level of removal.
So as you can tell, the removal of oil stains is basically a piece of cake now due to having the option mentioned above.. most of the time if someone calls to tell me that they just have an oil stain or stains they need removed, I just tell them how easy & inexpensive Pour-N-Restore is to use and unless they feel a need to have me pressure wash the whole concrete surface, they usually end up doing the oil stain removal themselves in order to save money.
But for those of you that may be in the Port St Lucie Area and have an interest in having Bill’s Pressure Cleaning PLUS Barrel & Flat-Tile Roof Cleaning take care of your Pressure Washing needs, please visit my homepage for more info and general pricing by clicking on the link below. Thank You