How to remove oil stains from your parking lot

How to Remove Oil Stains from Your Parking Lot

Everyone loves to support their local businesses.  Your business makes a statement about you and your community.  If you want to represent Greater Cincinnati small businesses well, you'll need to consider how your business looks before a potential customer walks in the door.  Your entry way, parking lot, lighting, and accessibility are all factors in how people perceive your business, and often, your community.

Oil stains can be a present a lot of problems for parking lots.  Left untreated, they can cause cracking and damage and overall make your business look unappealing or uncared for.  If you are looking to clean stains yourself, here are a few recommendations:

1. Use the right products

One of the most essential items when it comes to removing oil stains on your parking lot is the correct chemicals. Depending on the severity of the stain and whether it is fresh or older, there are a variety of solutions to choose from. For fresher oil spots, try applying cat litter to the stain and allowing the oil to soak into the litter.  This can also be done with baking powder or talcum powder as well. Instead of sweeping the powder, once the oil is absorbed use boiling water to clean the surface. Chemical degreasers are better suited to older or larger stains, but we recommend leaving those to the professionals.  If you do decide to use stronger chemicals, exercise caution.  These chemicals can be harmful to pets and plants and you should avoid coming into contact with them as much as possible.

parking lot power washing
parking lot oil stain solution

2. Wash the area

Once you have absorbed as much stain as possible, take care when removing the powder or litter.  It won't help to create a new stain someplace else.  If you used cat litter to absorb the stain, sweep it up with a broom and dust pan.  Place it in a bag and directly into a garbage can.  If you used a powder, instead of sweeping, rinse the area thoroughly with boiling water.  If you are using chemicals such as degreasers, a pressure washer (or power washer) is the safest way to remove the stain and any chemical residue.  Power washers can be purchased at local hardware stores, but again exercise caution.  It's tempting to increase the pressure to treat resistant stains, but too much pressure can damage property and even cause injury.

3. Treat stubborn stains

If the stain still isn't gone, do not scrub it.  If you've ever tried to clean oil from clothing you know that oil will spread easily, making the stain even bigger.  If you've tried everything else, call a professional power washing company for their assessment. Make sure the company is insured and they have been around for awhile.  Many people with good intentions will offer to pressure wash for you, but only a pro will have the equipment and fungicidal agents and chemicals needed to treat toughest stains.  Someone who specializes in pressure washing can also tell you if the stain won't get any better.  You could waste a lot more time and money on a stain that a professional knows can not be removed.

4. Protect the surface

This last step is just as important as the first!  Once the stain has been removed, the surface has been washed, and the area is as clean as can be, take a little more time to prevent stains from happening again. Choose a product designed specifically for the surface you are working with.  Apply the sealant the the area according to the instructions, which vary from one product to the next.  This will help prevent new stains as well as keep bacteria and fungus that can make the surface slippery.  

concrete sealant

In many cases you can remove oil stains on your concrete slab, driveway, parking lot or sidewalks.  But your time is valuable and it could probably be spent better on something other than stain removal.  Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy solutions, but one: call Kings of Clean.  We have the benefit of professional power washing equipment and chemicals as well as experienced operators.  Let us help take care of your property and so that you can take care of your community.