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Cleaning Concrete

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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Is your garage floor or driveway an area of grease stains and oil spots? Some tips to avoid and remove those unsightly spots and stains follow.

First of all, it is advisable to place a shallow pan under the car to catch dripping oil. Spreading sand or sawdust on the area will help absorb dripping oil. Periodically saturated sand and sawdust should be scraped away and fresh, clean material put in its place. This will prevent tracking oil to other areas of cement or into the house.

If oil or grease is spilled on porch or patio cement, immediately apply an absorbent powder such as fuller's earth, cornmeal or sawdust to absorb as much oil as possible. Leave it on the stain for a few hours and sweep up.

To remove the grease stain:

**Using a stiff long handled brush, scrub stain with concentrated detergent suds. Rinse well with hose. Dry and repeat, if necessary.

**Sprinkle "dishwasher" detergent (dry) on wet concrete. Let it stand a few minutes; pour boiling water on area. Scrub and rinse. Use rubber gloves on hands.

**Commercial products are available at paint and/or hardware stores.

**On wet oily surfaces of concrete, sprinkle with trisodium phosphate. Allow to stand 15 to 30 minutes, then scrub with stiff brush and hot water. Rinse with clean water. Do not use on asphalt. OR: Dissolve a cup of trisodium of phosphate in 1 gallon of hot water. Pour over a stained cement surface generously and allow to soak 15 to 20 minutes. Scrub with stiff brush or broom. Rinse off with hose. Repeat, if necessary. Do not use on asphalt.

**Scrub the concrete with a grease solvent to remove as much of the grease stain as possible. Have good ventilation and avoid spark or flame as solvents are flammable.

**Mix l part sodium citrate, 6 parts water, 6 parts glycerine and add enough whiting or fuller's earth to make a thick paste mixture. Spread mixture on oil or grease stain and leave on stained area for one week. Continue to add new paste when it dries. Brush dry paste away and flush with water. Repeat, if necessary.

**Kitty litter and dry cement will also help absorb fresh grease or oil spots. Apply to stained area until oil or grease is absorbed and sweeps up.

**Removal of these types of stains is always easiest if treated immediately.


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(This resource was added March 2005 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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