How Should I Remove Cooking Oil From Concrete?

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: December 7, 2020

You accidentally drop a bag of groceries in the driveway. Bottles break, and olive oil quickly soaks into the pavement. Cooking in the backyard is always fun, but it turns into a chore when you spill a gallon of peanut oil on the patio.

These mishaps leave sticky messes that attract dirt and create stains. While home cooking grease spills don’t happen very often, they’re easier to handle when you know how to remove cooking oil from concrete.

How to Remove Cooking Grease From Concrete

We’ve already covered how to remove mold from concrete floors. This guide covers everything you need to know about how to clean oil from concrete driveways, sidewalks and patios. It also lays out strategies for handling small accidents, stubborn stains and big grease spills.

This action plan works with most grease spills on concrete surfaces, but time isn’t on your side. Concrete quickly absorbs spilled cooking oil, so take care of cleanup as soon as you can with these five steps.

1. Pre-Clean the Area

Sweep away dirt and debris on and around the affected area, and rinse with a light hose spray. Pre-cleaning helps absorbent material work more efficiently.

Power Tip: Don’t use a pressure washer for preliminary cleanup. It can push oil stains deeper into the concrete.

2. Soak Up the Spill

Mound sawdust over the cooking oil spill, tamp it down, and wait half an hour. You can also use a commercial spill absorber or sweeping compound.

3. Sweep and Hose

Sweep up the sawdust, and safely dispose of it. If you’re handling a commercial product, be sure to wear protective gloves. Rinse the area with a hose.

4. Scrub the Spill

Cover the cooking grease spill with powdered laundry detergent, wet the area, and scrub with a stiff bristle brush. Let it dry completely so that the detergent can emulsify and draw out the oil.

Power Tip: Avoid using wire brushes on concrete. They can leave behind tiny metal particles that rust.

5. Sweep, Rinse and Double-Check

Sweep up the dried detergent, hose down the affected area, and let it dry for 24 hours. Double-check for any oil that might resurface. You may have to repeat the cleaning process several times.

How to Handle Small Spills

It’s easy to ignore a little spilled cooking oil around the backyard grill, but don’t let it sit and turn into a stain. Act fast, and keep spilled cooking grease on the concrete off your list of deep-housekeeping projects.

• Cover the fresh spill with baking soda, talcum powder or dry dish detergent.
• Slowly pour liquid laundry detergent over the affected area, and let the mixture sit for half an hour.
• Pour hot water over the cooking oil spill and concrete.
• Scrub hard with a stiff brush for several minutes.
• Rinse with more hot water, and repeat if necessary.

How to Remove Old Oil Stains

The recipe for removing old oil stains from concrete is a mixture of absorbent materials and a solvent. Once you’ve applied this paste, the solvent starts breaking up the old stain, and the absorbent draws it out of the concrete.

• Put on protective gloves, and make a paste with kitty litter and lacquer thinner.
• Layer at least a quarter of an inch of the mixture over the stain.
• Cover with plastic, tape the edges, and press.
• Wait 24 hours, sweep up the dried paste, and spray wash with the hose.

Power Tip: Don’t use this mixture on seal-coated or painted concrete.

How to Tackle Large Cooking Oil Spills

It’s very hard to clean large areas of concrete soaked with cooking oil. Still, you want to preserve the property value and curb appeal of your home. Different commercial products designed for this type of cleaning include powerful degreasers and microbial cleaners.

Bringing in certified technicians is often more cost-effective than taking on the job as a DIY project, and it’s safer too. Otherwise, you have to rent the equipment, buy industrial-strength products and round up protective gear. In certain situations, you may also need to report the oil spill to the EPA.

Many homeowners hire a restoration company that specializes in removing cooking grease from concrete parking lots and sidewalks. You want a team experienced with cleaning cooking oil from concrete in commercial settings.

You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself

Whether it’s your driveway at the house or a business parking lot, cleaning up a cooking oil spill can be a challenge. When you don’t want to do it yourself, give us a call here at ServiceMaster by Zaba. We’re the proven leader among area oil spill cleanup companies, and we’re always happy to help.