What are some ways and cleansers you all have used to clean a smooth concrete floor to at least minimize oil stains? I realize you’re never going to get all of them out completely.
Thanks kindly in advance.
Tom in Taylor Mill, KY 41015, just south of the Mason-Dixon line
Not really feasible for large areas, but I spray greasy, oily spots with brake cleaner, then quickly wipe them up with paper towels and throw the paper towels away.l
I do a combination of many things including spot cleaning like Mark does using Brakleen and paper towels. I also use drip pans and cat litter. Every February I host the local T club so the floor gets scrubbed using a push broom and laundry detergent followed by mopping with a mixture of Pine Sol and hot water right before that event.
I always have good luck with good old floor dry or oil dry that looks a lot like cat litter and just cover the spot for a few days with it then work it in with my foot in circles before I sweep it up. If you walk on it or drive on it that helps too. The bad spots may take more time and a second try but the key is to let it do the job over time and let it soak up as much oil as possible then sweep it up.
In the areas of the shop where I park the Model T’s, I use a layer of cut open large corrugated boxes laid on the concrete under the Model Ts. On top of the corrugated, I put the drip pan under the engine area. I’ve found the corrugated catches the “here and there” drops of oil, front to rear, caused by driving the cars and my cleanup is minimal. Carpet remnants can be a help too.
After some the of oil removal efforts y’all have suggested above, I like a Dawn dishwater detergent scrub with a push broom and wash it into the one bay of the shop that I had a wash-bay and floor drain poured in the original slab.
When I was a kid, my best friend worked at a gas/service station and I would often
drop in at closing time to help him get the closing tasks banged out. One such task
was degreasing the service bay floors, and the method they used, and I have used
ever since, is to wet the floor with a hose and spread a liberal amount of good laundry
detergent around, allow to get wet, and then “scrub” the floor with a medium stiffness
floor broom until the “feel” of the floor underfoot was clean. Once satisfied with that
step, the hose was brought in to rinse the floor and maybe do a few touch up spots (?).
A floor squeegee completed the job.
But to be honest, the floor was a DARK, nearly black color, from years and years of
being used as a professional service area. In my own shop, I put a glass finish on the
slab, and after a 60 day curing, dumped many gallons of saved oil on the floor and let
it soak in. I repeated the process several times, and 12 years on, purposely dump oil
in the floor in selected areas (rotating) to keep the floor impervious to water. When I
poured the slab, I laid a heavy plastic vapor barrier down to keep ground water from
wicking in from below.
Many areas of the country have humidity issues for car owners, parking cars on concrete
garage floors. Although I live in the desert, I have no desire to expose my cars to any more
rust potential than I have to, and am quite pleased with my vapor barrier and low-tech top
side floor “sealer”. On top of this, we get a lot of snow at this elevation, and the City street
department puts magnesium chloride on the streets as de-icer. This stuff doesn’t rust cars
like salt, but plays hell on nice concrete surfaces, where it soaks in and then causes “pocking”
from below the surface. The oil keeps ANY water or MC from getting into the concrete …
it just beads up on top, eliminating that threat. Nicely finished concrete is an expensive
proposition ! And the shop has a great smell of “a shop” from the oil (many people comment
on the nostalgic “scent of old”). Easy, practical, and good smell. What’s not to like ?
Looks good! Did you use new or used oil ? The oil out of my old cars is black and the oil drip leave darker spots then your floor.
Well, first of all, I allow all sorts of oils and such to get on the floor. It IS a working shop !
But to answer the question, it is almost all used and dirty oil. I will often purposely dump it
on the floor, spread it out, let it soak in for a while, and then sweep some of the sawdust I
am always making over it to soak up the balance, which gets tossed in the shop stove when
I have a nice hot fire going.
What may differ for color is that my floor got a super glassy surface finish when new. This
makes it less pourous than a rougher, coarser surface, which will soak up a lot more oil in early
applications and may take on a darker color because of the blackness of the oil. I like not having
to be concerned about drips and the other practical side of the concrete being impervious to
water and de-icers.