Making Garage Floor Stains Disappear

Empty garage
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Absorbent material baking soda, cat litter, newspaper, sawdust, etc
Heavy duty sponge
Thick latex gloves
Cleaning bucket
Shop broom

A garage floor stain is an unsightly addition to an otherwise clean and tidy garage, even one used for heavy work. There is no reason you cannot do automotive or other work and keep the garage floor clean.

Unfortunately, you may already have a stain to deal with, in which case you will need to undertake a good garage floor cleaning. You have some options when doing this job, so all of the possible tools and materials will be listed, but you probably won’t need all of them.

Cleaning Options

Dishwashing soap, Trisodium phosphate (TSP), bleach, hydrogen peroxide, solvent cleaner, pressure washer, or steam cleaner

Step 1 - Soak Up the Bulk of the Stain

Depending on the type of stain, your first step should be to soak up whatever you can by using one of the absorbent materials. Apply the baking soda, sawdust, cat litter, etc, and let it sit for at least a half-hour.

After it has absorbed as much as it can, sweep up the mess with the broom and dustpan and dispose of it properly.

Step 2 - Start with a Non-Toxic Cleaning Agent

You have several options to clean the stain, some toxic, others not. If you own a pressure washer or steam cleaner, you might try that first, as the method for cleaning the stain will help you avoid all types of cleaners.

After that, start with a non-toxic option such as dishwashing soap or trisodium phosphate for a more ornery stain. If that doesn’t work, you may have to apply something harsher.

Step 3 - Try a Stronger Cleaner

cleaning supplies

After trying a non-toxic cleaning solution, your next step is to try something a little more stringent. Bleach and ammonia might do the trick. Make sure you wear gloves when you do this job, especially when using chemicals.

If the stain is on concrete, there are special types of cleaners you can use. Two options are Gunk and Swab, designed to dissolve grease and oil from concrete. Check with a hardware store for these and other cleaners and follow their directions.

Step 4 - Let the Cleaner Sit for a Bit

Don’t immediately remove the cleaner from the stain; rather, let it sit for an hour or more. This will help the cleaning agent get into the stain and dissolve or pull it out. It might also help to periodically scrub the stain before you remove the cleaner.

Step 5 - Wash the Area and Dust

garage and basement space

As soon as you have removed the cleaning agent, wash the area thoroughly with water and heavy sponge. As an added measure, sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the cleaned area to neutralize any remaining chemical residue.

A lot is going to depend upon what type of stain is on your garage floor. Knowing that, you will have a better idea of what cleaner to use. In the future, especially if you are going to be doing heavy, messy work in the garage, it’s a good idea to protect the floor with a pad, old carpeting or even cardboard to prevent messes and make any clean-ups easier to deal with.