My name is Tom Lopatosky. I’m the President of LOPCO Contracting (www.LopcoContracting.com) and I’m honored to have the opportunity to talk to you about home improvement on a monthly basis. I love answering your questions! Please send them to tom@LopcoContracting.com or call 401-270-2664. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this column!
How to Get Up Oil Stains From Your Basement Floor
In New England, one of the things that is different about our homes, in comparison to a lot of the other parts of the country, is that we have basements.
With the absence of a basement, many other regions have their homes built on concrete slabs.
The pros and cons of having a home with a traditional basement vs. one built on a slab, certainly can be listed and used to debate which overall is the “better” to have.
One of the items which comes with territory when one has a basement, particularly one that currently has or at some point has had an oil tank in the basement for its heating system, is the possibility that oil spillage – even in small amounts – can be a bit of a challenge to clean up.
If you have a basement floor with some type of coating on it, cleaning up any spilled oil will be MUCH easier than if the oil has penetrated a bare concrete floor, and has had a chance to soak into its porous surface.
When the spill occurs on a basement floor that has a protective coating on it, simply dab any excess oil, as best you can with some clean rags, and then clean the area with a mixture of hot water and Dawn (my personal favorite because of its degreasing properties).
This method may have to be repeated a few times until the oil has been satisfactorily cleaned, but it will get you there!
Instances where the concrete floor is bare, and the oil has had a chance to REALLY soak in – perhaps over a period of ‘years’ – are a bit more involved.
If the oil stain is “newer,” my first plan of attack would be to soak up any excess oil with clean rags, then pour some traditional clay kitty litter on the stain, and let it sit overnight.
The next step would be to sweep up the kitty litter the next day and then put some baking soda on the area where the oil had stained.
If you have older oil stains, the process would begin with the baking soda step.
Once the baking soda is put on the area, let this too sit for an overnight period of time. The next day, clean up the baking soda and fire up the concoction of hot water and Dawn. Now, with a stiff scrub brush, begin to work the stained area with the solution and the scrub brush.
The cleaning portion with the hot water, Dawn, and scrub brush may have to be repeated, maybe even a number of times, in order to truly get the area clean to the point where you are satisfied with the results.
As you work through the whole process, please remember to properly dispose of the cleaning materials that are used (the suggested way to do this may vary from community to community).
When all is said and done and dried out, you should have a clean surface that is free from the oil staining.
Once it is clean, it may be worth looking into some type of appropriate concrete coating, that once applied, may make the cleaning procedure much simpler (as discussed earlier) if oil were to spill on the floor in the future.
About Tom Lopatosky
Tom Lopatosky has run his own RI-based painting and repair business since 1995; LOPCO Contracting – the “Personable, Particular Professionals” – specializes in exterior & interior painting and carpentry. Recently LOPCO Contracting was named ‘RI’s Finest Painting Contracting Company’ by ShopInRI Magazine. In 2013, Tom was named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) and a “40 Under 40” award winner by Providence Business News. He is a member of both PCA (Painting Contractors Association) and RIBA (Rhode Island Builders Association). Tom has often had weekly ‘Home Improvement Tips’ that have aired on the radio on 630 WPRO AM and on television on WPRI 12. You can catch Tom LIVE on the radio EVERY Saturday, 2pm-3pm, on 630 WPRO AM (99.7 FM) during his weekly ProTalk Home Improvement Radio Show!