How to Remove Oil From Concrete

How to Remove Oil From Concrete

How to remove oil from concrete floors

By charles | Published: March 21, 2012

Cleaning to remove oil from concrete floors continues to be a major problem for the coating industry.  Detergents and degreasers remove or disperse hydrocarbons from the surface of concrete, but do nothing for contaminants in the pores of the concrete.

Before- Workshop floor heavily contaminated with petroleum based oil

The soap acts like ball bearings, loosening up the oil to permit easier removal.  However typical degreasers, dont actually break down the oil, so they dont work well on concrete that is heavily contaminated or has been contaminated for a long time.

Bleedback can occur within days or even faster at higher temperatures. This results in subsequent floor covering or coating adhesion failure.

 How to remove oil from concrete floors

Microbial cleaning is a much more effective way to achieve deep cleaning and remove oil from concrete floors. CT- MicroClean uses living organisims (microbes) to eat and consume oil rather than disperse it.  Enzymes released by the microbe break the oil contaminant down into digestible pieces. The oil is then consumed as food by the microbe. These microbes migrate into the pores of the concrete to totally digest oils, converting them to carbon dioxide and water, eliminating adhesion problems for floor coatings.

After -Deep cleaning of oil contaminated concrete using CT-MicroClean HC

CT-MicroClean will remove a number of contaminants, including, Motor oil, Cutting oil, Hydraulic oil, Gasoline, Diesel and heating fuels, Fats (animal and vegetable), Grease, Solvents, Alcohols and sugars.  using microbes to remove oil from concrete will leave no residue and the floor can be coated as soon as the floor is dry enough for the coating or floor covering.

CT-MicroClean is a very Green cleaning process, cleaning without pollution.  The product has no VOC’s is Non Hazardous, Non Flammable and there are no restrictions on the surfaces it can be used on. Typical applications include:-

  •  Machine shop floors
  • Parking lots and driveways
  • Heavy oil contaminated concrete
  • Engines and machinery
  • Counters, sinks and plumbing
  • Paving stones and masonry
  • Petroleum tanks and pits
  • Kitchens and restaurants

Key steps for using  CT-MicroClean to remove Oil from Concrete

Step 1. Wet the floor and apply the microbes. Water serves two purposes. The microbes need a moist climate to work, and water aids the motility of the microbes, so they have the most opportunity to come into contact with hydrocarbons.

Step 2. Agitate. Agitation helps disperse the microbes and helps break down the oil for faster digestion. Agitate the floor periodically, and keep the floor moist while the bacteria are working. The time needed for cleaning will vary between 30 minutes to several hours, depending on how much contamination there is, and how porous the substrate. Keep in mind that some floors have been exposed to oil for many years, and may need a few days for the microbes to completely digest all the contamination.

Step 3. Rinse the floor. Rinse to a drain or rinse and shop vac the microbes from the floor.  Primer the floor with a compatible primer such as such as CoverShield Primer OVS  or dry the floor thoroughly and coat or cover according to manufacturers instructions (note microbes do not etch concrete).

Application of Primer OVS to seal against oil bleed-back

CT -MicroClean and CoverShield Primer OVS  can be obtained direct from CoverTec  together with detailed application instructions and Technical Support. If you are interested in buying these products  please email  your request or call us at 754-223-2465 to discuss your project.


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