Remove Concrete Stains

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There’s nothing worse than concrete oil stains or concrete rust stains to ruin the look of your driveway.  Yet, the task to remove concrete stains at home is tedious and you may not be able to fully remove the stains completely if you’re not working with the correct cleaning agents.

Remove Concrete Stains
Remove Concrete Stains

The most common driveway stains are rust stains and oil stains and each has its own method for removal. First we’ll touch on rust.

Concrete Rust Stains

Rust stains are caused when rebar or other steel underneath the concrete is inadequately covered or if metal objects are left on the concrete for too long.  Concrete is porous and water seeps inside and oxidizes the metal causing the stains to come to the surface. Concrete rust stains are difficult to remove because there isn’t one simple solvent available.

One solution you may try is to use muriatic acid.  Please read below for important safety tips.

Safety notes:

It’s important that you pour the acid into the water and not the water into the acid. Use only plastic or glass containers and never metal.  Be sure to keep a bucket of water nearby in case you spill acid on your skin. Purchase a respirator or mask for acid vapors to protect yourself from the strong smell.  You will also need goggles and gloves.  Once you finish the process make sure to wash your clothes and shower to fully remove any acid which may have come in contact with your clothes or body.


Add ¼ cup of the muriatic acid to 2 cups water.
Apply the acid to the rust stain.   Immediately you will notice bubbling on the surface of the concrete as it begins to etch the surface.  Scrub the area with a long-handle nylon brush.  Rinse the area to see that the rust stains have been removed.  Make sure to rinse the area by pouring water away from your plants and lawn.
You may need to do this process more than one time depending on the degree of rust stain.

Concrete Oil Stains

Oil stains must be absorbed out from the ground rather than scrubbed away.  You will create a paste with an absorbing agent that is mixed with a liquid that you will place over the stain.  The paste will soak up the oil from the ground. You may try using kitty litter as the absorbing material, but keep in mind that extremely course litter won’t easily turn into a paste.  Try to find kitty litter which is in a more powder form. 

Use trisodium phosphate (TSP) and mix it well with the kitty litter until you make a smooth paste.  Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit until the paste dries. Once it dries you can scrape and wash away the paste. If the stain remains you may need to reapply the paste.  In fact, you may need to reapply the paste several times for stains that have been neglected and allowed to sit for a long time.

Like with most stains, if the first combination of paste doesn’t work you may need to experiment with other cleaning liquids and agents. A professional cleaning company may use a floor machine and brush along with cleaning agents to remove stains.  They will also be likely to power wash the driveway.

After you remove the concrete stains you may want to consider sealing the driveway.  The best approach is to clean and seal the entire concrete surface. It would be a shame to go through the concrete stain removal process only to have the driveway capture more stains!  We generally use penetrating sealers which offer more protection rather than topical sealers, which sit on top of the driveway.  Eventually with the traffic topical sealers will break away.  Our penetrating sealer will have a longer lifespan. 

Concrete rust and oil stains can ruin the look of your driveway. With some of the steps listed above you may be able to successfully remove the stains.  If not, you may not have used the correct cleaning agents. If you find yourself frustrated at not being able to remove the concrete stains, look for a professional concrete cleaning company near you.

We are the #1 company called upon to remove concrete stains as we have been removing concrete rust stains and concrete oil stains all over Los Angeles County for over 12 years, give us a chance you will not regret it. For service and more information please contact us at: 800.742.3585