Select the Proper Type of Hinges Dear James: I bought an old house that needs a lot of work. It looks like most of the doors and cabinets will need new hinges. There are many types of hinges to choose from. What is the best type of hinge? — Larry N. Dear Larry: Contrary to …Read more. Apply Drywall Joint Tape and Compound Properly Dear James: I am ready to put up drywall in an at-home office for my business. I have put up drywall before to divide one large bedroom into two, but the joints look bad. This room must look better since clients will visit. What should I do …Read more. Install a New Exterior Door and Frame Dear James: My kids have thrown one too many baseball and soccer ball at my wood entry door. My house has aluminum siding. Is replacing an entry door a typical do-it-yourself job? — Andy E. Dear Andy: Installing a new entry door is a nice …Read more. Inlay Tile to Repair Damaged Countertop Dear James: The kids have burned a spot with hot pans in my laminated kitchen countertop. I cannot afford a new countertop. Is there any method to make a repair myself that will not look terrible? — Linda W. Dear Linda: Your countertop problem …Read more.more articles
Clean Oil Stains From Concrete Driveway and Garage
Dear Pat: We have a concrete driveway and garage floor. My husband likes to work on cars, and like most other things, he is not neat. How can I remove oil stains from the concrete and prevent future ones? — Agnes H.
Dear Agnes: Men and their cars can make quite a mess, not only in the garage or driveway, but tracking the oil and grease indoors on their shoes. You should consider yourself somewhat lucky because motor oil is generally not nearly as dirty as other oil and grease. Actually, new motor oil is almost transparent.
There are different cleaning methods depending upon whether the oil stain is old and set or fresh and still in somewhat of a puddle. Also, the smooth surface on most concrete garage floors will be easier to clean than the rougher driveway.
For fresh spills of motor oil, try to blot up as much as possible with paper towels. If you cannot get your husband to stop working on the car long enough to do this, buy him a large bag of cat litter. This is not just symbolic, but cat litter is very effective at absorbing oil. When oil is spilled, he can just throw a handful of litter on it and keep working.
When he is done working and you get access to the spill, sweep up the cat litter or pick up and dispose of the paper towels. Don't try to rinse it with water at this point. This will only spread the oil over more of the driveway, and it will run off into the grass or storm sewer. Oil is not good for either, and there is enough pollution already in the world.
Squirt dishwashing liquid detergent on the spot, and add just enough water so you can spread it evenly over the stain.
After the suds have saturated the spot for 10 minutes, use paper towels or more cat litter to absorb this mixture. Use a high-pressure hose or pressure washer to rinse away and dilute the residue. Dispose of the oil-soaked towel or litter properly (your trash removal company can advise you).
For your older stains, you will need neither the cat litter nor the paper towels. First, try the same scrubbing method with dishwashing liquid and water to remove as much as possible. Check at your local home center store for some cleaners, such as Cleaner 5106 (www.industrialcleaners.com), specifically formulated for concrete.
Solvents, such as kerosene and lacquer thinner, can be somewhat effective on stains on smooth concrete, but they are flammable and are not recommended, especially in enclosed areas. A mild solution of muriatic acid (one part acid to 10 parts water) also helps remove the stain. It may attack the concrete surface, so follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Once the concrete surface is cleaned, you should seal it to make future oil cleanups easier.
Concrete sealers, which contain silanes and siloxanes, are effective. These sealers dry clear and help block liquids from entering the tiny pores in the concrete surface. These sealers will still allow the concrete surface to breathe, so moisture does not get trapped.
Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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