Art said, “How do I remove teak oil that spilled onto my flagstone patio?”
Flagstone is commonly used for paving patio areas or walkways in a backyard. It is a porous stone, so when something like oil spills onto the surface, it can quickly soak into the stone. Use the information in the steps below to remove the stain.
Cleaning the Oil Spill
You Will Need:
- An absorbent material, such as:
- Cat litter
- Baking soda
- Corn starch
- A dustpan
- Plastic wrap
- Mineral spirits
- A scrub brush
- Dish liquid
- Brake cleaner
Steps to Clean the Spill:
- If the stain is fairly recent but has dried, first pour some water on it, then continue with the steps below.¹
- If the spill is fresh, cover it with a generous amount of an absorbent material, such as cat litter, sawdust², or baking soda³. You can also use corn starch or flour, but if the oil spill is outdoors, you may want to avoid those options in order to prevent ants from visiting the area.⁴
- Leave the powder on the area for 5-10 minutes, then scoop up the powder with a dustpan.
- Once you have removed the bulk of the spilled oil, you may be left with a stain that has soaked into the stone. In that case, repeat the process, but leave the powder on the stain for several hours or overnight. If the area is windy, cover the powder with plastic wrap to hold it in place.
- Remove the plastic wrap and sweep off the powder. If the stain is not completely removed, you can either repeat the process as many times as needed to fully remove the oil or continue with the steps below.
- Mix baking soda with some water to make a thick paste. Spread the paste over the stain, and leave it there until it dries. Once dry, sweep up the powder with a dustpan.¹
- If the stain is old or stubborn, pour mineral spirits on it. Let the mineral spirits soak on the area for half an hour⁵, then scrub the area with a stiff-bristled brush. Lay some newspaper over the area to soak up the mineral spirits, then wash the area with some dish liquid.²
- As a last resort, try using some brake cleaner, which will help draw the oil to the surface of the stone. Spray the brake cleaner on the stain, then cover the area with one of the absorbent powders. Wash the area with dish liquid when the bulk of the stain is removed.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If left too long, it is possible for an oil stain to become permanent, so always treat an oil spill on your flagstone as soon as possible.⁵
- Always follow safety precautions on the label of your selected cleaner. It is best to wear gloves when handling brake cleaner as it is caustic.
- It is always best to test a cleaner on a small, hidden area of the surface first to look for any adverse reaction, particularly when using something as strong as brake cleaner.
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