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Removing Grease Contamination on a Stained Floor

Question:

We have stained concrete floors, which were in the house when we bought it. The kitchen floor has many stains from grease. We’ve tried everything to remove them. Please help!

Answer:

Most stained floors have a sealer applied to provide protection. These sealers will only do so much in regard to protecting from food stains such as grease, oil, soda, mustard, etc. The type of sealer and how well it is maintained also play a big part in floor life and performance. In your case, the contamination may be in the sealer or it may have migrated through the sealer into the concrete. The only way to determine this is to strip off the sealer and see what remains. The best strippers for indoor use are those with a base of citrus and soy oils. If using a solvent-based stripper indoors, you will need to make sure there is adequate ventilation and wear the proper safety equipment and clothing. If the stripper removes stains, then all you need to do is reseal. If the stains are still there, you will need to use a degreaser-type cleaner to remove them before resealing (see Choosing a Concrete Cleaner or Degreaser).

Oil and grease stains can be particularly stubborn. Most household soaps and solvents will soften the stain. The frustrating part is getting the softened stain out of the concrete. This process can be lengthy, and may also remove the concrete stain in those areas. Cotton rags soaked in solvent or steam cleaning and scrubbing with degreaser are proven remedies. Once you get the floor clean, consider resealing it with a product that is more resistant to grease. Then apply a finishing wax as a maintenance coating. The wax finish is easy to clean and maintain, and it won’t allow contamination to penetrate to the base sealer.

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Chris Sullivan

Author Chris Sullivan, ConcreteNetwork.com technical expert and vice president of sales and marketing for ChemSystems Inc.

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