How to remove oil and paint from concrete walls

Written by april dowling
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How to remove oil and paint from concrete walls
Remove oil stains and paint splatters to restore a concrete wall's appearance. ( Images)

Concrete walls are appreciated for their fire resistance, strength and long lifespan. Many homes are built with concrete exterior structural walls and basement walls. Homeowners sometimes wish to paint concrete walls for added decorative appeal. Fresh paint, however, cannot properly bond to concrete walls containing oil stains and old paint. Eliminate oil and paint, since they permeate the concrete more thoroughly the longer they remain.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • 1/4 cup trisodium phosphate
  • 1 cup finely ground clay powder
  • Bucket
  • Putty knife
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Respirator
  • Soy-based gel paint stripper
  • Paintbrush
  • Hard plastic scraper

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    Oil Stains

  1. 1

    Gear up in rubber gloves and goggles for protection against the paste.

  2. 2

    Combine 1/4 cup of trisodium phosphate and 1 cup of finely ground clay powder with 1 qt. of warm water in a bucket. Stir the ingredients to form a smooth paste.

  3. 3

    Slather the paste over the oil stains using a putty knife. Let the paste completely dry to draw the oil out of the concrete surface.

  4. 4

    Brush the dried paste off the wall using a nylon scrub brush.

  5. 5

    Examine the wall for remaining oil. Repeat the process, if necessary, until the oil stains are completely removed.


  1. 1

    Put on rubber gloves, goggles and a respirator for protection against the paint stripper.

  2. 2

    Spread soy-based gel paint stripper over the paint stains using a paintbrush. Follow the manufacturer's directions on the bottle's label. Let the paint stripper set on the concrete for the time span instructed by the manufacturer.

  3. 3

    Remove the softened paint from the concrete wall using a hard plastic scraper. Scrape off as much paint as possible.

  4. 4

    Inspect the concrete wall for remaining paint. Repeat the stripping process, if necessary, until the paint stains are completely removed.

Tips and warnings

  • Substitute baby powder for the ground clay powder.
  • Substitute methylene chloride stripper for the soy-based gel paint stripper if the paint is extremely stubborn. Apply the methylene chloride stripper as directed by the manufacturer.
  • Wire brushes can cause steel particles to become embedded in concrete walls, which encourages rust.

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