Yeah, gasoline is unsafe, blah blah. Trouble is, gasoline's the best
and fastest acting solvent for this. Scrape the thick residue off
first, then use gasoline carefully. Don't carry the gas can into the
garage; keep it at a safe distance. Pour a small amount into a clean
tin can and pour that on the grease to soften/remove the residue.
IOW, gasoline /can/ be used safely in this instance if safety rules are
I concede I am not a chemist. Some reaction between gasoline and
concrete of which I am unaware, perhaps, an I've been lucky all these
years? Otherwise there is nothing intrinsically unsafe about putting a
small amount of gasoline on a grease spot on a garage floor. I said
"small amount," didn't I?
Gasoline is specifically formulated to burn. Because it is volatile
(evaporates easily), it readily turns to vapor form, which is an explosive.
A link from a Manitoba government web site outlines an explosion that was
caused by someone using gas to clean the floor
According to this web site from the City of Bellingham, WA
http://www.cob.org/fire/safety/Gasoline/index.htm a gallon of gasoline has
the explosive power of 20 sticks of dynamite. Doing the conversion, 1 cup
(1/16 of a gallon) of gas has more explosive power than 1 stick of dynamite.
I'd bet that both you and joe used more than 8 ounces of gas to clean the
floor. I don't know what you feel is safe or unsafe, but I sure would not
use that stuff on my garage floor!
Our ship's doctor made a study of the things sailors can catch with
the ladies of the evening.
He showed results of those things on the ship's TV system.
It impressed the hell out of us.....till the second beer.....
Some years ago, an employee of a large defense firm was fatally injured
while trying to clean tile adhesive off of a floor using gasoline. The
fumes ignited with extensive flash burns to the victim.
If anyone is hell bent on using gasoline for cleaning, open all doors
and windows for maximum ventilation. Flesh burns of second and third
degree are horrible and very painful, I can speak from experience having
had a small 3rd degree burn on my leg was not a fun time, it heals slow,
it was very painful and there is always risk of infection while it's
trying to heal up. Just play it safe, a spot of oil or grease on the
garage floor is not worth a serious burn. It's a "no brainer".
I recently resorted to the petrol method to start a BBQ. I've done it
many times before when im feeling lazy but in the UK the temps are
fairly low and vapourisation is fairly slow. You can put the can down,
find the matches, hold at arms length etc and all you get is a little
pop. This time the outside temps were in the 90s and in direct sunlight
well over 100. I poured half a cup full onto the piled coals, put the
tin down, lit a match and put it in the BBQ. Unlike the usual colder
weather BBQ this one exploded nicely, enveloping a 6ft diameter sphere
in flame and bouncing coals around. Fortunately it was open space and i
was ready to react fast enough to duck but i did lose the hairs on my
hand in the process. I cant imagine doing that in an enclosed space
with no-where to duck.
Makes a lovely deep whooshing thump noise though :-)
Really. I mean no offense to anyone, but I state the obvious because what
is obvious to you and me may not be obviouse to everyone.
I guess old habits die hard. As a representative of a large automaker, it
would have been irresponsible for me to give advice that could result in a
fire or explosion, and although I am no longer with that automaker, I still
refrain from offering advice that is contrary to the advice given by just
about every fire department and environmental agency.
Stepping off soapbox.
You are correct - the best solvent for oil products is gas or paint
thinner - equally dangerous.
I have seen a number of suggestions for kitty litter - WTF is in that
will dissolve oil products?
Other suggestions range from installing a new wood or concrete floor
to leaving the state.
My only goal was to be able to walk on the floor without sticking to
it or tracking tar into the house. Gas got everything down to the
bare clean white concrete. I believe I could have flushed out or
contained a fire with the amounts used with water.
Most kitty litter is dried clay. The stuff used in some garages to control
spills is generically called speedy-dri and it basically the same stuff as
kitty litter. The dried clay doesn't actually dissolve oil - it absorbs
spills, and by grinding it into the floor with your foot, it absorbs the oil
and the color of the dust hides the black color. Automotive shops are
supposed to treat the used speedy-dri as hazardous materials but most just
throw the stuff they sweep up into the trash.
Another environmentally friendly product is called Second Shift, although
AFAIK, it is only available to professionaol shops in 55 gallon drums. It
comes in nconcentrated form, and is mixed about 10:1 water to Second Shift.
You mop up stains and spills with the stuff, and it makes the stuff stick to
I am not an expert at extinguishing fires, but I believe that one should
never attempt to put out a liquid fuel fire with water because most liquid
fuels float on water, with the effect being that the fire can actually be
spread by water. A gasoline fire should be put out with an A-B-C fire
extinguisher, a fire blanket made for that purpose, or by smothering it with
sand or kitty litter.
I have routinely burnt stuff from hornets to insulation etc. on old
wire. The explosive force can only occur in a confined space - such
as a room or a building. I made it a point to have a windy condition
with the garage door open. In addition I used a water spray to ensure
that no vapors built up.
Fighting gas or fuel fires. Water spray is excellent for cooling
flames. Water is excellent for moving and dispersing liquid and
dilute both fuel and fire. A violent fire with a small amount of fuel
- say a cup or less will last less than two minutes. This is where
and when you put out any other fires that may have started. I would
not use my electrical and chemical fire extinguisher on something like
this - too little and too slow.
Remember oil based tile adhesives years ago (50's and 60's) - as used
in offices. Bad news saw more that one fire of an entire floor -
lasted less than one min - not good for wall paper.
Risks should not be taken unless it is not avoidable - that is why I
You eat with knife and fork. What if you inserted the fork an extra
inch or two into your mouth - bad spine problems.
What if you are a scuba diver ... nuff said.
To remove oil and grease from cast iron engines, oven cleaner.
K&E Chemical company makes many formulations of products. One product
from K&E is KLENZTONE #1. This does a good job of cleaning up concrete
and is much safer than Muratic Acid.
Steam cleaning works well on concrete.
Tide ground into the surface and wet down will work. When using this
method, sprinkle the surface with sawdust to absorbe the mess.
In the future, use oil dry on the oil spills before they get too bad.
Muriatic aka swimming pool acid would be a total disaster if combined
with oil and concrete. Concrete surface would be ruined - as will
your nose. May not do anything to oil. Just try a test patch and
watch the smoke!
Oil base products does not hurt concrete.
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