How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete Driveway and Garage

Two Methods:Using Kitty LitterUsing Product

Nothing is quite as frustrating as pulling your car out of the driveway and noticing a big oil stain right where you were parked. Not only are you looking at car repairs, you have an unsightly stain to deal with too! Here are a couple ways to handle that.

Method 1
Using Kitty Litter

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    The tried and true approach. Kitty litter does a great job for both cats and concrete because it's highly absorbent.
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    Go for the cheapest. When it comes to kitty litter cleanup, you do not want the expensive, clumping kind. You want the inexpensive kind that happens to be super absorbent.
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    Spread the litter. Use a generous amount, and completely cover the oil stain.
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    Patience is a virtue. Wait for a bit, and give the litter a chance to work. If it's just a little bit, 10 to 15 minutes should be enough. For bigger spills, let it sit a couple hours, or even overnight.
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    Crush the litter. Using your grubby shoes, crush the litter on the oil, breaking it up and grinding it into the oily spot, like a scrub brush. When you're done scrunching, sweep up and discard the dirty litter.
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    Replace the oil with elbow grease. Using a concentrated detergent and a stiff brush, scrub the area in a circular motion. Be vigorous where the oil is, and then continue scrubbing beyond the spill, with a lighter touch. This will even out the difference between the scrubbed area and the rest of your driveway.
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    Rinse and repeat. After you've scrubbed, rinse away the detergent, and check to see how well the litter and detergent and your elbows have done their job.
    • If it looks good, clean up, and call it a day.
    • If it's still too stained, use more detergent and scrub more.
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    Be aware that if the oil sat too long on the concrete, the stain may need up to a year to totally fade.

Method 2
Using Product

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    Prepare the area. Sweep the area to be cleaned and treated free from dirt and debris, and make sure the surface is dry before application.
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    Apply the commercial stain remover. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding how much to use, and spread it out over the stain. Soften the edge between the stain and the clean part of your driveway, so you don't have a glaring clean spot.
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    Let the product sit. Follow the manufacturer's direction to determine how long you let the product sit on the stain.
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    Clean and finish. Some products require rinsing, some just rinse away with rain and time. Use whichever method your product calls for. Stubborn stains may require additional applications of product, or even a different solution entirely.

Tips

  • If your efforts yield a big, bright clean spot in your driveway, scrub lightly from the clean area into the dirty area to fade out the clean spot.
    • If that fails to satisfy, buy or rent a pressure washer and clean the whole thing.
  • No matter what method you use, the sooner you clean your oil spill, the better your results will be.
  • Wear rubber gloves whenever using strong detergents or harsh chemicals.
  • Maintain your car so that it doesn't leak oil.

Warnings

  • Never use gasoline or other highly flammable substance to clean oil spills. One spark could have disastrous consequences.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitty litter of the cheapest kind
  • Concentrated detergent
  • A stiff-bristled brush
  • A concrete cleaner or hydrocarbon mitigation agent
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Clean water for rinsing

Article Info

Categories: Stain Removal