How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (2023)


How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (1)


ByJennifer Anum/

Since you are here, we might as well dive into the best ways to clean up oil stains in your driveway. Dirty driveways are inevitable, but there is something about those unsightly black spots from oil spills or leaks that are just so hard to ignore. Not only can fresh oil stains get tracked into your house or car, but they can also conceal the beauty of your house and yard. Fortunately for you, we have rounded up the most effective methods for getting rid of oil stains using, for the most part, household products like baking soda, dish soap, and soda.We also explored some tried-and-tested FDA-approved products.

According to Allstate, automotive stains come in different colors including red, black, brown, and light brown to help identify the part of your car that is leaking. To remove these tough oil stains, whether old or new, consider the following detailed suggestions.

1. Pour an absorbent material over the stain

How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (2)


For this cleaning method, courtesy of Allstate, you will need an absorbent material such as sand, cat litter, cornmeal, or cornstarch, as well as baking soda and dish soap. This method works best with fresh stains, so start by sprinkling the absorbent material over the spill. Let it sit for a few minutes to soak up any oil sitting on the surface of the driveway before it seeps into the concrete.

Once the spill has dried up, sweep and dispose of the absorbent. Next, water the stain and grab a stiff broom or heavy-duty brush to give the area a good scrub using a paste of baking soda and water, which will dissolve the dirt and grease even further. The last stage is to squirt some dish soap onto the oil stain, scrub again until the oil stain fades, and hose down to rinse the driveway clean.

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2. Use laundry detergent

How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (3)

New Africa/Shutterstock

Another way to clean up oil stains in your driveway is to use powdered laundry detergent. This simple but effective method consists of sprinkling detergent over the stain and pouring just enough warm water over it to form a paste. Scrub the spot with a hard bristle brush, preferably a nylon brush, for five minutes, and then let it sit for 15 minutes for the concoction to work its magic, says Better Homes & Gardens. Afterward, scrub again for another minute and rinse the spot with warm water.

This method works because laundry detergent and other cleaning products contain surfactants, which are molecules that allow soluble (water) and insoluble (oil or grease) to mix well. Thus, the surfactant in the powdered laundry detergent allows water to penetrate the oil stain, effectively lifting the oil particles off the ground, making it easy to scrub and rinse the stain away, APS Physics explains.

3. Use baking soda

How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (4)

Sendo Serra/Shutterstock

Behold, the holy grail of household cleaning products! Baking soda is an effective cleaner because it has a pH of 9, making it a mildly alkaline substance. As a base, it dissolves organic compounds like grease and dirt without scratching the surface area since its mineral structure makes it a gentle abrasive.

Per Fix Auto, the following is how to remove oil stains with this inexpensive gem. Sprinkle a generous quantity of baking soda atop the oil stain and leave it be for 20 to 30 minutes. This is more than enough time for the baking soda to absorb the stain, allowing you to hose down the area with water. If it does not work, repeat the process, but this time, scrub the oil stain with a hard brush after letting it sit for 30 to 40 minutes. Rinse the spot off with clean water once again.

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4. Purchase an oil cleaner/degreaser

How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (5)


If you want to clean up oil stains in your driveway, invest in an oil cleaner or degreaser. While there are many such products on the market, our absolute favorite is Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser. We love it because it safely dissolves oil, grease, and grime from concrete and asphalt driveways without leaving behind a chemical scent. Another cool thing about this product is that it works on a slew of surfaces and materials.

To use Oil Eater, according to Live Like You Are Rich, spray the product over the stain in your driveway. After 15 minutes has elapsed, scrub with a stiff bristle scrub brush, rinse away with clean water, and let the area air dry. Depending on the concentration of the oil stain, you may have to repeat the process a few more times until your driveway is devoid of any black spots.

5. Grab a can of Coca-Cola

How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (6)

Z I V/Shutterstock

It is no secret that people have used coke as a multipurpose cleaner and stain remover for many generations. And although its effectiveness as a degreaser is still quite unknown, Cnet details how you can use room-temperature Coke to remove oil stains in your driveway or garage floor.

Start by pouring one or two cans of the soda onto the stains on your driveway. Allow it to sit for 24 hours and wash it off with a high-pressure hose. If the oil stain persists, pour a few more cans onto the afflicted area and let it sit for another day. If you find small oil spots all over your driveway, we recommend using a spray bottle to maintain accuracy and prevent waste. If you are on a tight budget, consider this method as it is the most economical way of getting rid of oil stains.

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6. Use oven cleaner

How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (7)

Denys Niezhientsev/Shutterstock

Since oven cleaners can work their magic on concrete, you should use them to clean up oil stains in your driveway. The process is simple, Reader's Digest says. Spray the stains with the oven cleaner and let it settle for 10 minutes. Next, use a hard bristle brush to scrub the stain for a few minutes and hose it down. You may have to repeat the process to get rid of all the stains.

So, how exactly does this work? According to Wired, oven cleaners are essentially sodium hydroxide lye but also contain butane and monoethanolamine (MEA). When used, the latter chemicals soften triglycerides and hardened substances like grease. This allows the sodium hydroxide to penetrate easily and react with the grease to form a simple soap that can be washed away. Note that lye is a powerful corrosive alkali so be sure to wear protective gloves.

7. Try liquid detergent

How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (8)


Any grease-cutting dish detergent can do the trick of removing stains from your driveway, Bob Vila assures. For this method, pour the detergent directly over the oil stain, add a splash of water, and scrub the target area with a stiff broom or hard scrub brush. Next, rinse off with a hose and let it air dry. Feel free to repeat the process until the stain is gone.

Even though we have already discussed surfactants, which are molecules in detergents and other cleaning agents, our friends at Science on the Shelves elaborate even further. Surfactants resemble human sperm; the head is hydrophilic (water-loving) and the tail is hydrophobic (grease-loving). When in use, the head submerges into the water, effectively creating an attractive force between the two, which forcibly lifts the oil stain to the surface. There, it is broken down by the tail into smaller pieces and eventually washed away by water.

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8. Make a stain removal poultice

How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest (9)


In this context, poultice refers to a soft, moist mass of material that can be used to clean up oil stains in your driveway. According to Fix Auto, forthis concoction you will needliquid detergent, hot water, and an absorbent material like cat litter, talc, or sawdust. Grind the absorbent material into a fine powder and mix in the hot water and soap to form a smooth paste.

To apply the poultice, pour water over the oil stain, and using your fingers or spatula, spread the poultice over the stain. Let the mixture soak into the concrete until it dries up completely. You can use a hard broom or brush to scrape the poultice off the ground afterwards. This method of cleaning oil stains is incredibly effective, but if it does not work the first time around, do not hesitate to repeat the process.


(Video) Removing oil stains from concrete, BEST technique I've ever tried with AMAZING results! #536


How To Clean Up Oil Stains In Your Driveway - House Digest? ›

Best for Oil Stains: Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner

Most concrete driveways and garage floors come in contact with oil at some point. Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner is an effective and eco-friendly option for breaking down oil and grease stains.

What is the best driveway cleaner for oil stains? ›

Best for Oil Stains: Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner

Most concrete driveways and garage floors come in contact with oil at some point. Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner is an effective and eco-friendly option for breaking down oil and grease stains.

Will Dawn get oil off driveway? ›

The first method used to remove oil stains using the most readily available household item is dish soap. Dawn dish washing liquid soap is one of the most common soaps used to remove oil stains. Soap uses the emulsification process to both combine with the oil and then lift it away from the surface.

Can you use Dawn to clean oil off driveway? ›

Choose a highly concentrated, oil busting dish soap, such as Dawn. Squirt it over the stain and spread it around to cover the entire affected area. Let it sit for about an hour, then mop up the dish soap and oil with a paper towel.

How do professionals remove oil stains from concrete? ›

We use a sweeping compound, sawdust, or even kitty on rough or broom-finished concrete to absorb excess contamination. Once the cat litter or other absorbent has removed the excess oil, we suggest diluted dish detergent with a stiff nylon brush to remove the remaining contamination.

What is the best oil stain remover for concrete? ›

Common household products used to remove oil stains
  • Cat litter. Clay-based kitty litter could help soak up a fresh spill on concrete or asphalt, according to Bob Vila. ...
  • Soda. ...
  • Baking soda. ...
  • Powdered powder. ...
  • Oven cleaner. ...
  • WD-40. ...
  • Concrete cleaner or degreaser.

Is there a way to get old oil stains out of concrete? ›

Treat the concrete stain with baking soda
  1. Sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda over the oil stain in your driveway.
  2. Let it soak in for thirty minutes.
  3. Clean the stain by scrubbing it with a bristle brush.
  4. Wash away the baking soda with clean water.
  5. Repeat if necessary.

Are oil stains on driveway permanent? ›

Oil will break down the sealant/finish on the top layer and seep into the tiny pores of the concrete, creating a permanent stain, if not taken care of. It's best to take care of even a minor stain, right away!

How do you remove old oil stains? ›

How to Remove Set-In Oil Stains, Step by Step
  1. Work on the stain while the fabric is dry. ...
  2. Place a piece of cardboard behind the stain. ...
  3. Blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth. ...
  4. Apply dish soap to the stain. ...
  5. Rinse with warm water, then launder as usual. ...
  6. Air- or line-dry your item.
Jun 15, 2023

Will vinegar remove oil from driveway? ›

Vinegar will remove mild oil stains from concrete. You might be able to remove even the deepest oil stains if you mix vinegar with dish or laundry soap. To do this, mix half a cup of vinegar with soap and water. Pour the mixture onto the concrete and sprinkle it with sawdust.

Will bleach remove old oil stains from driveway? ›

If using dish soap doesn't work, you can try spraying the stain with oven cleaner, WD-40, or a mixture of bleach and water and letting it soak for a few minutes. Then scrub it with a brush or a piece of steel wool and repeat the process until the stain is gone.

How do you remove stubborn oil stains from concrete? ›

Scrub with a paste - Use baking soda or powdered laundry detergent and water to dissolve the oil stain. Rinse with water. Wash with soap - Dish soap and a scrub brush are often effective on new oil spots. Rinse the concrete clean.

How do you get old oil stains out of paved driveway? ›

Diluted vinegar is a mildly acidic solution that can remove oil stains from asphalt driveways. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the oil stain.


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