Tip for removing oil off of cement driveway?

March 16, 2005

My hubby's car leaks oil (even though he swears it doesn't) the driveway has several black puddles as a result. I heard that kitty litter ground in helps to bring it up, it didn't help, neither did sand or power washing---or my dad's idea, gasoline. I noticed some solvents for about $30 online, I just wondered if anyone knew of an organic or easier method for removing it. Thanks for any help with this eyesore!

Comments (39)

  • JohnGuelph

    I've tried the driveway cleaners that you can buy at the hardware store - garbage, don't work. Best thing is to scrub hard with gasoline. Might need to be repeated often to get the stain out. Lay down a piece of plywood where the car gets parked, won't solve the leaking but will stop the staining.

  • JohnGuelph

    I've tried the driveway cleaners that you can buy at the hardware store - garbage, don't work. Best thing is to scrub hard with gasoline. Might need to be repeated often to get the stain out. Lay down a piece of plywood where the car gets parked, won't solve the leaking but will stop the staining.

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  • JohnGuelph

    I've tried the driveway cleaners that you can buy at the hardware store - garbage, don't work. Best thing is to scrub hard with gasoline. Might need to be repeated often to get the stain out. Lay down a piece of plywood where the car gets parked, won't solve the leaking but will stop the staining.

  • JohnGuelph

    I've tried the driveway cleaners that you can buy at the hardware store - garbage, don't work. Best thing is to scrub hard with gasoline. Might need to be repeated often to get the stain out. Lay down a piece of plywood where the car gets parked, won't solve the leaking but will stop the staining.

  • morz8

    The purpose of the cat litter is to pull the excess oil out of the cement. For larger stains, you might want to cover the cat litter with newpaper and leave overnight. Then remove the litter, and lightly cover the stain with powdered laundry detergent. Dampen the detergent just enough to make a paste and again cover and leave overnight.

    The next day remove the detergent leaving just a thin layer of the detergent paste. Add water and use a heavy wire brush to scrub the area (you did say it was DH's car right? I'd put the brush in his hand). Push the brush in small circles, adding water and more of the paste as needed. Scrub some of the area just outside of the stain so that the unaffected concrete and the stained area have a similar shade.

    You will be able to see some of the stain for a short time after the area has dried, but the remaining discoloration should fade away with time.

  • albert_135   39.17°N 119.76°W 4695ft.

    This is far from organic but I noticed a new product that contained chlorox, sodium hydroxide and detergent. It should clean up lots of things but it is nasty and expensive if you buy it already mixed. If you buy the three at WalMart and carefully mix you own it shouldn't cost much. Try it somewhere to be sure it won't eat the concrete too.

    Again far form organic, but in the auto section at WalMart they once had a product for cleaning everything. Sort of rectangular plastic bottle with a chart on the back for cleaning about 40 different things outside. I haven't used it in recent years and forgot the name, somebody's super clean or some such.

  • kanders

    Ultra Dawn dishsoap full strength and a good scrub brush!!!! let it sit for a short time and scrub again... works wonders!!!!!


  • Arizona_Bob


    My father was an auto mechanic and he told me NEVER EVER SWEEP OR SCRUB GASOLINE OR KEROSENE OR DIESEL ON A CONCRETE FLOOR. Said you may get a static spark and WHOOM. I never did it so I don't know if it is true. Not going to find out either.

    Now, the best product I've ever used for getting surface oil off concrete is the powdery material used in swimming pool filters: DE. It pulls and soaks up the oil much better than cat litter. Scrub the spot with whatever grease and oil busting soap or detergent you have. You'll still have a spot. Here in Central Arizona is takes about a year of sunshine to bleach that spot and meld it with the rest of the concrete pad.


  • gardenklutz

    Try doing a "Search" on this Forum for "Removing oil stains on concrete" - you'll get lots of suggestions. One tip I tried was after using cat litter spray the area with oven cleaner. This worked better than any thing I've tried over the years. I scrubbed the oven cleaner in with a wire brush, hosed it off, let it dry and repeated. After the second application I power washed and the area is hardly noticeable. Best to do this as soon as you notice the oil. If you wait too long and it has time to penetrate deep into the concrete it will be harder to remove it.

  • ademink

    1. Spread a thick layer of fresh sawdust or kitty litter over the grease to absorb excess grease or oil on the surface. (Image 1)

    2. Allow the sawdust or kitty litter to sit for a day or two.

    3. Gently sweep away the dirty sawdust or kitty litter. (Image 2)

    4. Pour dry cement over the entire dried grease spot. (Image 3)

    5. Allow the cement to sit for a day or two.

    6. Gently sweep away the dirty cement. (Image 4)

    7. Gather dirty cement in a bag and throw it away. Do not allow the dirty dry cement to go down the sewer

    Found on e-how.com)

  • ademink

    Oops...no images to see, sorry! :)

  • oldfarmer

    Try "Super Clean"


    don't know if you have a dollar general store near you, if you do,get some "mean grean".my grandson changed his truck engine in my garage,months later i poured it straght on the mess,worked in w/broom.let it sit a few minutes,scrubed w/broom and hosed it off.you can buy it by the gallon or smaller sprays.i use it on spots on clothes,clean bath rooms,cleans a stove with no streaks.( can ya tell i'm a believer? i have a bottle in all bathrooms and kitchen.collars on workshirts atay clean,even have it in utility room.

  • OhioMichael

    1. Soak up any excess oil by spreading kitty litter on it. Do not use clumping kitty litter. Buy the cheapest clay kitty litter you can find.

    2. Now that the bulk of the oil is gone, you need to remove the oil stains. To remove the oils stains, spray the stained areas with Carburetor Cleaner. Wait for the carburetor cleaner to dry/evaporate. Voila! the stain is gone!!! If necessary, you can follow with a second treatment of Carburetor Cleaner.

  • whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

    The Super Clean is made by Castrol. It is very mild to skin, and it is biodegradable. No harsh chemical odors and it doesn't burn my hands when I splash it on them. It is the best that I have found for any grease or oil stains. My wife even uses it inside sometimes. For concrete I soak the area and let it sit for a while. It will disolve the oil and I wipe up the excess with an old rag. I use the hose to finish it off.

  • bludog1

    I use hot shot it is a carpet cleaner but it gets the black oil out of everything I have a long broom handle that I screwed a scrub brush on so I can scrub standing up. Spray on scrub hose off it also works on clothes great on carpet gets those black stains out without even scrubing

  • sendmsg_yahoo_com

    This works 100%,its not enviromentally friendly.

    Pour some gas on the stain and then put some plastic wrap on it (food wrap). This stops the gas from evaporating, let it sit an hour, scrub and then wash of with water. If you soak it up you'll have gas rags. Although you can burn the rags instead of putting it into the ground. Just don't burn anything down while your at it. :)

  • dustyknees

    paint the driveway black.stains seem to disappear. hehe

  • bizzarbazzar

    I have tried the commercial overpriced solvents (It was the bosses money since we managed a residential community). Nothing like that worked. The cat litter is great for absorbtion with newspaper. And the stain faded over time...However we had about 150 spacesfor parking with oil and it really lightened the stains with lots of elbow grease and som liquid ivory soap.

  • newe1344

    there is an organic product out there....if you go to www.accclean.com it will give you the information. This product is used mostly for industrial stuff, but it works for oil stains in driveway. It uses natural and harmless microbes to "eat" the oil instead of using chemicals...and it requires no water so it's a "green" technology. Hope this helps!

  • chasb19

    You do realize that gasoline...like road salt, eats concrete!?! I know this because i had a gas leak in my car for 1 day and now i have a small 1/2" hole in my driveway from where it dripped. Also, if you have a puddle of gasoline on your blacktopped driveway, expect a pothole later. I worked on a leaky gas tank(drip leak)on my friend's blacktop driveway, which sat for about 2 days, by then, that drip had eaten a 1'x1'x4" hole in the blacktop.

    I recommend the kitty litter....but let it sit as long as you can....then apply ultra dawn on the spot with minimal water! so that it is basically concentrated dawn on the spot...let it sit for a few days (hopefully no rain) wash it off and its gone. i have let it sit in my driveway for 3-4 days... i wouldn't recommend dry cement....all it takes is a morning dew, and you have a permanent hump in your driveway!

  • elgrillo

    Carburator cleaner, gasoline, oven cleaner, and outdoor grill cleaner, even WD40 will work. However, they will all leave a little residue that will make it impossible for the cement surface to retain paint. At my work, we have to remove oil residue from metal surfaces and painted cement with wood alcohol, followed by a good glass cleaner, such as Sprayway or Windex. The problems are flammability and biodegradability of oil, solvents, and spray can propellants (alcohol is the primary propellant in aerosols). The glass cleaner works like soap or detergent, to chemically react with and break down the oil.

    Best biodegradeable method would be to skip the solvents. Use soap (dishwashing liquid with lemon) or non-phosphate detergent (liquid laundry detergent). Use newspaper or old rags or kitty litter to soak up the excess oil, then apply soap full strength, scrub it in with a brush, add a little water, scrub more with a brush, maybe wait a few minutes for the soap to soak (like a laundry presoak) then spray it down with water or mop it up. To reach into the pores of the cement enough to allow paint to stick, let the cement dry completely, then repeat the application of soap and water, a couple of times.

    Good luck,

  • dannym7m_yahoo_com

    Here's my methods.

    Best in wet rainy season or soak the concrete area for 30 mins before application.

    1. Wait after the concrete driveway has been soaked.

    2. Put generous amount of powder detergent(Tide with bleach)over the areas, gently mist then rub the detergent into a liquidy paste but not runny to cover the stained areas.

    3. cut a plastic trash bag to form a cover areas to prevent evaporation overnight, use rocks or heavy objects to prevent the sheet from flying away. Hose it off next day.

    You will see the drastic results. Repeat if needed.

  • jrbjr_sprint_blackberry_net

    First complete removal? Sorry aint gonna happen,you have a good chance if your drive is a finished surface (eg;trialed smooth at construction ) and if you have all cleaners at hand imediatly after spilage. Beside that concrete is pourise onece "dirty oil gets in," its in " new construction its wise to seal with a "penetrating sealer " to seal the poors. To make a old conrete. Made close to new. "Reserface " (contact ur equipment rental ) thanks john allbrite cleaning nashville. Info

  • sirgalahad71_hotmail_com

    Ok, so I read all the tips/suggestions and this is what worked for me.
    I used 3 parts Arm and Hammer plus Oxy-clean, (yellow bottle with blue top), combined with 6 parts water in a spray bottle. Applied it directly to the stains, (Been there for months in 100 degree weather), let soak in for 5 maybe 10 minutes while I looked for a scrub brush and then scrubbed and washed away with water.
    The results were dramatic. Reduced the visibility of the stains by between half and all the way down to nothing at all in some cases with just one application.
    You may want to make a more concentrated mix but this is what worked for me.
    The ingredients on the Arm and Hammer plus Oxy-clean container say that they are biodegradable and may contain enzymes.
    Hope this helps.

  • daisies91_hotmail_com

    hydrochloric acid also known as muriatic acid works fantastic, but is dangerous and needs to be watered down and not left on the cement too long as it will etch it. Pour some in some water and pour that onto the cement and scrub it with a push-broom or something to that general effect (nothing too corse). Its the only thing i can get to remove oil from my driveway but it works great. Just a suggestion, not an organic one, but a working one nonetheless.

  • swconger_att_net

    I have a sure-fire answer...Just finished it today...Had a huge greasy spot from my lawnmower...Put Cascade on the spot and left overnight...wet it with a light spay today...Used a scrub brush and water, and it all came out...Moped it with fresh water after it was all clean...This spot was not a fresh one, but had been there for a week...Good luck

  • mugglechristine

    I have been researching quick tips for this problem and then i was at walmart and picked up a gallon bottle of this stuff call Purple Power ($5.67 + tax) and believe it or not the stuff worked like a charm!!! Cheap, easy and fast! you pour it on, let it sit wash it off and poof the problem is solved! oh! and i should mention that the stain has been sitting and building for a year now.

  • S1h1a2r7y

    Forget the kitty litter, dish soap, and scrubbing until your arm falls off. I tried many home remedies for removing dirty, greasy oil stains from my driveway. None of them worked. In fact my hubby told me nothing would remove the stains, but he was wrong. What does work is a product called Oil Grabber that I bought at my local hardware store for $11. It's a white pourable goop that you spread over the stain after wiping up any surface residue. Let it set for 8 to 24 hours. It dries into a powder that you can sweep up and then rinse with plain water. Nothing could be easier or more effective.

  • julysun

    Cat Litter, Tide or Cement. Put on a good layer and leave it for a day or two. Sweep or wash, let dry and repeat till it looks OK. It helps to walk the cleaner in, stand on it and do the twist, crush it to powder or dance with tour DH on it, the more you crush it the better it cleans.;-)) I owned/operated three carwashes for twenty years and kept them all clean this way.

  • webbee

    Another vote for Super Clean made by Castrol. I used to do apartment building maintenance and found that it was the quickest and most complete cleaner for oil spills. Believe me it will clean even the most severely oil coated mess from concrete. I wouldn't use it on black top as it may dissolve the surface, too. In severe cases it may take multiple applications.

    Fresh oil spills can be easily removed with paint thinner. Apply and let evaporate. Gone over night with no staining.

  • dlf621

    Just a word of warning if you're going to try using muriatic acid. There is an old rhyme that used to be taught to chemistry students: do as you ought'er, add acid to water. You will cause a very rapid heat release if you do it the other way and it could end up bubbling back into your face.

  • David_W_PA

    I read about this cleaner S-200 Oil Clean that they used in the gulf, it promotes natural bacteria to do the cleaning for you -- I just ordered a bottle to try out on my driveway. I'll try to remember to come back and update this post after I've used it.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Oil Clean

  • Rosalie_3q9r47

    Hey I know I'm really late to this conversation but I wanted to add my opinion for future readers. Don't ever use kitty litter to clean up fuel or oil! I learned about marrying my husband that this can cause major problems when you throw that stuff out since it doesn't really properly absorb the oil/fuel. There's a range of other things out there that range in price but are super effective. Look up Goop cleaner, SpillFix, environmentally friendly oil cleaning solutions...you'll get much better results and won't create any pollution issues!

  • bb71chevelleman

    Pour Procter & Gamble "Joy" brand lemon liquid detergent from your kitchen (Dawn brand does not work) on your oil stain on your concrete several hours before it rains. After a good solid rain, your stain is gone.

    Unfortunately the Joy detergent will not clean the diesel oil stains on my concrete. There is something in the 15w40 diesel oil that will not come out.

  • The Fed up

    Not that it is something in the 15w40 diesel oil itself, but the USED diesel oil contains higher amounts of carbon deposits than what is created in gasoline engines.

  • Corey Martinez

    I pour gas on oil split in the garage and it works pretty well. Granted it is a different type of concrete but it works.

  • albert_135   39.17°N 119.76°W 4695ft.

    I found one site that said use the concentrated laundry detergent to remove 15w40. An old Readers Digest said use oven cleaner. Personally I would try WD40 and then liquid detergent if Walmart driveway cleaner were not available - and perhaps make a mess. I have never done that.

    I was just reading a clay discussion somewhere that said put Fuller's Earth on your oil stains. I assume they mean on fresh spills. It is sold some places as cat litter.

  • Herman King

    Dish washing liquid & Pine Sol. La the dish washing liquid over the oil stain, followed by the Pine-Sol. Then scrub the 2 together over the stain, rinse with cold water lf you have a power washer that's even better. But scrub it first. I hope this helps you. do let me know

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