How to Clean Oil off a Driveway

Whether youv’e got a shadetree mechanic in your household or just a car that leaves the occasional puddle underneath it, odds are your once-spotless driveway has a few brown blobs on it by now.

Because this stuff is composed of oil — worse yet, dirty oil — it’s going to take more than a shot from the ol’ garden hose to get rid of the unsightly stains. Fortunately, it’s not going to take much more. Here is how to remove an oil stain from a driveway.


Ha! You thought we were just fixing the problem, didn’t you? Au contraire! We’ll get to the fixes, but the “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” axiom has never been more apropos. A couple of things you should know:

(1) Your car should not be leaking anything other than condensation into your driveway. If you’re getting more than a drop here or there, it means you have a leak of some kind, and both your vehicle and your driveway will be better off if you make the repair.

(2) There are products specifically designed to soak up oil spills on concrete surfaces, and they work amazingly well. That product? It’s kitty litter. No, seriously. If you buy it at an auto parts store, it will be called something else, but it is functionally the same thing as kitty litter. If you spill some oil, you just dump a bunch of this stuff on there and let it rest for a while. Then you scoop it up. You’ll be amazed how much of the oil comes up with it.

Ok, now we’re ready to fix it. Here’s what you’re going to have to do:

Scrub the Daylights Out of It

Yep, that’s pretty much all you can do. Get yourself some concentrated degerteng and a stiff broom or brush, and go to town. Maybe strap some brushes to your shoes and go dancing over it. Or get on your hands and knees and brush it like it’s a mouth full of oily teeth. Whatever you do, it’s going to take a good deal of elbow grease.

Now, there are products specifically designed for this, but they’ll work best if you scrub the daylights out of the stain first. You need to remove as much of the oily material as possible before you apply the stain remover.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you’ll just have to wait for the stain to fade, which could take a year or more. Repeated cleanings will help speed that along, but we’re guessing you can now understand why we started this with that whole prevention bit. It’s just much easier that way.