June 16th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Oil, gas, and transmission fluids can leave a stain on your concrete driveway or garage floor that may seem nearly impossible to remove. Oil stains on concrete are not just an eyesore that detracts from the beauty of your home, but chances are they have also caused a squabble or two with your better half.
If you knew how to remove oil stains from driveway using everyday household products and, in so doing, could bring a smile to your partner’s face, it would be a win-win, right?
Getting rid of oil stains on concrete can be a challenge. After all, concrete is porous, retains dirt, and is a tough surface to clean. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box. Here are 10 tried and true ways to remove unsightly oil stains from your concrete driveway:
1. An inexpensive brand of cat litter
Cat litter is usually made up of highly absorbent clay and is surprisingly effective as an oil stain remover. But not all cat litter is the same. The more expensive brands tend to be made with perfumes and are prone to clumping up when they come in contact with moisture. Your best bet is to go with one of the less expensive brands.
To clean oil off driveway, simply pour the cat litter on the stain and let it sit for around a half-hour. (If the oil stain covers a large area, let it sit overnight.) Next, use your broom to sweep up the litter. Then, use a bristle brush and detergent to scrub it clean, rinsing with water when you’re done. If that doesn’t do the trick, repeat the process.
If you do not have cat litter, you can substitute cornstarch or cornmeal as your absorbent. Talcum and baby powder are also effective.
2. Oven cleaner
Oven cleaner can be a very effective treatment for oil stains on concrete. Simply spray the target area with oven cleaner and let it settle for ten minutes. Use a hard bristle brush to scrub it clean and rinse with a hose. Repeat the process until the stain is removed.
3. Sawdust and paint thinner
If you are seeking tips on how to get rid of oil stains on driveway, you can’t do much better than this. Sawdust is an excellent remedy because, like cat litter, it’s an absorbent that can mop up oil. Paint thinners then act as solvents that dilute oil-past paints. Mix them together, and you have just hacked an effective way to remove oil from your driveway.
After mixing them, spread the sawdust over the oil stain for about half an hour. Use your broom to sweep away the sawdust. If the stain remains, repeat the steps until it is gone.
4. Baking soda
If you are researching how to get rid of oil stains on driveway, baking soda has to be on your list.
Similar to the way you use oven cleaner, you can apply baking soda to an oil stain, wait 20 or 30 minutes for it to be absorbed, and then use your hose to rinse the area. If that doesn’t work, pour more baking soda on the oil stain and, after a half-hour, use a wet, hard brush to scrub the area, and then spray it clean with water.
If the baking soda doesn’t solve your problem, open up your cupboard and grab some vinegar and vegetable oil.
Pour the vinegar on the oil and let it rest for a few minutes. Follow the same instructions that you used for the baking soda. If that doesn’t do the trick, try the vegetable oil. Because grease counters grease!
5. Liquid detergent
The reason heavy-duty liquid detergent is such an effective remedy for oil stains on concrete
has to do with the behavior of molecules and chemical processes – we’ll spare you the details. What’s important is how to pull it off. Start by pouring the detergent directly on the oil stain, add water, and scrub with a hard brush. Then rinse it off with a hose and take a moment to marvel at the majesty of your work.
A poultice, as it pertains to stain removal, is a mass of a porous material that is filled with a solvent. For our purposes, you can make a poultice yourself by finely grinding an absorbent material like talc or sawdust into a powder, and then mixing it with a combination of soap and hot water.
Then, pour water over the oil stain and spread the paste-like poultice over the stain and let it soak in. Once the poultice has dried, use a hard brush to scrape the area clean. If the stain does not disappear the first time, don’t give up – repeat the process and try again.
If you wish to cut to the chase, instead of concocting it yourself, you can purchase poultice for stain removal at Home Depot or on Amazon.
7. Use concrete cleaner or degreaser
If you need a more aggressive approach for removing oil stains on concrete, you can always get a concrete cleaner or degreaser at your local hardware store or online. This involves scrubbing what is essentially a concentrated alkaline soap into your target area. The soap loosens up the oil and enables the grime to be rinsed away more easily.
8. Coca Cola
People have been using Coke as a cleaner and stain remover for generations, but its effectiveness as an oil stain remover is still something of a secret. If you are on a tight budget, using good, old-fashioned Coke may be the least expensive and easiest solution.
Start by pouring two cans of Coke onto the oil stain. Give it a day to perform its magic. Then wash it off with a hose and that should do the trick. If the stain isn’t gone, pour a couple more cans over the spot and wait another 24 hours. You can always get more Coke at the store!
9. The kitchen sink approach
Getting rid of oil stains on concrete sometimes requires unusual solutions. This is the “throw the kitchen sink at the problem” approach, and our friends at Readers Digest attest to its effectiveness. Instead of using any one idea on this list by itself, try combining them into one powerful solution.
You will need a bag of cat litter, some laundry detergent, a few cans of cola, and bleach. You will also need a broom, rubber gloves, and goggles to protect your eyes.
Begin by applying a thin layer of cat litter over the stain. Pour cola over your target area, mixing it in with your broom. Let it stand for about 20 minutes. Then, mix 1/4 of a cup of laundry detergent with 1/4 of a cup of bleach in one gallon of warm water and use this magic potion to mop up the mess.
Most American families have a can of WD-40 in their garage. This multi-purpose solvent has over 2,000 uses listed by the company, and it’s perfectly suited for ridding your driveway of that unsightly oil stain.
If the oil stain on concrete is still wet, first use a paper towel to soak up as much of it as you can. Then, spray your target area with a generous amount of WD-40 and let it sit for five minutes. Next, wipe it good with an old rag.
That alone may solve your problem, but if not, pour dish soap on what’s left of the stain and some hot water over the dish soap. Scrub the stain with a bristle brush and then, for good measure, pour a bucket of boiling water over the area. After it dries, your stain should be a thing of the past.
How to remove oil stains from driveway is a question that many homeowners have, and we hope you are able to put these tips to good use. Keep in mind that you will want to experiment with different solutions to see what works best for you. It may take some trial and error to discover the best way to eliminate oil stains from your concrete driveway. Imagine how good it will feel being able to cross off “clean oil off driveway” from your to-do list.
Now that you know how to remove oil stains from driveway, you may wish to consider having your driveway sealed, which would prevent you in the future from spending your weekend trying to remove oil stains from your driveway. Most driveway contractors, according to Angie’s List, charge between $.08 and $.16 per square foot to seal your driveway.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Burligame a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area.