Don’t Cry Over Spilled Oil

Jim Bauer Home Maintenance and Repair

Driveways and garages aren’t just a place to park your car. Auto maintenance, hobbies, and even children’s playtime can all happen there. With that much use, it’s not uncommon for an occasional mishap to occur. If you need to know how to remove oil stains from your driveway, or any other common stain, keep reading. As always, remember to wear appropriate protective gear and follow the directions on any commercial products.

Oil

Let’s start with the big one: how to remove oil stains from your driveway. As with any stain, it is best to get it while it’s still fresh.

  • Cover the spot with something to absorb the excess oil. Clay kitty litter, cornstarch, baking soda, or cornmeal are good options. You could also use a commercial product made for this purpose.
  • Leave the absorber on for at least an hour or two or follow the instructions on the package.
  • When the excess liquid has been absorbed, sweep or scoop up the material and dispose of it in an appropriate container with a lid.

You can deal with a left over stain in one of the following ways. If you are looking to try to get rid of an old or dried stain and don’t have anything to absorb, try one of these methods. Use a stiff brush for scrubbing.

  • Wet stain and scrub with a baking soda and water paste.
  • Wet stain and scrub with a grease-cutting liquid dish soap or paste made from powdered dishwasher soap.
  • Spray stain with lubricant like WD-40 and rinse thoroughly.
  • Apply engine degreaser and rinse thoroughly.
  • Wash with commercial concrete or driveway cleaner.
  • If you need something stronger try TSP (trisodium phosphate) solution. It is usually used to prep surfaces for painting, so it is widely available. It’s a very strong cleaner, so observe those safety precautions!

Gasoline

Now you know how to remove oil stains from your driveway, but what about gasoline? Gasoline spills are common and the smell can really linger. Treat the stain as you would oil. Kitty litter or baking soda will not only absorb the liquid, but the odor too.

Sidewalk chalk, crayons, or paint

Most kid’s art supplies and similar homemade recipes are easily washable. A good spray with the hose on the highest setting may be all that is needed. In the event that a little color is left behind, avoid a permanent stain by scrubbing with a little dish soap or Soft Scrub liquid cleanser and rinse.

Pet Urine

Clean up excess liquid with paper towels. Treatment with an enzyme cleaner such as OxiClean is most effective. Mix a solution in a spray bottle or make a paste. Let it sit for a few minutes, scrub with a scrub brush and rinse. For large areas a commercial driveway cleaner can also do the job.

Paint

Depending on the size of the spill, blot up wet paint or use an absorber such as kitty litter to soak up the excess liquid. If it’s dry, use a scrub brush or scraper to remove as much paint as possible. Apply paint stripper intended for the type of paint and give it time to work. Rinse with a pressure washer. Repeat if necessary.

Whether you’re wondering how to remove oil stains from your driveway or you have another type of stain to tackle, this task isn’t impossible. For large stained areas or stains that you just aren’t sure how to handle, it’s a good idea to call a professional.

Chemical Safety

Avoid a potentially serious problem by learning how to handle and store household chemicals.