Question

What is the best product to use to get oil off my driveway?

Asked by Della Barrett
Clermont, FL

I have used cat litter and scrubbed it prior. My friend's car has been leaking oil for some time.

Answer

Randy Potter

Answered by Randy Potter

Santa Clara, CA

EarthBound Homes

November 19, 2010

Unfortunately, the only way to get oil off concrete is to scrub it off. There are many things that you can use to help loosen the oil and/or break it down before you scrub it, but anything that you use is going to require some agitation in order to completely loosen it from the pores of the concrete.

There are several non-chemical things that you can try which will help break up the oil; one of them is the kitty litter that you have already tried. Others include:

  • cola (Pepsi/Coke),
  • baking soda,
  • automatic dishwashing or clothes-washing detergent (powder),
  • Simple Green or Murphy's Oil Soap (or other non-solvent grease cutters),
  • peat moss or any other like material with absorbent qualities.

There are also many commercial products on the market specifically for breaking up oil stains. However, they all will contain some type of grease-cutting solvent that will offgas all sorts of nasty stuff. I would use one of these as a last resort if indeed none of the more "natural" alternatives work for you.

You can also try using a pressure washer after cutting the oil with one of the aforementioned soaps or solvents; this might cut through the tougher stains that you are unable to scrub up.

Your best alternative is to not allow the oil to get to the concrete by putting something down to catch the drips. An oil pan works best; you can even fill it with a thin layer of kitty litter to absorb the oil and prevent it from being tracked around.

 

For more information:

Read Rick Goyette's Q&A "What are the green options for driveways?"

Tagged In: cleaning

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