Removing Driveway Oil Stains the Right Way

Parking in the driveway can allow your more space in your driveway, but unfortunately when cars are parked in the driveway oil stains are inevitable. No matter how old or new your car may be, it will likely leak some kind of stubborn oily liquid. But how are you supposed to clean those annoying stains from your driveway?


Lucky for you, we have a few answers. Whether you’re dealing with a fresh drip or an old set-in stain, there are a variety of methods you can use to treat and remove oil stains. If you’re looking for some easy remedies, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out what kind of tools and products you can use to clean up those pesky oil stains from your driveway.

Tips Before You Get Started


Before you start the cleaning process, there are a few things that you should keep in mind as you prepare:

  • Make sure you have all your tools and supplies ready before you get started so that you can get things cleaned up as quickly as possible. Here are a few of the things you may want to include: a stiff and heavy-duty scrub brush, rubber gloves, a large bucket and cleaning products of choice (we’ll give you some options below!)
  • Remember that oil is highly flammable, so make sure to dispose of any tools you used to clean up. Do this or clean any tools you used very thoroughly before putting them away.
  • If your driveway has any incline you should start the cleaning process at the highest point and work down. This is so that the residue that is washed away doesn’t sink back into the concrete as you clean.
  • Be sure to read the instructions on any cleaning product you may use, many concrete cleaners can have a bit of a learning curve involved.
  • Be sure to keep kids and pets away from the area while you’re cleaning. Both the oil and the products you may be using can be toxic and bad for even the plants around your driveway.


Methods of Cleaning Oil Stains


1. Cat Litter

sack of cat Litter

Turns out cat litter is a pretty effective product when it comes to cleaning up oil spills and stains. Because it is so absorbent, it makes quick work of catching an soaking up fresh oil spills. Here’s how to use cat litter to clean oil:

  • Open up a bag of litter and pour a generous amount over the spill or stain.
  • Leave the litter to soak up the oil for about half an hour or more for larger spills and stains.
  • Once the litter has been left for some time, grab a broom and sweep the litter away and check on the state of the stain.

Cat litter is great at absorbing, but oil can still stain underneath it. If the stain persists, we suggest using another one of the methods below to further treat and remove the stain.


2. Dish Soap & Baking Soda

If you’re looking to remove a more set-in stain form your driveway or garage, dish soap and baking soda may be exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s the best way to utilize these household products to clean up oil stains:

  • Pour a generous amount of baking soda directly onto the stain and allow it to set for about half an hour.
  • Once the baking soda has had some time to work, add some water to make a paste and use a stiff brush to scrub the paste into the stain for about 2 minutes.
  • After scrubbing the paste into the stain, add more water and then pour a small amount of dish soap onto the stain.
  • Use the brush to scrub the stain with the soap and water until the stain has been removed. You may need to add more soap or water during the process.

3. Laundry Detergent

Using a powdered laundry detergent to clean up oil stains can get similar results as the previous method. It is also a similar process, here’s what to do:

  • Pour a generous amount of powdered laundry detergent directly onto the stain an add a small amount of water to make a paste.
  • Use a stiff bristled brush to scrub the paste into the stain and then leave the paste on the stain for about 20 minutes.
  • Once the stain has had time to work, scrub the paste for another minute or more and then rinse the paste from the stain.

Remember that this method works the best when you use a powdered laundry detergent, but you can use liquid detergent if you don’t have powder available. Simply use the liquid detergent as you would dish soap and allow the soap to set into the stain for a few minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.


4. WD-40A can of WD-40 Spray on white background

You know that can of WD-40 sitting in your garage? Well, its time to finally put it to use to clean up oil stains. Here’s how to use America’s favorite solvent to treat oil stains:

  • First, make sure that any excess oil has been soaked up if the stain is fresh.
  • Once any excess oil has been removed, spray a generous amount of WD-40 onto the stain.
  • Use a stiff bristled brush (or wire brush if you have one) to scrub the lubricant into the stain and then leave it to set for about 10 minutes.
  • Once the WD-40 has been left to work, use your hose or a pressure washer to clear the affected area and check the state of the stain.

If there is still traces of the stain left behind after cleaning with WD-40, use some dish soap to scrub at the stain and remove any residue.


5. Sawdust & Paint-Thinner

This particular method may seem strange and a little random, but trust us when we say that its super effective. Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself! Here’s what to do:

  • Combine some dry sawdust with a bit of paint thinner to make a thick paste.
  • Spread the paste onto the stain and leave it to settle into the area for about half an hour or longer.
  • You can remove and add fresh paste once it has dried or simply rinse it away and clean the area with some dish soap and hot water.


6. Concrete Cleaner


man cleaning with a high pressure water cleaner


If you’re unsure of how effective the previous methods could be and would rather work with a cleaning product, that’s okay too. Here are a few things to keep in mind when working with a concrete cleaner:

  • Remember to read any and all directions very thoroughly as you will likely be working with harsh chemicals.
  • Wear gloves and other protective clothing when working with any chemical cleaners.
  • Make sure any kids and pets in your home are kept away from the cleaning area and also ensure that any plants around yoru driveway are protected from the chemical cleaner.
  • You can use these cleaning products with pressure washing equipment or simply wash away the cleaner with your hose.
  • Be sure to clean the area with soap and water after using any chemical cleaners to make sure there is no chemical residue left behind.




Oil leaks or drops from the car's engine


Are oil stains on driveways permanent?

Oil stains are stubborn and difficult to remove from concrete driveways, but not impossible. With good products and a stiff scrub brush, you should be able to treat and remove oil stains with ease.


What is the best product to remove oil stains from concrete?

When looking for the best formulated cleaning product to treat and remove oil stains, products like Simple Green or Pour-N-Restore are highly rated and effective chemical cleaners.


How do you remove oil stains naturally?

The best natural methods for removing oil stains are with cat litter and or baking soda. You can combine both of these with dish soap or laundry detergent for added degreasing and stain fighting abilities.


Do you have any tips and tricks for removing oil stains from your driveway? Have you tried any of the methods we mentioned and want to share something you learned? Leave a comment and tell us what you think! We love hearing from you.


If you’re looking for some stain fighting power around the inside of your home, we can help with that! Check out Cleanzen in Houston to see what kind of services we have available to choose from. Contact us today to find out how we can help you keep your home looking and feeling fresh all year long.


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