3 ways to clean an engine oil stain from your driveway

3 ways to clean an engine oil stain from your driveway
3 ways to clean an engine oil stain from your driveway

It is inevitable to find oil or grease stains on a private driveway. Know that there are different ways to make them disappear. We often start by cleaning the area with baking soda or dish soap mixed with hot water. You can then use a wire brush for small spots. For the most extensive stains, on concrete, we use a degreaser sold in the trade and always a wire brush. Finally, if you are a big fan of saving nature, you can use an enzymatic cleaner, which will break down the oil and leave no dangerous residue behind.


Method 1 of 3: Prepare the aisle and purchase the supplies

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Step 1. Know the best cleaning solution

Depending on the type of floor and stains, different cleaning methods will be used.

Choose a method

For a fresh oil stain or an encrusted stain: apply the "poultice" method.

For a small stain: take a simple household cleaner to remove the stain.

For a big stain: Buy a specific degreaser or enzymatic cleaner to clean the oil.

Clean Oil Off a Driveway Step 2

Step 2. Borrow or purchase all necessary supplies

In case of purchase, you will find everything in a large DIY store or on the Internet. Depending on the type of soil and stains, different supplies will be used.

Items Needed

For small spots:

1) a detergent, baking soda, vinegar, soap, dish soap, or laundry detergent 2) a bucket of water or a garden hose 3) a wire brush or a stiff-bristled broom.

For small stubborn stains:

apply the "poultice" method, 1) kitty litter 2) acetone, varnish thinner or xylene 3) a piece of plastic large enough to cover the stained area, a wire brush or broom- stiff bristle brush.

For large spots:

1) a specific degreaser or enzymatic cleaner 2) a bucket of water or a garden hose 3) a wire brush or a stiff-bristled broom.

For fresh stains: for such a stain, or if you expect more leaks, consider having a packet of baking soda or kitty litter in your garage to avoid surprises.

Clean Oil Off a Driveway Step 3

Step 3. Wear protective clothing and equipment

In case of handling chemicals, this is more than advisable. Wear goggles or eye protection to avoid toxic splashes and vapors. Buy thick latex gloves from a DIY area that will come in handy when scrubbing with the brush. If you have one, put on overalls or, failing that, clothes that cover all the skin and that you don't care if they are stained or have holes in them.

Step 4. Take Precautions

Keep children and pets away when working with chemicals. Always have the number of the poison control center in your area handy. On this site, you will find all the numbers of poison control centers in France: they are reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Step 5. Wash the stained area thoroughly

Clean it thoroughly with water (from a hose or bucket). Before tackling the actual stains, the area should be thoroughly cleaned to remove dust and other debris. If you are using a hose, there is no need to send water under pressure, the oil or grease will only become more encrusted in the soil of your driveway.

Method 2 of 3: Clean small spots

Step 1. Pour your cleanser over the stained area

The latter must be completely covered with either a powder or liquid product. By cleaner, we mean certain products that we all have at home, such as sodium bicarbonate, vinegar, soap, dishwashing liquid or even laundry. Leave the product on for 15 to 30 minutes.

Step 2. To scrub with the brush, use hot water

While the product is working, heat water in a large pot. You can also fill your bucket with very hot tap water. Pour a little hot water on the stain and scrub vigorously with a wire brush or broom. Scrub for a few minutes, then rinse with your remaining hot water or a garden hose.

Repeat if the stain is not completely gone. Wait 24 hours to see if the oil stain is gone. Sometimes oil resurfaces due to capillary action. If this happened, you would have to start the operation again

Step 3. A "poultice" can be used on small, encrusted spots

It is very effective on still fresh stains, as the absorbent material will be able to soak up most of the oil spilled accidentally. If this mixture works well on small stains, even encrusted, the result is less guaranteed on large stains, especially on raw concrete.

How to prepare a poultice

Take a sealant:

check that your driveway is not covered with a sealant. This layer may be damaged by the components of the poultice.

Use absorbent material and solvent:

combine an absorbent material such as sawdust, kitty cat litter or baking soda with a solvent such as acetone, varnish thinner or xylene until a paste is obtained thick. The components will interact to remove the stain, and the solvent will break down the oil which will be absorbed by the chosen material.

Apply the paste:

spread the material on the stain to a thickness of about 1 cm.

Cover and apply an adhesive strip:

it will be necessary to cover the poultice with a plastic film, and to keep it in place with an adhesive band. You can kick it to force the mixture into the cracks in the coating.

Wait 24 hours:

wait a day for the mixture to work. Then remove the plastic, sweep up the residue and get rid of the whole thing. Wash the surface with a garden hose or using a bucket.

Step 4. Pour Coca-Cola or Pepsi on the stained areas

It's up to you to see the ideal quantity! Then leave on for 24 hours. Of all the methods, it is the cheapest and the easiest to implement. The next day, rinse your surface with plenty of water with a bucket or a garden hose. If the stains haven't gone away, try another method.

Method 3 of 3: Clean large stains

Step 1. Apply the correct amount of degreaser

These commercial products have been specially designed to remove traces of oil without damaging the coatings. They are ready to use, powerful and act quickly. They certainly attack oil and grease stains, but also encrusted dust. Before operating, read the conditions of use and the safety instructions on the packaging.

  • Leave on for one to three minutes or follow the manufacturer's advice on the packaging.
  • For more encrusted stains, it is possible to leave the product to act a little longer. In any case, do not let the product dry on the spot.
  • For less marked stains, you can dilute your degreaser with water (up to 5 volumes of water for one volume of product).

Step 2. Vigorously rub the stains

Do it with a wire brush, stiff bristles or a broom. After putting on your thick latex gloves, scrub your surface vigorously with a brush. Leave the product to act for another 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse well with a garden hose or plenty of water from a bucket. Repeat as needed.

Repeat if the stains are not completely gone. Wait 24 hours to see if the oil or grease marks are gone. Sometimes oil resurfaces due to capillary action. If this happened, you would have to start the operation again

Step 3. Test the next generation cleaners

Bacterial or enzymatic cleaners are very effective on oil stains. In addition to their efficiency, they respect the environment. The prices are variable, but for ten euros, you will have a bottle of one liter. These cleaners are, for example, used to disperse oil from oil spills. These microscopic organisms, because they are single-celled, "eaters" of hydrocarbons, certainly clean the oil on the surface, but can, thanks to their small size, penetrate into the cells of the cement to dislodge the oil, without leaving toxic residues. There is no shortage of online manufacturers: Pmc-Hygiène or A2cm.

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