No matter how careful you are or how hard you try, eventually oil stains magically appear on your concrete driveway or sidewalk. Obviously, the stains did not appear there by some magical feat, nor are they going to disappear by feats of magic.
Fortunately for consumers, several commercial products have been designed to clean and degrease your concrete floors, driveways, and sidewalks. Unfortunately, many of these products contain acid. This one simple ingredient alone makes the task of using a commercial degreaser a bit of a challenge.
If you prefer not to use a commercial product for whatever reasons, other options are available to remove or at least to lighten oil stains on your concrete surfaces. Read the following suggestions for less toxic solutions to your oil dilemma.
Strategies for Removing or Lightening Oil Stains
Kitty Litter to the Rescue - Kitty or cat litter has almost as many uses as cats have lives. If you have a fresh oil spill, then you can sprinkle a healthy dose of kitty litter onto it. Allow the litter to sit overnight so that it will absorb the oil as it soaks into the litter. In the morning, sweep up the kitty litter. The oil is now absorbed into the litter and will be swept away. Unfortunately, if you did not place enough litter onto the oil spill, you may have to repeat the process.
WD-40 - Spray the oil spill liberally with the WD-40. Immediately use a rag to wipe up the mess. Place the rag inside a bag and throw it away. Repeat this process once if it hasn't met your expectations.
Baking Soda or Dishwasher Detergent Bath - For this method, you will need to lightly wet the area with water first. Sprinkle the area liberally with baking soda or dishwasher detergent. Allow the area to sit undisturbed for several minutes. While you are waiting, boil a pot of water.
Once the water is piping hot, pour it over the area, taking the proper precautions not to burn or scald yourself with the water. Once the water has cooled sufficiently to avoid any scalding, scrub the area with a scrubbing brush that has stiff bristles. Repeat this step as many times as you need in order to achieve the results that you want.
Handy Reminder Tips
Purchase a small bag of cat litter and store it in the garage for fresh oil spills.
Kitty or cat litter absorbs odors as well. Use it on antifreeze spills in a similar process.
Purchase a box of baking soda and store it in the garage for easy access.
Purchase some rags that can be stored in the garage for easy use in wiping up spills.
You now have the knowhow to eliminate pesky oil stains from your concrete driveway. Feel free to park your car with reckless abandon! If you need to clean oil stains from brick, here is our guide.