How To Clean Off Oil Spills on the Driveway or Cement

If your car is leaking it can leave unsightly oil spills on your driveway or cemented garage flooring. Not only are they unsightly, they can pose danger on someone who may step on them and fall. They are also great dust and dirt magnets. Concrete can resist most liquid but when it is left for a long period of time it can seep through the surface and leave a stain. Here are some tips on how to clean off oil spills on the driveway or cement.

  • If the oil spill is quite new blot out most of the spill with sheets of newspapers until you have soaked up most of the oil. Spray the area with water and squirt some dishwashing soap on the stain. Make sure the area around the oil spot as well as where the water will run is wet to prevent the remaining oil from staining other areas. Use a stiff nylon brush to work a good lather and scrub the area vigorously. If there is not too much oil, you can safely let it flow down your yard but it the amount of oil that has been spilled is quite large, you may consider blotting the suds and water and the emulsified oil with newspapers and dispose of them safely. Wash of the remaining soap with clean water and mop the area dry.
  • Sprinkle a thick layer of cat litter over the oil spill and leave it on for a few hours or overnight. This will absorb most of the oil and you can sweep the cat litter and place them in a trash bag for proper disposal. For heavy oil spills spread some sheets of newspapers over the cat litter to absorb more of the oil. Leave them overnight and scrape them off the spot the following day. Replace the cat litter with powdered detergent and dampen it a bit to create a thick paste. Cover it with newspaper and leave it overnight. In the morning scrape off most of the detergent paste but leave enough that you can wet and work into a good lather. Use a stiff nylon brush to scrub over the oil spill and the surrounding area. The detergent will lift the remaining oil on the cement or driveway. Rinse the area with running water. You may see a darker spot where the oil spill was but it will gradually fade. Alternatively you can use sand or fine sawdust to lift off as much of the spilled oil as you can.
  • Kerosene is also a good oil emulsifier. After you have removed most of the oil that have spilled on the driveway pour kerosene over the spot and let it stay for at least thirty minutes. Be sure to wear work gloves and a facemask when working with chemicals. Use a stiff brush to work the kerosene into the spot and blot it off with newspapers. Dispose of these properly. Rinse the spot with soap and water to remove the traces and the smell of kerosene.

Do not let the oil spill sit on the concrete for a long period of time to prevent the oil from entering the minute pores on the concrete surface. If your car is leaking place a drip pan underneath your car engine to catch any oil drip and have your car checked by a mechanic to repair the leak. Consider using alternative and safer methods to clean the oil spills before considering the use of chemical degreasers to help save the environment.


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