The appearance of your driveway often makes your home’s first impression, so it’s very important that it not present the world with an array of unsightly oil stains. What can you do to remove oil stains from your driveway?
In this article, we explore this question and offer 5 good solutions. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- How Do You Clean Oil Stains From Concrete Surfaces?
- It’s Not Just Oil Stains That Cause Problems
- Keep Your Driveway Free Of Automotive Stains
How Do You Clean Oil Stains From Concrete Surfaces?
Depending upon the length of time that has passed and the severity of the stain, there are a number of ways to remove oil stains from your driveway without using costly, dangerous, harmful chemicals.
Remember that it’s always best to treat oil stains promptly. The quicker you can get the oil up, the more success you will have.
Here are five ways to remove oil stains from concrete. Remember that you can use one or all sequentially.
1. Use kitty litter or baking soda on fresh oil stains.
- Cover the stain completely with baking soda or kitty litter.
- Allow the product to sit and soak up the oil for a minimum of thirty minutes.
- Sweep the product up.
- Use a stiff bristle brush and laundry or dish detergent to scrub the stain.
- Rinse with hot water.
You may need to repeat this treatment a couple of times. If it’s a very stubborn stain, you may wish to initially leave the product in place overnight before sweeping and scrubbing.
Note that if you plan to leave the product overnight, and you have a lot of loose cats in your neighborhood, you should choose to use baking soda rather than kitty litter for obvious reasons.
2. Try concentrated laundry or dish detergent treatment.
If treatment #1 didn’t work, try covering the stain with good quality, full strength laundry or dish detergent. Be sure to use detergent, not soap. Detergent is more effective against oil.
Scrub it into the concrete using a stiff bristled brush. Allow the product to sit on the stain for a minimum of one hour and then wash it away with very hot water. Repeat as needed.
3. Use WD-40 (which is actually a solvent) to remove the stain.
You can used WD-40 the same way you would use dish or laundry detergent. Apply it liberally over the stain, scrub it in, allow it to sit for an hour and then wash it away with very hot water. Follow up with cat litter or baking soda to soak up the WD-40 residue.
4. Concrete cleaner is perfect for cleaning concrete!
It goes without saying that a product specifically designed to clean concrete would probably do the best job. Even so, if you don’t happen to have concrete cleaner sitting around, you may be able to remove your concrete stain just fine using the methods outlined above.
If cleaning the oil stains off your concrete using household products doesn’t work, invest in a good concrete cleaner, available at your local hardware or home improvement store.
Follow label instructions carefully, and always remember that the label is the law with potentially dangerous and toxic products.
5. Power wash it!
After using techniques 1-4 to remove your oil stains, you may also wish to rent a power washer to give your whole driveway a good cleaning.
This can help to get rid of any stubborn residuals of stains, and it is also an excellent idea at the end of winter/start of spring to get salt and other snow melt products off the concrete to minimize the damage they can do.
Check out the video below for additional tips:
It’s Not Just Oil Stains That Cause Problems
It may be difficult to avoid having your car leak all over your driveway, but cleaning up after it really isn’t as hard as you might imagine.
In addition to motor oil, lots of other automotive fluids can make your driveway look bad. The first step to driveway concrete stain removal is identifying the stain.
- Motor oil stains are pretty easy to identify. They are black and greasy and should be cleaned up promptly. The longer the oil stays on the concrete, the harder it will be to remove the stains. Additionally, puddles of oil on your concrete can result in oily footprints up your front path and into your house!
- Gasoline stains are a serious matter. If you see a gas stain on your driveway, you’ll need to have your vehicle looked at by a mechanic very quickly. A car or truck that leaks gas is dangerous. Gasoline is damaging to the environment and highly flammable!
Luckily, this is just about the only scenario in which gas will have a chance to sit on your driveway. If you happen to spill gas while filling up your lawn mower or some other gas powered implement, just be sure to clean it up right away before it has a chance to soak in.
- If your vehicle leaks transmission fluid onto your driveway, that’s another sign you should make a trip to your local mechanic, but it’s not quite as urgent as the leaked gas example. If you see red, greasy stains on your driveway, that is transmission fluid. Don’t let it sit there for long. The more time elapses, the deeper it will soak in and the harder it will be to remove.
In addition to oily products, salt products and other substances used for ice removal can cause staining and damage to your driveway and other concrete surfaces. Luckily, there are good ways to remove these products at winter’s end to prevent this damage.
Keep Your Driveway Free Of Automotive Stains
Whether your driveway is spotted and stained by gas, oil, transmission or brake fluid or damages done by snow melt products, it is possible to clean it up and keep it clean.
Follow the tips presented here to make quick work of stubborn driveway stains. Doing so will improve both the curb appeal and the value of your home.