How to Remove Oil Stains from Your Driveway

  • July 26, 2019
  • / By Dale Keese
Oil Stain

Oil stains on your driveway or the garage floor can be unsightly and take away from the beauty of your home. It is very important that you remove any oil from your concrete driveway before sealing, resurfacing or staining the concrete, otherwise, the oil will seep back via the surface and completely ruin your decorative treatment.

Oil Stain

It is quite possible that while filling up your car, snowblower or lawnmower or if your car is leaking, your driveway may have got stained. And, fluids such as gasoline, oil and transmission fluid can leave a stain on your concrete driveway or garage floor. Oil stains are particularly difficult to remove and no amount of pressure washing or scrubbing can eliminate the stain. Also, how difficult it is to remove the oil stain is determined by the age and size of the stain.

It may take some trial and error to discover which is the best method of how to remove oil stains from your driveway. In our article, we have discussed some tried and tested ways that can help to remove the stubborn oil stains. And, with a bit of effort and patience, you can learn how to remove oil stains from your driveway.

Since oil is a liquid, it keeps spreading and must be stopped. Once it stops spreading, the oil begins to dry up and if left attended for a long time, it can create a bigger mess. So, you must act quickly. You can use talcum or baby powder to remove the oil stains from your driveway. The powder absorbs and soaks up the oil without you requiring to touch it.

Powder in Jar

First, blot the excess oil using paper towels, a sponge or an absorbent cloth. Then sprinkle the powder on the oil and let it settle into the stain. When the oil has been soaked up by the powder, brush the powder off. If the stain has not gone away completely, repeat the process until the stain is removed. Then wash the area with water and mild detergent. You can also make use of corn starch instead of talcum or baby powder.

Cat Litter

However old the oil stain may be or even if it appears to be set in permanently, several oil stains still retain some moist residue. You will be quite surprised to know that cat litter is highly absorbent and is very effective in mopping up oil spills that enables you to remove the oil stain completely.

Cat litter is essentially a mixture of clay minerals that are highly absorbent and can absorb water equal to their weight. However, expensive cat litter contains perfumes and tends to clump up and thus, is not helpful in removing the oil; so, the trick is to use cheap cat litter to work its magic.

If the oil stain is very recent or light, pour the cat litter on it and allow it to sit on the stain for around 15-20 minutes. However, if there is a lot of wet oil or if the oil stain is very large, then let the cat litter sit on the oil overnight. Then, sweep up the litter. If the stain is still moist, then repeat the entire process. However, you must take care not to reuse this cat litter and throw it away. Finally, wash the area with a hard bristle brush and a concentrated detergent and rinse with clean water.

Sawdust and Paint Thinner

Paint thinners are essentially solvents that are used for thinning oil-based paints and sawdust is a great absorbent that helps to soak up the oil and makes it very easy to clean. And, mixing both sawdust and paint thinner can give great results. Mix the sawdust and paint thinner until the sawdust is damp.


Spread the sawdust over the oil stain for around 20-30 minutes. Sweep the sawdust away and check. If the stain does not get removed, then repeat the process again.


Even though you may have hundreds of detergent brands on the market, practically all of them use the same technique to fight stains. Explained in molecular terms, one end of the detergent molecule adheres to the grease, while the other end sticks to the water molecule.

When you use water to rinse the area, the water molecule carries away the grease leaving the area clean. So, using detergents, especially heavy-duty liquid detergents are ideal to remove oil and grease stains from your driveway.

Spray the detergent directly on the oil stain or work the detergent into it. Wash the area with regular detergent and rinse with clean water. If the stain remains, repeat the process again. You can also make use of powdered detergent to remove the stains. Pour the hot water on the detergent and scrub the stain vigorously with a stiff bristle or a steel brush for a few minutes and then rinse the area with warm water or using a garden hose.

Coca Cola

While people around the world love drinking Coca Cola, there are other uses for the beverage too. Coke is popularly used as a cleaner and stain remover for removing rust and bloodstains, cleaning tiles, and toilets. Coke is also excellent to remove oil stains from clothes and concrete driveways too.

Soft Drink

So, how to remove oil stains from your driveway using Coca Cola? Pour around 60 ml or two cans of Coke onto the oil stain. Let it sit for a day and wash it off using water. Using Coke is probably the easiest and most inexpensive method to remove oil stains from your driveway.


You could use a poultice made up of a chemical solvent or a cleaner and an absorbent material like talc or sawdust, which are mixed and made into a thick paste. The cleaner or solvent helps to separate the stain and the absorbent will soak up the oil causing the stain.

Use finely ground diatomaceous earth, fuller’s earth, whiting, hydrated lime or talc and mix it with a solvent made of soap solution (soap with hot water) to this powder to make a thick poultice. Soak the oil stain with water and spread the poultice on the stain. Ensure that you cover the area beyond the stain too. Once the poultice dries. Scrape it or brush it off with a stiff brush. If the stain has not cleared up, then repeat the process all over again.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has uses other than just being used for baking. It is a great deodorant, helps to extinguish fires and is also a great cleaner. You can use baking soda in two ways to remove oil stains from your driveway.

  • Pour baking soda on the oil spill and wait for a while for the oil to be absorbed. Then rinse the area with clean water. If the stain is not removed, repeat the process again.
  • Sprinkle some baking soda on the oil stain and using a wet brush, scrub the area. Rinse thoroughly with clean water using a garden hose or a bucket.

Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Vegetable Oil

If your car has leaked oil all night on your driveway, you could find all that you need to remove the oil stains right in your kitchen. Get some baking soda, vinegar, vegetable oil, pieces of cloth and sponges and follow the steps below.

Distilled White Vinegar
  • Pour the vinegar on the oil and let it rest for a few minutes.
  • Wipe the surface with a cloth. If the oil remains, put baking soda on a wet sponge and scrub the area.
  • Then, wipe the surface clean thoroughly with a wet cloth. If the oil stain still remains, then a valuable point to remember is that grease counters grease.
  • Pour some vegetable oil on a paper napkin and scrub the stained area.
  • Lastly, repeat the previous two steps with the vinegar and baking soda.
Front Yard in Autumn

Oil spills are quite unsightly and probably the most stubborn stains to remove and so, you must act quickly in case there has been a spill on your driveway. The more time you wait, the harder it will get to remove the stains. Some stains may be difficult to remove easily and thus, it may be a good idea to use more than one method.

Now that you have learned how to remove oil stains from your driveway, it may be worthwhile to seal your driveway to prevent oil stains in the future and save time, effort and money.