How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete

How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete

There are few things as disheartening as seeing a big oil stain under your vehicle. An oil stain under your car or truck means two things. First, you are probably in for an expensive auto repair and second, you will have an ugly oil stain to clean up on your driveway.

There are several methods that can be used to clean up oil stains on your concrete driveway. While an oil spill that has already dried does not represent a health threat, it may lower the value of your home if you are trying to sell. The sight of a fresh, clean driveway is just one of the factors that keeps the value of a home up.

The method and ingredients you use to clean it up will depend on the age of the spill itself. This means that you should use the right ingredients to remove the oil depending on its age.


Yes, a simple detergent can clean up an oil spill quite nicely, particularly if it is a new, fresh spill. The longer an oil spill sits on the concrete, the more it will become a permanent stain. In using a detergent you will have to get to the stain fairly early, using a sponge to soak up the oil and as scrub brush to remove it from the concrete itself.


Concrete Cleaner or Degreaser

There are specific detergents that are made to clean up oil spills. These types of detergents are more expensive, but they contain a concentrated form of alkaline soap that will loosen up the oil from the concrete. However, like their standard detergent counterparts these can only be used if the spill is fairly fresh. Plus, they are also more effective on the more porous types of concretes as opposed to the harder, denser types typical of more expensive driveways.

Kitty Litter

Kitty litter certainly seems to have a lot of uses and cleaning up oil spills is one of them. The is especially true of the really cheap type of kitty litter that is generally really absorbent. Simply mix some cheap kitty litter with an effective solvent such as lacquer thinner, acetone and the like and smear it over the oil stain. You’ll want to cover the entire thing with plastic so that it can go to work and not be a danger to children or animals. The solvent will break down the oil and the kitty litter will absorb it over time. It is a very time consuming process, but you can pull up deep oil stains very cheaply by using this method.


One of the most recent advancements in cleaning up oil stains is the use of microorganisms that actually feed on oil. These microorganisms can be found in oceans and actually thrive on consuming oil. The enzymes and oxygen they use to digest the oil is then turned into carbon dioxide and to create even more microorganisms. Once their food source is gone, the organisms die and leave behind a clean, oil-free surface.

Using one or more of these methods will remove the oil stains from your driveway and leave it clean and free of oil.