If you have a concrete driveway, there’s a good chance it has had oil stains at one time or another.
Ideally, the best time to tackle an oil stain on your concrete driveway is immediately, or at least as soon as possible, as the stain is easier to remove the sooner you attend to it.
However, there are many cases in which those oil stains are not noticed right away, or you can’t get to them for a while, so they have a chance to set in before anyone attempts to remove them.
Now you need to know how to remove old oil stains from a concrete driveway.
It’s important to remove the oil stains; otherwise, the oil will seep through to the surface and ruin your concrete.
Removing older oil stains requires some creative thinking, patience, and the right tools to get the job done.
Items You’ll Need
In this section, we’ll list and discuss the items you’ll need to remove old oil stains from a concrete driveway.
We’ll provide any alternatives as options for each item, when applicable.
Clay-Based Cat Litter Or A Similar Absorbent
Keep a bucket of clay-based cat litter, or a similar absorbent such as sawdust, cornmeal, cornstarch, or a sweeping compound, in the garage or nearby.
I found this one on Amazon and it has really good reviews.
The clay absorbent in the clay-based cat litter, or similar substance, draws any oil out of the stain.
A Soft Nylon Brush Or Soft Broom And Dustpan (With A Plastic Bag)
A soft nylon brush or a soft broom and a dustpan are used to sweep away the kitty litter once it’s absorbed all the oil and the plastic bag is for disposal.
Do not use wire brush bristles because they’ll scratch the concrete.
Liquid Dish Soap Or Alternative
A liquid dish soap, such as Dawn, which has grease-cutting capabilities, is preferred.
Alternatives to dish soap are laundry detergent or baking soda.
A garden hose, hot water, or a pressure washer are used to wash away soap or moisten pastes for various treatments.
A Degreaser Specifically Made For Concrete
A degreaser specifically made for concrete, such as Oil Eater Original Cleaner Degreaser, which I found on Amazon.
There are many others out there – look at your concrete manufacturer’s recommendations before selecting the appropriate degreaser.
A Microbial Cleaner For Concrete
A microbial cleaner for concrete, such as Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner Bio-Remediates & Removes Oil & Grease Stains on Concrete and Asphalt Driveways.
Microbial cleaners use single-celled microorganisms, enzymes, and oxygen to eat up the oil turning it into carbon dioxide and more microorganisms, basically digesting the entire oil stain – old or new.
The key with microbial cleaners is to have patience, as it can take 1 to 4 applications and anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to completely remove a stain.
Lacquer Thinner is used to make a poultice, mixed with an absorbent material such as clay-based cat litter or sawdust.
One or two cans of Coca-Cola, depending on the size of the stain.
Coca-Cola is a great stain remover due to its high acidity.
Step By Step Instructions For How To Remove Old Oil Stains From A Concrete Driveway
#1 Dampen The Area With Warm Water Or Degreaser (Optional)
If an Oil Stain is fresh, the first step is typically to mop up any excess oil, however in an older oil stain that has already dried up, there isn’t usually any excess oil.
It may make it easier to implement the rest of the steps if you start by dampening the stained area using a soft nylon brush and warm water or a degreaser made for concrete.
This step is optional since it’s okay to start with step #2 if preferred.
#2 Clay-Based Cat Litter Combined With A Degreaser Or Lacquer Thinner
Cover the stained area with either a degreaser made for concrete or lacquer thinner.
Add a layer of clay-based cat litter, or an alternative from the items list, and use something solid such as a brick to crush the granules, mixing them with the degreaser or lacquer thinner.
#3 Let It Sit
Let the stained area sit overnight, covered with the kitty litter.
#4 Sweep Excess Litter Up
Use a soft nylon brush (no wire bristles) or a soft broom and a dustpan to sweep up the litter, degreaser, or lacquer thinner, and any dissolved oil from the stained area.
Use the plastic bag to dispose of the contaminated waste.
#5 Liquid Dish Soap
Use a soft nylon brush to liberally apply liquid dish soap to the stained area, such as Dawn, or an alternative from the items list.
Let the dish soap sit on the stain overnight.
In the morning, scrub off the stained area with a soft nylon brush and rinse it off with hot water.
Repeat if necessary, otherwise, move on to step #6.
#6 Coca-Cola (Optional, If Necessary)
Pour a couple of cans of Coca-Cola over the stained area and let it sit overnight so the Coke can eat away at the oil stain.
In the morning, mix warm water and dish soap and pour it over the stained area to clean off the Coke and oil, followed by a rinse from the hose.
Check the stain, and proceed to step #7, if necessary.
#7 Degreaser Specifically Made For Concrete (Optional, If Necessary)
If your oil stain is extremely persistent, you may need a degreaser specifically made for the surface of your concrete; finding one was mentioned in the items list.
Once you’ve selected the appropriate degreaser for your concrete, follow the instructions on the package to remove the oil stain.
Check the stain, and proceed to step #8, if necessary.
#8 Microbial Cleaner (Optional, If Necessary)
A more recent technological development in oil stain removal is the microbial cleaner, which is microorganisms seeking out crude oil derivatives and gobbling them up, basically eating away the oil stain.
The items list details this process and mentions one out of many available on Amazon.
Once you’ve selected the appropriate remediator for your concrete, follow the instructions on the package to remove the oil stain.
Remember, this option will take time and patience more than effort as it could take up to 6 weeks to remove an old oil stain from a concrete driveway.
If the above steps still leave you with an oil stain on your concrete driveway, you may want to hire a professional contractor to remove the stain.
Commonly Asked Questions
Does WD-40 remove old oil stains from a concrete driveway?
-Yes, in some cases, it may help remove an old oil stain from a concrete driveway since WD-40 is a water displacement spray capable of soaking in and removing oil.
- Spray a liberal amount of WD-40 on the stained area and let it sit for at least 20 minutes before wiping it clean with a cloth.
Can oven cleaner remove oil from concrete?
-Yes, oven cleaner is used to remove oil stains from concrete driveways and garage floors.
A good oven cleaner that I found on Amazon is Easy Off.
- Spray the oil-stained area with oven cleaner.
- Let it sit for at least 5 – 10 minutes.
- Scrub the stained area with a nylon brush.
- Rinse the area with a garden hose set at its highest pressure.
- Repeat the process if necessary.
Have you enjoyed learning how to remove old oil stains from a concrete driveway?
Using common household ingredients and doing it yourself saves you a lot of money on professional cleaners and contractors, and you end up with the same results!