Wondering if you’ll ever be able to remove those ugly oil stains from your driveway? With a little trial and error, it is possible.
I recently had this same problem, and today want to share everything I’ve learned to help you get back that security deposit (if you’re renting) or just make everything look a lot better.
Step 1: Try to slow or stop the leak
You do have options for removing stains, but it’s best to first stop the bleeding! You don’t want oil on tires, vehicle panels, or your driveway, but doing nothing only makes things worse. Over time, you’ll start noticing small spots everywhere as I did.
Before you even attempt cleaning your driveway and to avoid more spots, move your car to the grass. Even if you park over something to prevent further damage, if the oil leak is severe, you can leave behind oil by just backing out.
There are a few products I’ll recommend later in this post to remove oil, but until you have them, it’s a good idea to protect your driveway if you can’t park on grass.
Step 2: Protect your driveway if moving your vehicle isn’t an option
Use an oil spill mat or plastic catch tray
If you have a car leaking oil currently, the best thing to do is to park over an oil spill mat like this one until you are able to get it fixed. I’ve tried everything, including an old carpet, an old plastic lid, and even an oil pan.
Some leaks are due to a bad rear main seal, others are a bit harder to diagnose. It’s good to have a mat to park on if you have an older vehicle even if you’ve stopped the leak to be safe. Stay away from cardboard or paper…oil will eventually leak through over time.
Be sure to weigh down the mat or collection device if you park outdoors; I’ve had the wind blow these away, and get oil everywhere!
Step 3: Prevent your car from leaking oil leak
To stop your car from leaking oil, it’s best to get it fixed, but a temporary solution is to try a good engine oil stop leak product.
How engine oil top leak products work
Engine oil stop leak products work by lubricating dry O rings and gaskets, causing them to swell up and return to their normal shape; this can help slow or stop the leak.
Even though oil stop leak products are a temporary solution to fixing the root cause of the leak, in my experience, they usually do help a bit.
Some vehicles tend to leak more than others (like my own Jeep), so it’s a good idea to have these bottles around in case it starts leaking again.
Step 4: Remove oil stains from your driveway
There are a lot of products you can use to remove oil spots; oil stains on the other hand are more difficult once set in. They aren’t impossible to remove though.
For most products applied, I’ve found applying the product liberally, using a brush, and waiting at least 24 hours is most effective. The more time these products have to absorb oil, the better.
Below are a few household products to remove spots if the oil is pretty fresh:
- Dish detergent: This works surprisingly well for a drop of two of oil. In my experience, it helps, but won’t remove set-in oil stains.
- Baking soda: Baking soda absorbs oil, just mix with water to a paste, and leave it overnight
- Kitty Litter: some have had success with this, best used as an absorbent in combination with a degreaser.
How to remove oil stains from concrete
For set-in stains, I’ve had luck with this product:
- Goof Off Oil Stain Remover – This product works wonders compared to anything else I’ve tried, and creates a chalky substance when dry; If the stain is severe, you can use a shop broom to work the chalky powder into the stain, leave it for 24 hours, and rinse everything off with a hose.
I applied this Goof Off product once (undiluted), and most of the stain had completely disappeared. With two applications I’d expect even better results. For about 12 bucks per bottle, pick up a couple of these if you’re treating the entire driveway.
How to remove oil stains from asphalt
To remove oil stains from an asphalt driveway, start with a basic household remedy like dish liquid, or baking soda for fresh stains. For set-in stains, you’ll want to use a dedicated asphalt cleaner like Sakrete or a product like Goof Off’s Oil Stain remover.
Sakrete may be used on asphalt and concrete, so give it a try.
Since asphalt is softer than concrete, you want to avoid leaving products on asphalt for a long period of time and follow the directions as recommended.
Using a power washer to remove oil stains
It’s best to use a power washer if you are dealing with a large surface, because it does speed things up, and washes away products easier. Use caution if you have stamped concrete or old and brittle concrete, as it can cause cracking at high pressure.
Oil leaks can be expensive to fix permanently, so if you don’t have the money try a few of these stop leak products and protect your driveway from further damage in the meantime.
Have any other products you have used to remove oil from driveways? Let me know!