For various reasons, vehicles can sometimes leak oil, resulting in unsightly stains left on your otherwise faultless concrete driveway. You have tried washing it away with the hose, a sponge, and some elbow grease, but the stain refuses to disappear. So how do you remove an oil stain from a concrete driveway?
To remove oil stains from a concrete driveway, begin by applying Oil Eater Original blend directly to the stain without diluting it. Next, begin scrubbing the oil stain and chemical with a dense brush. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse it with a hose. Repeat as many times as necessary.
This article will begin by discussing the most likely causes of oil stains and what you can do to stop the problem at its source. Next, we will go over the best product to use for removing oil stains from a concrete driveway and provide a step-by-step instructional guide for how to use them. Lastly, we will reveal a few homemade solutions for removing these unsightly stains.
What Causes Driveway Oil Stains?
Maintaining a clean and faultless driveway is one of the best ways to give your home a respectable and welcoming presentation. However, people often experience oil stains on their driveways because of their vehicles, and they will want to urgently remove them as soon as possible.
Before we begin to look at the most effective ways to remove oil stains from a concrete driveway, it is important to learn why these stains happen! While this may seem obvious, if you are less automotively inclined, you may not completely understand this phenomenon.
First, not all puddles under your car are motor oil. Other fluids, such as transmission fluid (red) and windshield washer fluid (blue, green, or purple), may also drip onto your driveway. However, these are much easier to clean than motor oil due to the viscosity and water solubility.
If, however, the puddle appears dark brown or black, you can be sure you are dealing with an oil stain. So, what caused it?
While there are many different reasons why oil may have suddenly begun to leak from your vehicle, the most common causes are:
- A damaged oil filter or oil pan
- A damaged seal or gasket
- Stripped threads on your oil pan plug
If you are unsure why your oil is leaking, consult a certified automotive professional. Otherwise, you will be cleaning these stains from your driveway regularly and potentially ignoring serious problems with your car.
For a straightforward discussion about why vehicles leak, see this article by Cash Cars Buyers.
Factors Which Affect Oil Stain Removal Difficulty
Lastly, it is essential to know what kind of stain we are up against and how severe the damage. There are many possible explanations, but the most relevant factors that affect the difficulty of removing an oil stain from a concrete driveway are:
- How long the stain has been left to sit and meld with the surface of the concrete
- The texture and porousness of the concrete
- The strength of the cleaning solution and other tools you are using to remove the stain
Regardless of the severity of the stain, following the steps described in this article will revitalize your driveway’s look. If you find yourself having to excessively strain and struggle to scrub the oil stain clean, try a different approach. The chemical solution you are using to dissolve the stain is not strong enough.
Although this is not among the factors listed above, the concrete’s color will also affect the difficulty of removing the stain. Driveways can be in different colors, such as black, beige, gray, or white. The lighter your driveway is, the more difficult it will be to remove the stain entirely. Oh the other hand, a black driveway will mask the damage much better.
If you have a light color driveway, you will have to be especially thorough in the removal process to ensure that you won’t be able to detect a residual shadow or outline of the stain can be seen afterward.
The goal in removing an oil stain from a concrete driveway is always to restore it to the way it used to be before the stain. You should not be able to tell that the oil was ever there. For this reason, we want to do everything possible to prevent permanent discoloration, no matter how faded or subtle it may be.
If done properly, the stain should come off rather easily and without needing too much force.
How To Remove Oil Stains From a Concrete Driveway
If the stain is still fresh on your driveway and is still liquidy, you are in luck. To remove the stain, apply cat litter to it until the oil absorbs completely. Let it sit for 30 minutes, sweep it up, and toss it into the garbage can. From there, scrub the remaining stain with a baking soda and water mixture, repeating as many times as necessary.
Power washing with pressurized water alone will seldom, if ever, remove an oil stain from concrete. Once the oil has set into the concrete, you need a special chemical to break down and dissolve the stain before you can remove it.
As we continue, we will assume that your driveway’s oil stains are months or even years old.
If you encounter a rare situation where you cannot remove the stain from your driveway, you may need to enlist the help of professional oil stain treatment cement workers.
The last thing to mention here is that sealed driveways are more resilient to oil stains because the sealer prevents the underlying concrete from soaking up the grease and melding it into the concrete. Sealing your concrete driveway is one of the best ways to promote its longevity and protect it from not only oil spills but also general weather damage and wear-and-tear.
Commercially Purchased Cleaner Method
While there are many solutions for removing an oil stain from a concrete driveway, some more effective than others, we recommend using a commercial blend designed specifically for this task.
The best product on the market for removing oil stains from a concrete driveway is Oil Eater Original. The best part about Oil Eater Original is that it is non-toxic, so using it will not damage the environment or cause harm to your body. The product package also includes a dilution chart describing how concentrated your mixture should be.
Regarding safety, although Oil Eater Original is non-toxic and water-based, you should still wear gloves, eye protection and avoid direct contact with skin while using it.
If you do get Oil Eater in your eye, immediately begin flushing your eyes with warm, room temperature water, in the shower, the sink, or with a cup for 15 minutes. This article by Healthline will explain further what to do in such an instance.
One bottle of Oil Eater original should be enough to remove any oil stain from your driveway, even if the stain requires multiple rounds of application and repetition.
The Required Tools and Supplies
Thankfully, removing oil stains from concrete requires few tools and is not too expensive. Here is a look at what you will need:
- A 1-gallon (3.79-liter) bottle of Oil Eater Original
- A concrete scrub brush (we recommend the Rubbermaid heavy duty all-purpose scrub brush)
- A water hose (preferably high pressured, but any will suffice)
- One pair of rubber gloves (such as this Care Plus vinyl gloves)
- Safety eye goggles (such as this Optical Care medical safety goggles)
Wear long-sleeved clothing to avoid skin exposure.
We mentioned above that a high pressure hose or pressure washer is preferable for removing oil stains. Although it is not considered to be a necessary tool for all oil stain removal jobs, it can greatly help in cases where the stain is particularly heavy.
Some pressure washers possess the ability to spray water at a rate of 2100 PSI. This can sometimes be enough force to strip away whatever stain or dirt is on your driveway, and with the aid of a cleaner product, it can leave the concrete looking bright and new.
How To Remove Oil Stains (With a Commercial Cleaner)
Now that all of our supplies are prepared and ready to go, it is time to begin the removal process.
Keep in mind that, as mentioned earlier, every stain is unique. Therefore, some trial and error and good patience may be necessary to remove the stain completely.
Take your time when setting up for the job. Wear clothes that you won’t mind getting dirtied or ruined, and go slowly through each step to ensure that you are doing it right and to get the best result.
Follow these steps to remove an oil stain from a concrete driveway:
- Open your Oil Eater Original bottle and begin slowly pouring it directly onto the stain. Do not dilute the solution, as you need a strong concentration for removing a tough oil stain that has been sitting for a long time.
- Using your scrub brush, begin to scrub and scour the concrete’s surface until you have thoroughly covered the stain’s entire surface area.
- After scrubbing the oil stain, let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then rinse it off completely with water.
However, one round of these three steps may not be enough. Continue to repeat the steps again, in order. Each time you repeat the process, you will see an improvement, and eventually, the stain will be gone entirely.
It often takes multiple rounds of scrubbing and rinsing because concrete is porous, meaning that the surface has holes and gaps. Because of this, the oil spill, if ignored for long enough, will bleed into the concrete and embed itself below the surface. Each time you apply the Oil Eater, it sinks into the surface a little bit deeper and breaks down the deep-seated oil.
Instead of pouring the degreaser directly from the bottle, some may prefer to pour it into a spray bottle first and spread it that way. This is perfectly acceptable if you do not want to make a mess.
If you are interested in purchasing a spray bottle for your degreasing solution, we recommend this LiBa 16oz chemical spray bottle. It is durable, affordable, easy to use, and very efficient for removing driveway stains.
An Alternative Homemade Solution Method
There are also homemade alternative solutions that can be used instead of a commercial brand degreaser or oil stain remover. After all, some of the mainstream retail brand concrete degreasers can be a little bit harsh, which is why some look for alternatives.
Many of these alternatives require daily household items that you already have!
If you decide to go the homemade concoction route, you may need to experiment with the ratios of your mixture to increase the potency and removal power of your formula.
The Baking Soda and Vinegar Method
The most common and most effective homemade method for removing oil stains from concrete is the baking soda and vinegar method.
To properly perform this method, you will need:
- A heavy-duty scrubber brush
- Laundry detergent
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- A high powered water pressure washer
None of these materials are harmful in any way, yet when combined, they possess all the strength and degreasing power as a store-bought brand does.
How To Apply Your Homemade Solution
- Begin by spreading baking soda onto the oil stain liberally, forming a layer.
- Let the baking soda settle for a few minutes as it soaks into the oil, and then pour vinegar on it. This will create a chemical reaction wherein the vinegar and baking soda will interact with each other and begin to bubble up. Rest assured, this is the oil breaking down and dissolving.
- Once the fizzling subsides, pour your laundry detergent onto the stain and begin scrubbing it with a dense brush until it begins to loosen up and come off.
- Take your power washer hose and spray the whole thing clean. Much of the oil will simply rinse away at this point, and the improvement should be immediately obvious.
Baking soda is one of the best cleaning agents due to its abrasive nature and how well it absorbs, making it an excellent option for removing even the most stubborn and embedded oil stains.
Also note that different brands of laundry detergent may have varying results. Some products are very strong and intended for washing clothes with heavy stains, while others are for more casual, everyday use. The former is what you will want to use to help remove oil stains from your driveway.
Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid Detergent is one product that is known for its strength and ability to combat even the most stubborn stains, and for that reason, we recommend this product for the job.
What Not To Do When Removing Oil Stains
One of the first and most obvious chemicals that people will reach for when they decide to try and remove the oil stain from their concrete driveway is bleach. This is understandable because bleach is an incredibly powerful corrosive chemical that is very effective for dissolving stains and also because almost everyone has a bottle in their home.
While the logic is relatively sound, never use bleach for this job!
The first reason you should not use bleach is that it is not eco-friendly in general and may pose a threat to the environment when you wash it down after cleaning up the stain.
The second reason is that while bleach may lift the stain and remove the oil from your driveway effectively, it will likely leave a white spot there in its place. This will look awkward and unsightly and may not be any more appealing than the stain way in the first place.
Bleach is also very toxic to the body when breathed in or contacted with the skin, and it will destroy your clothes if any were to get on them. If you get bleach on your skin, wash it immediately, with soap and water, under the tap.
For these reasons, it is always best to leave the bleach out of the equation.
Always store oil stain removal products and solutions in a safe and secure location and out of reach and away from animals and young children.
This article sought to provide you with the most effective method for removing an oil stain from a concrete driveway. The best and easiest product to use for removing concrete oil stains is Oil Eater Original.
To remove the stain, begin by directly applying Oil Eater to the stain, letting it sit for a few minutes to soak in, and then scrub it with a heavy-duty brush. Let it sit again for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse it down with water.
Repeat this process as many times as necessary to completely remove the stain.