How to Remove Oil Spots From Your Driveway
As a homeowner, you work hard to maximize your home’s curb appeal. But when it comes to your driveway and sidewalks, residual motor oil, gasoline and other fluids from your vehicles can leave unsightly spots. But don’t worry — we’ve identified the culprits and rounded up some ways to remove oil stains from concrete and get your driveway and sidewalks cleaner than they’ve ever been before.
Types of Oils that Stain Concrete
There are plenty of types of fluid that can leave stains on driveways and sidewalks, and most of them are pretty hard to avoid. But knowing the type of stain that’s on your driveway can help you know how and when it should be removed. Here are the most common fluids that leave stains on concrete:
Gasoline. When there’s a gasoline stain on your driveway, it’s probably not from your main vehicle — and if it is, you need to get your car or truck to a repair shop right away. It usually happens when you’re refilling your lawn mower or other gas-powered vehicle that‘s not typically filled up at the pump. Gasoline should be cleaned up as soon as possible, as it’s especially flammable and damaging to the environment.
Transmission fluid. When transmission fluid stains your driveway, it is almost certainly from your vehicle — so get it to the repair shop. Transmission fluid is usually red and drips from the middle of your car or truck. The longer transmission fluid sits on concrete, the harder it is to remove.
Snow removal salt. After snow removal salt has served its purpose and saved you from a nasty fall in the winter, it’ll likely leave stains as it melts snow and ice and the water drains away.
Engine oil. Engine oil leaks from any sort of vehicle are relatively common and should also be cleaned up right away. While they’re able to be removed from concrete fairly easily, they’re more damaging if tracked into your home and onto floors and carpets.
Methods to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete
There are plenty of ways to get those types of stains out of your driveway — and you don’t need to buy environmentally harmful, dangerous and expensive chemicals to do it.
As a rule of thumb, stains that are still wet should be treated with absorbents that soak up the oil, such as cat litter or dirt. Stains that have dried and settled onto your driveway or sidewalk can be cleaned and removed with these methods:
Clean oil with baking soda or kitty litter. Even if a majority of an oil stain has settled into concrete, you can remove any residual moisture with baking soda or kitty litter. They’re both absorbents and do a great job of lifting any moisture from wherever they’re applied. Scrub the stain with a brush and wash away with water. Use another wet method to attack more deeply-rooted stains if they remain.
Remove oil with detergent. Pour a detergent (such as laundry or dish) over the stain and scrub it with a strong-bristled brush. Wash it away with water and repeat if any stain remains.
Get oil stains off with WD-40. In addition to fixing that annoying squeaky door hinge or prevent your car locks from freezing, WD-40 is a great moisture remover. Apply it over the entire stain and wash it away with water.
Use a concrete cleaner to remove oil stains. If all else fails, there are a wide variety of commercial cleaners designed specifically to get rid of oil stains. Head to a local hardware store and look for a cleaner that fits your needs — and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Some of these methods will require multiple applications or overnight rest in order to fully remove stains. If unsuccessful, reach out to a professional cleaning service to have the stains removed. The environment, and your home’s overall curb appeal, will thank you.
After you’ve cleaned up your driveway, sidewalks and any other oil-stained concrete around your home, make sure you give the same attention to your house, your family and your property. Your American Family Insurance agent is always happy to help you get the insurance policies you need to give you the peace of mind you deserve. Get in touch today.