How to renew an oil stained driveway

Cleaning a Greasy Driveway

TDS Reader Solutions

Need Greasy Driveway Clean-Up Help

Does anyone have a frugal answer for cleaning automobile grease, oil, transmission fluid and brake fluid off a concrete driveway or garage floor? Which off-the-shelf product cleans the best? Is there a concoction of ingredients one can find from ingredients found around the house that will work just as well? Please help me get the grease off my concrete driveway!
David T.

Kitty Litter and Detergent

The first step in cleaning your driveway or garage floor is to absorb the top layer(s). Pour cat box filler (kitty litter) on the spots and work it in with your feet or an old broom; any broom will be suitable only for this purpose after using it for this job. Scoop the litter up and dispose of it as you would used oil. After the filler has absorbed what it can you need to apply powdered laundry detergent (the cheaper the better) using a scrub brush and lots of elbow not add water yet! This will cut the grease and keep from causing an "oil slick". Scoop up detergent and put it with the litter. Make a paste of powdered laundry detergent and water and scrub it in; use as little water as possible so you don't have another mess to clean up. Scrape the paste off the driveway and rinse. If the surface is stained this will not remove the entire stain but the grease should be gone.

Pepsi Solution

When I was a kid my father pulled the engine on his Volkswagen bug in my Grandmother's garage. He made a huge oil/whatever stain on the floor which Nanny tried to clean with all sorts of compounds. She finally used Pepsi and a scrub brush. That's right, the soda. It got the stuff off when nothing else would. She swore by it after that. And it's non-toxic, inexpensive, and readily available.
Linda B.

Peat Moss

Peat Moss! Plain 'ol peat moss. I saw a demonstration of this at the national hardware show in Chicago. The guy put some engine grease on a concrete surface. He sprinkled some peat moss on it, and started to 'work it' with a spatula, spreading, patting, turning, etc. The grease came up!!! Works wonders for oil spills in water too.

Two Step Method

I have found the answer to the "Greasy Driveway" question. This is because my van (325,000 miles)leaks oil like its going out of style. Pretty much had a crusty oil slick going on. I'm on the lazy side so didn't even scrub.

Do this late in the evening or early in the morning when it is cool. I tried it when it was hot and it just didn't work the same.

First, use Dawn dishwashing liquid (the dark blue, heavy duty). Remember they advertise Dawn as being great for removing grease. So I squirted a lot of Dawn all over the oil and waited about 1 hr. Then I took the garden hose with the spray attachment and squirted the heck out of the driveway - there sure were a lot of bubbles!

That took of most of the grease but it still wasn't clean enough for the kids to play on. So I got out the Murphy's Oil Soap (that stuff is really low priced!).

Next, I poured Murph's Oil Soap on the driveway and waited about 2 hours and again squirted the heck out of the driveway. WOW what a difference that made - all the grease was gone! You could still tell where the oil had been, but the oil was GONE! The kids could now play in the driveway and not get grease on their toys and shoes!

I was so happy I bought some Murphy's Oil Soap for my friend who had just bought a brand new house and already had a oil stain on her driveway. (No it wasn't from me - I park on the street!)
Katherine M.

More: Ways to Clean Cement Driveways

Top Job for Driveway Grease

I recently had good luck cleaning up car drippings from a messy garage floor.

First, scrape off as much of the mess as possible with a dust pan or scraper. Then, pour a few pounds of cat litter on the floor. Pour a few ounces of Top Job, or a similar type cleaner, into about half bucket of water. Pour on top of the cat litter. Mix to make a slurry. Add water as needed. Using a scrub brush and some elbow grease, scrub the greasy areas. This cleaned an area about 10 feet square. A larger area may require more cat litter and water.

This does take a bit of time, but did a very good job. The cleaned area looked almost like new concrete. There is no easy shortcut, simply pouring cat litter on top of the grease and expecting it to be absorbed by the cat litter without a bit of work is wishful thinking. After the floor is cleaned, put an old rug or sheet of cardboard under the car.

Check sale prices for Cat Litter on Amazon.

Simple Green, Simple Clean

Simple Green left to soak on the drive will take it all off. It is spectacular on grease/oil of all kinds and so safe that it was used to help clean off animals after the Exxon Valdez incident. I am very chemically allergic and use this to clean everything in different concentrations. It is also biodegradable and safe for people of all ages.

Get Out of Debt

Engine Degreaser

Buy generic cat litter, or the cheapest name brand litter you can find. Use it to initially soak up the oil. If you want to then get the residue, you might try Engine Degreaser by Gunk or SuperClean by Castrol, both available at an auto parts store or large retail chain like KMart.
Mica A.

Liquid Tide

Pour liquid tide over area. Add 1/4 cup water to top of that. Then take your old broom and swish it around in a scrubbing motion. When done, after about 5 min; let it just soak in for about 10-15 more min. Then take a hose and rinse away the bubbles. May have to be done more than once for really bad spots.

Reviewed January 2018

Take the Next Step

  • Once you get that garage floor clean, try out some of these garage organization ideas.
  • If you have other areas of your home's exterior that need cleaning, we likely have a frugal cleaning solution that can help.
  • These tips can help if you need to clean vinyl siding.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Get Out of Debt