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How Do I Remove Oil Stains From Concrete?

Erin Ringwald

Oil can leak from your car onto your concrete driveway, causing dark stains to form. Oil stains not only indicate that your car needs to be serviced, but they can also visually mar your property.

Although oil stains are difficult and stubborn, requiring multiple steps to thoroughly remove, you can successfully remove the stains from the concrete around your home using everyday items.

  1. Soak up as much of the oil as possible as soon as you can using newspaper. If the oil stain is old, you may still be able to pick up some residual surface oil. Press the newspaper against the stain to collect as much as possible. Place the newspaper into a trash bag and dispose of it outside.

  2. Sprinkle a layer of clay-based cat box litter over top of the oil stain. You want to completely cover the stain so that you can no longer see it through the litter. The amount of litter needed depends on the size of the stain. The litter will soak up the oil from the concrete.

  3. Monitor the color of the litter several times while it is sitting on the stain. As the oil becomes absorbed into the litter, it will change to a darker color. When the litter changes colors, remove the old litter by sweeping it up with a broom. Dispose of the discolored litter as you did the oil-soaked newspapers. Sprinkle more litter onto the stain the same way you did in the prior step and continue to let it soak up the oil. Leave the stain covered with litter for a minimum of one day. Clean away all the litter after 24 hours. Sweep up the litter and dispose of it.

  4. Apply a liquid dish detergent with grease-cutting agents to the oil stain. Use a scrub brush to rub the dish detergent into the stain.

  5. Pour 1 cup of boiling water onto the dish detergent covered stain. Use your scrub brush to rub the water and the soap into the stain. Take care not to burn yourself with the boiling water.

  6. Blot up the now oily and soapy water with newspaper after the mixture has cooled for several minutes. Dispose of the newspaper. Continue to blot the area until you have absorbed all of the oily water.

  7. Pour another 2 cups of boiling water over the stain. This will wash away any oily water that was not absorbed by the newspaper.


Wear work gloves when working with the oil to avoid getting the oil on your skin.


When disposing of items soaked in oil, dispose of them outside, not in your home, since oil is flammable.