How to Clean Up Motor Oil Spilled in the Garage

Oil spills on your garage floor are not only unsightly, they can be dangerous to pets and children.

Clean oil spills right away.Clean oil spills right away.
Stepped-in oil can be trodden into your home, ruining carpets, or spread to the inside of your automobile’s foot well, causing your feet to slip from the pedals while driving. Large spills can flow into storm drains, risking contamination of the water supply. Cleaning oil spills as soon as they happen reduces these risks and keeps your garage tidy and clean.

Surround large spills with clean cat litter or sawdust to prevent the oil from spreading. Cover the oil spill with the remaining cat litter or sawdust, and leave it overnight to soak up the oil. Warn other family members not to use the garage.

Sweep the cat litter into a dustpan with a yard brush and place into a garbage bag. Dispose of the bag according to local laws regarding the disposal of oil. Many states have hazardous-waste policies and do not allow used engine oil to be disposed of in the trash.

Soak the remaining oil stain with liquid dish soap and a little water. Scrub the area with a nylon scrubbing brush; steel brushes may damage the top layer of concrete. Use a rag to dry the cleaned surface.

Things You Will Need

  • Cat litter or sawdust
  • Yard brush
  • Nylon bristled scrubbing brush
  • Liquid dish soap


  • Old bath towels can be used to soak up oil if you do not have cat litter or sawdust.
  • Spray oven cleaner on stubborn oil stains.

About the Author

Richard May provides niche Web content for various clients via online forum sites and other outlets. He has technical writing experience, having written training manuals for bespoke and commercial software applications, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.