Cleaning Oil Stains from Concrete

Welcome to Yeah We Do That’s of the week.  Today I am going to cover a question that I have heard a lot. Weekly Tips“We had someone over at our house and their vehicle leaked oil on my concrete driveway, how can I get it off?”  There are several home remedies, commercial remedies and professional remedies.

We’ll take a quick look at the main ones from each category.  With all remedies listed below when finished apply baking soda to neutralize any remaining product not rinsed off.


  • Sawdust or Kitty Litter – This generally only works if the spill just happened and the oil has not had a chance to sink in.  Generously cover the stain and work the product around with a brush or broom to keep getting fresh product to the oil.  Sweep up and discard, then apply Dawn dish soap and work with broom and rinse off area.
  • Automatic Dish Soap  Apply automatic dishwasher soap (powder)  to the affected area and let stand for ten minutes.  Pour some boiling water on the area and scrub with a brush then rinse.


  • OSR – This is a commercial product that is sold at your “Big Box” home improvement stores and some of your small hardware stores, it does a VERY good job.  It is called OSR and stands for Oil Stain Remover and is usually found in the paint department with the concrete stains and paints.  This is usually my first product of choice when called by a customer to remove an oil stain on concrete.  It is a liquid and you pour it on to the affected area, work in with a stiff brush then let it dry.  It will dry to a powder that you can sweep away.
  • TSP – TSP stands for tri-sodium phosphate and is a strong chemical cleaner.  If you decide to try this make sure you wear rubber gloves and goggles as it will cause chemical burns to unprotected skin.  Apply the TSP to the stain and let stand for 30 minutes, scrub with a stiff brush and rinse.  Do not let the run off go down a storm drain or into a watershed.


  • Muratic Acid – You should consider calling a professional if nothing else has worked and you need to try this product, muratic acid is the commercial name for hydrchloric acid (HCL).  If youAir-Purifying_Respirator are going to use it make sure you have chemical grade rubber gloves, goggles and a respirator rated P100 with acid cartridges in place (not a dust mask or respirator below P100) as the fumes from the acid can irritate and burn the linings in your nose throat, eyes and lungs!  The vapors can also rust metal so move anything metal away from the area affected by the stain. Apply by manufactures directions let sit for several seconds (not too long as this dissolves concrete) then hit it with a pressure washer.  Like TSP do not allow runoff to enter a storm drain or other watershed system.

I hope that you have found this article helpful and feel free to share it with your friends by clicking one or more of the social media buttons below.  You may also ask a question or leave a comment by clicking the comment button.

If you would like to see a How-To guide on a particular topic you can request it by e-mailing me and I will see what I can do.


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