How to Remove Motor Oil Spots on Your Driveway

Removing oil spots on your driveway from spilled motor oil can be a challenge. However, you can remove virtually any oil spot if you use the right tools, materials and procedure. In general, you will need to apply a solvent or chemical that will dissolve motor oil. Here are 5 steps you can follow to remove motor oil from your driveway.

Materials you will need:

  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Square mouth shovel
  • Grease solvent
  • Kitty litter, sawdust, or sand
  • Muriatic acid
  • Garden hose   

Step 1 – Remove Excess Oil or Grease

Remove excess oil from your driveway spots by covering them with materials such as kitty litter, sawdust or sand. Let it sit overnight, allowing the material to soak up excessive oil. Then use a shovel to scoop up the oil-soaked material.

Step 2 – Dissolve Surface Oil with Dish Detergent

Pour full-strength dishwashing detergent on the remaining oil spots until they are all covered. Allow the detergent to remain for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, using a stiff-bristle brush, scrub the surface with a scrubbing motion to help the detergent dissolve surface oil. Before washing away all the dissolved oil and detergent, try washing away a small test area.

Step 3 – Rinse Detergent and Dissolved Oil from your Driveway

Once you have determined that the detergent has dissolved as much oil as possible from the oil spots, wash the detergent and dissolved oil away with a garden hose that has a forceful sprayer. Once the liquid, made up of detergent and dissolved oil, has been washed off the driveway's surface you will see areas where the oil remains in the concrete's pores.

Step 4 – Remove Oil from Concrete Pores with an Oil Solvent

Use a grease or oil solvent that is less viscous (thick) and better able to penetrate concrete pores to further remove oil from your driveway spots. Some water based grease solvents work well in dissolving oil and grease. Follow the directions of your solvent for diluting, and apply it to the remaining oil spots. Use your stiff bristle brush to work the solvent into concrete pores. When finished, wash away the detergent with your garden hose.

Step 5 – Remove Older or more Stubborn Oil Spots With Muriatic Acid

Oil spots that have remained for months may resist some of the methods above. There is one final way of removing these resistant oil stains. Muriatic acid, or, as it is better known, hydrochloric acid, is a corrosive acid that will penetrate concrete pores and dissolve any oil or grease. The downside to using this acid is that it will leave white spots on your driveway. But if you choose to use this agent to remove your oil stains, you will need to be careful not to allow it to come in contact with other surfaces. Pour it carefully onto the oil spot. Using your brush, work it into the oil spot, and when finished, rinse it away with your garden hose.