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Removing Oil Stains From the Driveway

Whether you're a gearhead who loves working on your vehicle at home or just had some vehicle troubles that need to be addressed, motor oil is a common byproduct. If any oil landed on your driveway, then chances are you have a pretty unsightly spot on your concrete right now. Oil spots can detract from your home's beauty and curb appeal, so it's only natural that you'd want to remove any existing blemishes.

Concrete has its fair share of challenges when it comes to stain removal. Its porous and retains dirt well, and overall, it can be difficult to clean. There are some relatively simple ways to remove stains that far outweigh the alternatives of either living with the stain, getting your concrete professionally refinished or even getting a completely new driveway poured.

Oil streak on driveway coming from car.

Steps To Remove Oil Stains From Your Driveway

Absorb Excess Oil

Removing oil stains from your driveway always starts with working to absorb any excess oil sitting on the surface of the pavement, similar to how you remove a stain from clothing or carpeting. There are several basic household products that you can use to help with this, such as cat litter, sawdust, or even just paper towels or rags. Attack the stain quickly with either of these products and let them absorb any excess oil at the first sign of a stain or immediately after an oil spill.

Attack the Stain

After you've absorbed any excess oil on the concrete's surface, it's time to attack the remaining stain. Just as there are many strategies to absorb any excess oil, there are also many products you can use on the stain. These include baking soda, laundry detergent, a specialty concrete cleaner or degreasing product, and even oven cleaner. Even pouring a can or two of soda on it has been known to work for some people.

If you have a driveway that's on an incline, be sure to attack the stain starting from the highest point and work your way down. If your driveway is flat, you can attack the stain all at once.

Rinse and Repeat

The process of removing the stain will largely depend on the product that you use. For instance, baking soda and liquid detergent are best scrubbed into the stain with a hard-bristle brush and then rinsed with clean water, repeating until the stain is completely removed. Follow manufacturer directions if you're using a specialty concrete cleaner or degreasing product.

If your removal process involves rinsing product away, be sure that you're doing so in a way that doesn't wash oil into plants, lawns or sewer systems.

You don't have to live with unsightly oil stains on your driveway from that one time you accidentally spilled some motor oil when performing routine maintenance on your car or from the time your vehicle had some engine troubles. Just make sure you have the right products on hand to remove stains and keep your driveway looking great.

Professional Refinishing Is Occasionally Necessary

Part of caring for your wood floors is occasionally refinishing them. It's typically recommended that this is performed about once every 10 years, and you may want to seek a professional for the best results. Hardwood floor refinishing involves sanding off a thin layer of the entire floor, which removes any scratches or blemishes, and then applying finish so the floor looks like new again.

Prevention Is Key

There are many things that you can do to help minimize the potential for scratches and other damage. For instance:

  • Place doormats by entry points: Doormats can capture dirt and debris that may otherwise cause damage to the floor. You may also want to have guests remove their shoes before entering your home.
  • Keep pet nails trimmed: Pet nails have been known to be a leading cause of scratches to wood floors. Take the time to have your animal's nails regularly trimmed or keep a filer on hand to do it yourself.
  • Vacuum or sweep daily: This helps remove any dirt, debris or other gritty contaminants before they have a chance to truly accumulate and do damage to your wood floor.

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