Cleaning up oil spills

You’re finishing up an oil change. Everything is picked up, fresh oil is in the vehicle, and you’re ready to roll your ride off the ramps. You creep your car backward – a slight bounce as your tires hit the concrete – and that’s when you see it. There’s a pool of oil the size of your hand, maybe bigger. Don’t panic. People spill oil in their driveways all the time, and we’ve put together this handy guide to help you keep your driveway or garage from forming a nasty stain.

Oil is hazardous to plants and animals, so it’s important to contain the spill and keep it from spreading into any nearby drains or patches of grass. This is why it’s important to contain an oil spill the moment it happens – or you become aware of it.

Always have an absorbent material on hand.

If you don’t keep automotive grade absorbent material in your garage, clay based cat litter or saw dust will work in a pinch. You need to contain the spill before you can clean it. So sprinkle your absorbent material of choice around the spill, encircling it. This will ensure that the mess cannot spread. Once the spill is contained, pour enough absorbent material over the skill until it is completely covered.

Allow the oil a moment to be fully absorbed before sweeping up the mess. Many people make the mistake of leaving the absorbed oil in place for too long (ie overnight). This is a mistake because (though absorbed) the oil is still in contact with the concrete, and this is how stains are formed.

Cleaning up oil spills the moment they happen not only protects you from stained concrete, but it’s also what’s best for your local environment. So do yourself – and local wildlife – a favor, and clean up your oil messes.