If your car leaks fluids or you spill some while filling up your vehicle, lawn mower or snow blower, your driveway might end up with a stain or two. Fluids such as oil, transmission fluid and gasoline can leave a stain on paved driveways and garage floors. Because these liquids are all different, cleaning techniques vary slightly from fluid to fluid and surface to surface.
Whether the stain is new or old, there are some basic steps to help remove marks left by leaked fluids from a paved driveway or an uncoated concrete garage floor.
Oil can leave a dark stain on your pavement. To remove oil from your driveway, first determine whether the fluid is wet or dry, says Good Housekeeping. If the spill is new, start by covering the stain with cat litter, cornstarch, baking soda or cornmeal, which will help absorb the extra moisture. Once the pavement is dry, or if the stain was already dry, says Good Housekeeping, wet the stain with water and scrub with a stiff brush and a paste made from baking soda and water. Finally, rinse the pavement with a hose and let it air dry.
To remove dried oil from concrete, douse the stain with spray lubricant and then rinse with water, says Reader’s Digest. Another method, according to the Los Angeles Times, is to put engine degreaser on the stain and scrub it with a wire brush.
A bright red stain on light-colored concrete usually indicates a transmission fluid spill or leak, says Popular Mechanics magazine. Oven cleaner can help clean up this type of liquid, according to Reader’s Digest. Simply spray the stains with the cleaner and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, use a stiff brush to scrub the spot and rinse it with your hose at its highest pressure. If the stain is still there, Reader’s Digest suggests repeating the process.
If the (oil) spill is new, start by covering the stain with cat litter, cornstarch, baking soda or cornmeal, which will help absorb the extra moisture.
Spilled gasoline not only leaves stains on your paved driveway; the marks are likely accompanied by an odor you’ll want to neutralize. Much like with oil spills, Good Housekeeping recommends first soaking fresh gas spill with cat litter, baking soda or commercial absorbents and sweeping away excess fluid. Next, scrub the stain with a mixture of dishwasher detergent and water and let it soak in for a few minutes before rinsing with a hose. If that doesn’t take care of the problem, Good Housekeeping suggests buying trisodium phosphate from a hardware store, mixing it with warm water and scrubbing the spill with the solution until the stain lightens.
Those spilled fluids may be unsightly, but they may not be permanent. If the cleaning tips outlined above don’t fully remove the stain, the Los Angeles Times suggests hiring a professional cleaner to do the job.
There’s also a way you may be able to prevent future stains on your clean concrete. Sealing your garage floor with a paint or sealant made for concrete can help prevent fluid from soaking into the floor, says Mother Earth News. With a coating in place, you should be able to simply wipe up spills without any hassle, the publication says.