The Laundry Room Staple That Makes Cleaning Driveway Oil Spills A Breeze

Whether your car has leaked oil all over your driveway or you spilled some while keeping up with your vehicle's maintenance, cleaning up these types of spills from concrete can be a hassle, especially if the oil stain has had time to set in. Luckily, a little powder laundry detergent can help to clean up freshly spilled oil and deal with the stains from older spills. By creating a paste with your powder detergent, you'll be able to scrub that oil stain right off your driveway. This method will also work for other types of concrete, like the floor of your garage.

Because laundry detergents are made to pull dirt and grease out of clothing, they also work well for lifting oil stains from your driveway. Additionally, powder detergents are known to absorb moisture, which can help to soak up oil that's just been spilled. With a little time and powder laundry detergent, your driveway will look as good as new. This is a great method for those who already have powder detergent on hand and are looking for ways to use it up. 

How powder detergent cleans driveway oil spills

Like most soaps and liquid laundry detergents, powder detergents contain ingredients known as surfactants. The molecules of surfactants are attracted to both water and oil at opposite molecular ends, allowing them to pick up grease or dirt from a surface and then rinse it away. Additionally, laundry detergents, including powder varieties, contain enzymes like lipase that are formulated to cut through oils and help wash them away.

Though powder detergent is generally better for removing clay or mud stains from clothes, it's still a great option for cleaning up oil stains in your driveway. You will be using a lot more detergent and much less water than you would when washing a load of laundry, so your powder detergent should be strong enough to help absorb fresh spills and remove greasy stains. The paste you make from the detergent will also sit on the spill or stain for a while, giving it time to really lift the oil from the pavement.

How to clean a driveway oil spill with powder laundry detergent

To begin absorbing the oil from your driveway, dust the area with your powder detergent liberally so that it covers the entire spill. This will help to begin picking up the liquid on the surface of the concrete. Then, add small amounts of warm water until the detergent starts to form a thick consistency. Be careful not to pour too much water onto the detergent, as it could thin it out too much and make cleaning the oil more difficult. 

When you have the right amount of water, take a sturdy nylon cleaning brush or a square broom and scrub the detergent over the stain for a few minutes. After scrubbing, leave the paste on your driveway for 15 to 30  minutes. This will give the detergent time to work on removing the greasy liquid from the asphalt. When you're done waiting, scrub the area thoroughly once more. Before rinsing your driveway, however, be mindful not to blast oily and soapy water onto your lawn. Instead, aim to concentrate the wastewater so it can be cleaned up with an absorbent towel or mop, as this is safer for the environment.