Simple Solutions

How to Absorb Oil Spills in Your Garage or Driveway

By: Joe Truini
Pouring kitty litter on oil on a concrete garage floor.

Using kitty litter to soak up spilled oil on a concrete garage floor.

To soak up oil spills, pour kitty litter on the oil, and then use a brick to grind the kitty litter up to make it more absorbent. Leave the kitty litter on the oil for 20 minutes or longer before sweeping it up.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Joe Truini: It’s very common to have greasy oil stains on your driveway or garage floor, as we have here. And if you don’t clean it up right away, it’ll soak in and become a permanent stain. Now, it might be from a leaky oil pan; or, in this case, I recently changed the oil, and I just accidently spilt some on to the floor.

So we are going to clean it up using kitty litter. Use any old kitty litter. You can buy the most inexpensive type; it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. But you want to cover it, a nice thick layer just like that, a nice thick layer of kitty litter.

And then we’re going to use a brick—this is half a brick, but any size brick or even a chuck of two by four will work—and we’re going to pulverize the kitty litter. You want to grind it up until a fine powder, because the finer the powder is the more it will absorb the oil.

And that’s the whole point of kitty litter, right? It does a great job at absorbing liquids, including oil stains.

Now, ordinarily I would let that set for 15 or 20 minutes, or even overnight if it’s a really thick, deeply set stain. But we’re going to—I’ll show you how even just a few seconds, how well it does at absorbing that oil.

Now, from that puddle you can see you just have an outline of the stain. And, again, if I let that kitty litter set, that stain will be completely gone by morning.


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6 Comments on “How to Absorb Oil Spills in Your Garage or Driveway”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    March 7th, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Hi, Susan!
    You could use the dry kitty litter and let it sit for a day or so.
    The clay in the cat litter absorbs the petroleum in oil stains, so it may work on a petroleum solvent like paint thinner.
    Let us know how it goes!

  • susan Says:
    March 3rd, 2019 at 10:32 am

    I have a paint thinner spill i am dealing with. It has been cleaned up yet when the heat goes on it seems to bring it up from the cement. I have put vinegar and baking soda all over and then swept it up next i have kitty litter that i am thinking i should use the brick method to lay over the spilled area. But should it have something moist to go with it to get it to work or just put it on dry?
    Thank you

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 7th, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Hi, Cathy! Joe suggests covering the oil stain with kitty litter and leaving it there overnight. He removed it early just to show how much of the oil stain had been immediately removed. But under normal use, you would leave the kitty litter there overnight. Hope this helps!

  • Cathy Says:
    June 3rd, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I watched the video. The guy has an oil stain on his concrete at the end of the video. What do you do next?

  • johann Says:
    May 6th, 2018 at 11:55 am

    how do you expose of the oil drenched cat litter

  • Connie Says:
    June 1st, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Why not just keep a bag of “oil-dry” on hand. Almost the same as kitty litter and much cheaper.

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How to Absorb Oil Spills in Your Garage or Driveway