My Thriftymobile is super-cheap to run: it’s a 23-year-old Mazda with just 40,000 miles on the clock, and rock-bottom insurance rates. But there are downsides: just occasionally, something goes wrong.
The car started leaking oil a few weeks ago, and while local mechanics have been humming and hawing over fixing it (no takers, to date – jeez, it can’t be that awful!) the tarmac parking space outside my house has been collecting round oily dibs and dabs. I was told to get a pressure washer to clean them away, but then I saw the prices.
So I was pleased to come across this delightfully frugal nugget on Real Simple:
An oil spot can put a damper on an otherwise spick-and-span surface. Follow these guidelines to eliminate that eyesore in a flash.
Absorb the grease by covering the spill with standard kitty litter (which contains clay that draws in moisture and causes liquids to clump).
Add just enough petroleum-based solvent, such as paint thinner or mineral spirits, to wet the mixture.
Cover with a plastic garbage bag. “This is the most important part of the process,” says Don Aslett, a cleaning expert in Pocatello, Idaho. “It will ensure that the spot stays wet and the solvent doesn’t evaporate.”
After 24 hours, the “kitty litter should appear black,” which means it has soaked up all the oil, says Aslett. If the kitty litter hasn’t changed color, repeat the process.
And I tell you what: it works!