Get oil spots off your driveway

Miss Thrifty2 August 20, 2008


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!

Real Simple

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2 Responses to “Get oil spots off your driveway

Frugal Wench says:

I have always driven very old cars, and cat litter has saved my butt more than once in a rental, by keeping the carport or drive way from being ruined.

August 21, 2008 at 1:15 am

peter copsey says:

Has anyone tried putting cat litter inside a car to absorb moisture? I have trouble with windscreen and wonder if this would do the trick.

December 10, 2009 at 10:59 am

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