Oil Spill in Garage - Now What?

I spilled maybe a 1/4 of a quart of motor oil on the cement pad of my garage. I soaked up what I could with newspaper. But, cement is porous, so some soaked into the floor. Is there a specific soap or detergent I should use to restore things as best I can? (Or, is a soapy, Dawn-water mixture in bucket my best bet?)

Also, isn’t there a dry alternative to clean up such spills? For one, what is the stuff the custodian uses in elementary school to soak up vomit?

Kitty litter

Soak up the excess first…can you get your hands on some Pig mats in a hurry? A nice detergent mixture and a stiff-bristled brush will lighten the mess, especially if it’s fresh, but your best bet is likely to hire someone to come in with some nice chemicals.

(The next time I buy a house, I’m sealing the garage floor before I park anything in there.)

This. It works remarkably well. Spread it over the spill, wait 24 hours, sweep it up.

Keep reapplying kitty litter* til nothing else soaks up. There are good concrete cleaners. Some are acid based. I found bleach works ok, If you’re not too particular. Beware, Don’t mix your cleaners!

  • there’s something called oil spill granules. It’s just clay(cheapist) kitty litter.

Kitty litter is all you need.

I’d like to be The First to mention Litter De O’The Feline.

Dry-Lake Alkali dust does a treat, too. But the downs outweigh the ups.

Actual oil dry from the auto parts store is better as it has smaller particles. And after the oil dry use Gunk engine cleaner - the kind that washes off with water. Scrub with a stiff bristle brush.


Thread won in one. let it soak for a couple days, grind it in with your foot, soak some more, and sweep it up.

The peat-based stuff works better than kitty litter, in my experience.

Anyone mention kitty litter?
<ducks thrown objects>
It really does work far and away as good as anything out there.

Far and away as good?
Damning with faint praise?

I made the mistake of changing my oil in our driveway, spilling a little oil in the process, all to the extreme dissatisfaction of my wife. Kitty liter is OK but Oil Dri is worlds better, being much finer and optimized for this particular process. It still doesn’t get the last bit of the stain, but I had luck with this bacterial stuff that uses oil-eating bacteria to do the job. It takes a while, but the results have been excellent.

Brakleen. I discovered this will lift oil stains out pretty quickly, especially those that soak into the concrete. It’s usually available at Wal Mart for about 3-4 bucks. Spray all over the oil, and rub with a rag. It gets almost all of it up.

I came in to say kitty litter, too. And, as it happens, I was at Dollar Tree today and noticed they had some there. Perhaps a pound’s worth per bag. Might be worth checking out.

The cheapest litter at Walmart. Red bag. ‘Special kitty’ brand. Its fine ground. I don’t like it in the house because it’s so dusty and fine. Can’t beat the price, though. Less that $4 for a large bag.

Well you could make it perfect by totally replacing the floor but that seems a little excessive to me. :wink:

There is one of the commercial substances out there (I can’t remember the name) made for garages that I considered once. I talked to the Snap-On guy I had back then and he said “Oh it’s great stuff” and then he told me how good it was and rattled off a list of chemicals and compounds and how it was made and all. I guess he saw my eyes glaze over and he finished with “basically its kitty litter”. Since it was about 10x the cost ------- right now my favorite is “Fresh Step” but it has varied over the years.