Cleaning Tarmac?

January 22, 2005

Tarmac DrivewayDoes anyone know a cheap way to remove used engine oil from tarmac? Our old car had a leak (now fixed) and there's a big black mark we need to get rid of in our parking space.


If there's no cheap way, whatever works would be great. Apart from a pressure washer as we don't have one. And please tell me the product ingredients and not the brand name if you're not in the UK.



By Schroedog (Guest Post)
January 22, 20050 found this helpful

Have you tried using regular table salt? I have been told that it will absorbe oil and with a large continer of it costing less than a dollar at most stores it may be worth a try. Please note that you will need to completely cover the oil mark with salt, not just sprinkle it on. Leave the oil sitting for awhile and then just sweep it up. I hope that this helps. It may not take care of a true stain, but it should at least absorbe any excess oil that is still there on the surface.

By Becky C (Guest Post)
January 22, 20050 found this helpful

I've used 2 liters of coke to clean engine oil off the driveway before - worked well for me - it was concrete.

By John (Guest Post)
January 22, 20050 found this helpful

dry cement powder will sometimes work, too

By guest (Guest Post)
January 22, 20050 found this helpful

My landlord used clumping kitty litter in my driveway. Spred it thickly, about 1/2inch, and just left it for a week or so. Then they swept it up and hosed it off.

January 23, 20050 found this helpful

Just go to any automotive parts store and tell them what you want. They will tell you which brand of "Sorb-All" is currently on special or in fashion. It is usually about a quarter the price of kitty litter.


Have FUN!

By Anna from Maine, USA (Guest Post)
January 23, 20050 found this helpful

We have a liquid dishwashing product called DAWN, it was used when there were tanker crude oil spills to clean the wildlife that got caught in it. Maybe you don't have that but you may have a dishwashing product that would compare.

January 24, 20050 found this helpful

I ordered ProActiv Solution for my teens to try and all it did was bleach our face and hand towels, but it did take the stains off our driveway as well. Just thought I'd throw that in the mix!

By bill (Guest Post)
February 25, 20050 found this helpful

try cat litter, spread it over thr stain , scuff it around wirh your works in my garage

February 25, 20050 found this helpful

Hi. My husband is in the military and fixes jets. So he's pretty familiar with cleaning up spills on the tarmac. He says the gov uses cat litter first to absorb what they can.


Then you should use DAWN dishwashing liquid to clean any residual mess. The gov uses it as well just under a different name. Good luck with it.

February 25, 20050 found this helpful

Hi SUzanne again. Hubby says if this is an old stain and has been set for a while then you'll need to go to a hardware store and buy a chemical product call TSP (trisodium phosphate). It should be with the painting supplies. Put it on the stain and let it set for a few minutes. The take a broom or scrub brush and work it in. Then spray off with water. He says that's what they use on the real nasty stains. So brilliant. Hope it works for you. Good luck.

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6 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

April 18, 2009

How do I clean the green mildew and moss off my tarmac driveway?

By Gerry Mc Clelland


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 147 Feedbacks
April 18, 20090 found this helpful

Bleach will do it, good luck.

April 18, 20090 found this helpful

I would try a pressure washer.

April 20, 20090 found this helpful

Tried the pressure washer. Didn't do it. Thanks anyway. Having a go with the bleach next.

April 22, 20160 found this helpful

Sodium hydroclorite

December 27, 20180 found this helpful

I read so much on the net about bleach for moss. Please try not to use chlorine bleaches on driveways and in gardens.


Sodium percarbonate is the best moss, mould and algae killer and its not harmful to the environment.

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February 7, 2015

How do you remove cement and paint from a tarmac drive left on after building repairs?

By jeg from Chester, UK


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
June 29, 20180 found this helpful

Wow...this brought back a childhood memory of sitting on a hot driveway peeling away paint spatters for fun trying to get them come up whole (which never happened)...I hadn't thought about that in years...the heat would make the color come up off the stuff and the backs of our legs would be filthy....and burned if we weren't careful!


Flashback moment here...sorry!!

So it is time consuming, but they often peel up by hand or with the gentle use of a scraper. Some folks swear by letting a bit of paint thinner or rubbing alcohol set on the spot...but that is dangerous if it gets into the water supply, so I would forgo it unless you absolutely have to. If you have to go that route, test it somewhere SMALL first to make sure it doesn't do damage as every laying of tarmac is a hair different.

Good luck!


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
June 29, 20180 found this helpful

Try salt. The cement will be harder to remove.

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October 22, 2007

How do I get tarmac back to black and clean?

Michael from Manchester, England


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 124 Posts
October 24, 20070 found this helpful

I have heard Coca Cola does the job [don't use cheaper alternatives, they don't work].

Try a small area with a can to see if what I have heard is correct?


Best wishes
Monique :D


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 147 Feedbacks
April 18, 20090 found this helpful

Bleach it,good luck.

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September 26, 2015

Can someone help me? My neighbour spilt concrete on my tarmac drive, now dry. How can it be removed?


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
October 27, 20170 found this helpful

Sakrete makes a concrete dissolver. You can get it at home improvement stores.

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December 16, 2014

Visitors leaving aircon and heaters on whilst driving into my driveway drop a fluid which I then have to try and remove. Your best advice would be much appreciated. Driveway was done 12 months ago.

By Pam M. from Tasmania


March 23, 20190 found this helpful

If its oil they are leaving behind, cat litter will soak it up then try some dawn soap with baking soda. Make a paste add a little water, just a teaspoon depending on the size of the stain, but make it a paste and let that set on it for maybe 20 min then scrub with a hard brush and hot water. If all else fails try a pressure washer or moratic acid...with the moratic acid make SURE you wear protective gloves made for chemicals. That stuff is no joke but it will clean up the mess if the first one didn't get it all.

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May 1, 2006

How do I get dried cement off my tarmac driveway?

Martin from England


June 8, 20060 found this helpful

My boyfriend works as a cement truck driver, so I asked his advice on this. He said that they use hydrochloric acid to dissolve the dried up cement that builds up on the trucks. He's not sure how the tarmac would react to the hydrochloric acid though, so he says you should definitely do an acid test somewhere on the tarmac where it can't be seen first before attempting this procedure, just in case. He said to chip off as much of the dried cement as you can first, using a hammer and an old skrewdriver or something like that. Hydrochloric acid is a very strong acid so don't forget to use acid-safe rubber gloves and avoid breathing in the fumes, so do it on a windy day. He said you could alternatively try using acetic acid instead which is a weaker acid and less "dangerous". (If the tarmac can stand the acid test at all, that is.) It will be safer for you, but will take longer to dissolve the cement. Afterwards, soak up as much of the dissolved cement as you can using cat-litter or old rags to avoid too much acid being rinsed off into the flowerbeds. Afterwards, you should rinse, rinse and rinse again with water to remove and dilute as much of the acid residue as possible. Good luck!

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