Yes, I know that having a car is unsustainable, but nevertheless I'm interested in the most sustainable way to remove an oil stain from my driveway.

Unsustainable suggestions I've had include using kitty litter (mining bentonite is hardly sustainable), and chemical degreasers (probably petroleum based).

Obviously used oil from a car is pretty toxic, so there's probably no avoiding sending the material I use to soak up the oil to landfill (unless perhaps it's safe to burn in small quantities in a hot fire, depending on what material I soak it up into?). However using a material that has the lowest possible environmental impact is something I can control.

  • Why would mining bentonite be unstustainable. It is a stable compound that does not create hazardous waste. You will be using a very finite amount for a very specific purpose. It is not like you need to do the mining it is a by product of mining several other ore that are already mined. Everyone needed to remove an oil stain a week and maybe even a day I doubt we would run out of it.
    – user141
    Commented Feb 16, 2013 at 4:35
  • @Chad, my understanding is that because it's used for cat litter, there is already an enormous demand for it. It can only be used once, and won't re-accumulate within any reasonable period, which makes it unsustainable by definition, no matter what the size of the reserves. Commented Feb 16, 2013 at 10:06
  • 1
    I think you underestimate the reserves of this. The only thing that is unsustainable about this process would be the oil, but that is already there you are just putting it into a medium that is actually going to improve the oils reclamation rate, and prevent it from contaminating runoff. This would be more sustainable than just leaving the stain for sure. And definitely better than any chemical cleaning agent I know of.
    – user141
    Commented Feb 16, 2013 at 13:29
  • I'm going to make a joke response: Sell your car get rid of the driveway, bike to work and turn the driveway into a garden. This really may be the most sustainable answer TBH. LOL. Commented May 16, 2018 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


If you just changed the oil, ground cork or sawdust works well. If the oil has been sitting there then try distilled white vinegar with baking soda. Take a shop broom or large brush with hard bristles and put some muscle into it. It may take a few rounds.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.