How to Remove Oil on Pavers.


Hey!  Look at me!  I’m a lantern.  An oil filled lantern!

I live in Karen’s backyard!

Oil on Paver 2


Last week, just a day after Karen cleaned her pavers, I jumped right out of my spot in the garden and landed on the exact same paver Karen had just spent 2 days cleaning vegetable oil off of!  Don’t blame me.  The tornado made me do it.

Yup. I spilled my oil all over the exact same paver.   Heh.  Yup.  This pretty much sums up Karen’s life.

Oil on Paver 1


Yes.  It’s true.  My lantern is an asshead.

I’ll admit it.  I cried a little.

No actual tears came out, but I made that scrunchy face.
The fella kindly went out and got me some Dawn because so many people had recommended it.

Plus the Internet said it worked … but … the Internet lies …

Oil on Paver 3


Dawn was applied to the stone.

Oil on Paver 4


It was scrubbed in with a scrub brush, with a tiny bit of water … and left for 5 minutes.

Oil on Pavers 5


Lather, rinse , repeat.


Oil on Pavers Final


And THAT is how to remove oil from cement or pavers.



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  2. Jim Hayes says:

    I spilled oil on the gorgeous brick patio I installed a few years ago. Since I’d used WD-40 to clean oil off concrete, I didn’t even bother to spot-test it. Mistake! It made it far worse. I tried dish soap, then all kinds of solvents, to no effect. My sweetheart suggested Dawn and I balked, since I’d already tried soap. But I tried it anyway, since, hey, it works on ducks, doesn’t it?

    It worked! Life once again shines in glory!

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  4. Laura Adams says:

    Karen, I know this is an old post, but, hey – I read them, so someone else may, too. A year ago, I found myself having to clean 16 years of cooking grease off of some kitchen cabinets. I, too, tried both TSP and Dawn, along with a commercial degreaser my father-in-law gave me, to no avail. Google gave me one more option: dishwashing powder, mixed into hot water. It cut right through the grease that the other three barely touched. Don’t know if it would work on your pavers, but thought I’d pass it on.
    Love your blog, girl.

    • Karen says:

      Hey Laura! Thanks. I actually ended up sealing my whole backyard this year so they’re all evenly dark, lol. Not because of the grease stain but because the flagstone was getting sad and pale looking. Love your idea though. When you say dishwashing powder do you mean, like the type you’d put into a dishwasher?! I never, ever would have thought of that but it make sense. ~ karen!

  5. Mary Ann Deebs says:

    It works!!!!! Thanks for putting this on the net for other people to try. You never even know that the oil happened!
    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

  6. Heather DeGruy says:

    This afternoon I received a friendly visit from our HOA Nazis, they love to stop by my home the minute my plants have grown a centimeter too long, or (like you) bread bag, Gatorade bottle and empty Dunkin Donuts cup are have a threesome after garbage night. Anyway apparently my Jeep has not been able to hold it’s bodily fluids and has proceeded to pee motor oil all over my brick pavers….q HOA Nazis…..wait for it……now! Well it’s been there for weeks and NOW it has become an “eyesore and a blemish to the community” An eyesore?? Ward, go get Wally and the Beaver, we just jumped back in time about 65 years!!! Karen, do you have any remedies for my Jeeps little potty problem? I mean apparently we are really upsetting Ozzie and Harriet next door. Thanks

    • Tracy says:

      If you have a problem with deed restrictions, perhaps you should reconsider living in a deed restricted community. Also, whether you acknowledge it or not, odds are those same deed restrictions are probably what made the neighborhood attractive to you in the first place which helped make your decision to purchase your home there. I have lived in both and experienced the pros and cons to both.

  7. Erin says:

    as a new zealander I love that your dawn is New Zealand springs scent – what does that even smell like??

    Anyhoo – great tip!

  8. Inga says:

    Would the same work for candle wax ya think?

    • Karen says:

      Inga – I’m not sure. Definitely worth giving it a shot, but it’s a different material than oil. Lemme know if you try! ~ karen

  9. Cindy Marlow says:

    You had me at asshead…

  10. Nancy says:

    I correct myself…what the next weather development spills on it..

  11. Nancy says:

    And what have we learned from this Karen..the next time the weather man is predicting a tornado…when you run to your local store to stock up on bread, milk, candles and such..don’t forget the DAWN for all of your clean-up needs..(shouldn’t I be getting paid for this?)..PS..I will be anxiously waiting to hear what you spill on it next..

  12. Jen says:

    How much did the fly charge for his modeling services?

    • Karen says:

      Jen – Hah! I noticed the fly after I uploaded the pic to my computer. Poor dumb thing didn’t even know he was modelling. Flies are so stupid. ~ k

  13. Amy in StL says:

    Dawn takes grease out of clothes???? OMG, I feel like I have a newfound superpower.

  14. Paulette says:

    I would have never thought thought to flip it, tricky as that may be (and time consuming)… great ideas for Dawn, thanks! I love your blog :)

  15. Shauna says:

    Clearly, Dawn needs to sponsor you a lil’ bit for this great post that proves its claims;)

  16. Liv says:

    I would have thrown a fit…. thought about how difficult it would be to clean… and then just turned it over. Out of site, out of mind.

  17. Another Karen says:

    I just want to thank everyone for all the extra uses of Dawn. I love it but never thought of using it to wash the dog or as a spot remover.

    Also, Karen, I have oil lanterns similar to yours without the stands. Did you make the stands?

  18. Amanda says:

    Like Marilyn said – there’s a reason they use Dawn to clean oil off of birds. (Awww) And that reason? It’s petroleum based. Like cleans like. Imagine the horror of being an environmentalist, hating oil for all the hurt it’s caused, cleaning up after a spill using it on wildlife only to find out it’s…gasp…OIL BASED!
    Dawn kinda rocks. Can’t lie.

  19. Pat says:

    I usually use a squirt of liquid dish detergent on any oil/grease spots we get on our clothing, then launder. I’m talking food kind of grease. Most times it works. However, I have found that some name brand detergents actually leech their colour so have been hesitant and only use a detergent without any colour in it. Just “dawned” on me that maybe DAWN is the answer! Do you think it would work on those big ugly oil drips from vehicles that people sometimes leave on your driveway? And what if the drips are oldish?

    • Karen says:

      Pat – Yes I do think think it will work. If the oil is new I’d put a layer of kitty litter down to soak it up. Brush the kitty litter away and use Dawn like I did. If the stain is old, the kitty litter won’t do anything because the oil is soaked in so just go straight to the Dawn. In my opinion it’ll take the majority of the stain out, if not all of it. ~ karen

      • Alliso'n says:

        My dad’s go-to for getting oil from vehicles off of the concrete driveway is a combination of mineral spirits and kitty litter. Mineral spirits down first, then a layer of litter, followed by stepping on the litter and squishing it around with your shoe.

        Tidbit of the day: every time my dad got “comfortable” enough to show this little trick to my old boyfriends (a.k.a. the owners of aforementioned leaky vehicles) they would break up with me no more than 2 weeks later. It became somewhat of joke in my family that my relationship fate was dictated by motor oil.

    • Lonelle says:

      During my teenage years I workd at an auto shop, and yes, Dawn is awesome!! We used it for getting grease out of clothes, the floor, counters, anything and everything!! I once sat on an O-ring and Dawn got the grease out of my favorite skirt!! lol

  20. A Different Matt says:

    Try looking for Dawn at your local Dollar Store. The ones in my area carry it and it’s a lot cheaper than at the big stores.

    P.S. My friend Dawn approves of this post.

  21. Lita says:

    My father swears by the stuff. Used it for everything when I was a kid: fleas, pesticide for plants, degreaser for sundry motorcycle parts, as a fleas shampoo for the dogs, etc.

    You know the dad with the windex in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? He’s like that, but with Dawn.

    So weird. I love that man ;)

  22. Pati Gulat says:

    Karen, just for future reference….like if you ever get fleas or anything…Dawn is great for that too. ;o) LOLOL !

  23. marilyn says:

    well Dawn is what they use to get the oil off of birds caught in oil spills in the ocean so if it can get that mess off of the poor birds then i guess your pavers aren’t even a challenge. glad it worked for you, it’s kind of hard to find. not every store carries it, the $ store only has it in a small size, probably the only non deal in the place! its great stuff though, i love the lavendar one!

  24. Ha! So maybe the internet doesn’t lie all the time. Now, thanks to you Karen, we all know that Dawn works, just like they say on their adverts, Gets Grease Out of Your Way. YAY Karen!

  25. Jen says:

    Wow. Dawn really does take grease out of the way.

    And now back to our regular programming.

  26. Patti says:

    I’ve never tried it but I heard pouring coke on an oil stain will remove it…?

  27. Nicole says:

    And bonus, now your paver also smells like New-Zealand springs! Because you never know when your guests are going to get down and smell your pavers.

  28. JBB says:

    *whistles loudly, keeping his eyes averted* :)

    Tuesday, 23 August, 2011 at 9:33

    Next time, light the oil on fire and let it burn away rather than soak in.

    Something tells me there’ll be a next time. ;)

    Tuesday, 23 August, 2011 at 9:54

    Hey JBB – Nope! I can guarantee there won’t be a next time. I’m not as klutzy as I look. I’m just one of the few who’s willing to let other people see their mistakes. I know … shocking! :) ~ karen”


    • Karen says:

      JBB – I will have you know that I was not respnsible for this! It had nothing to do with klutzyness. It had to do with a Tornado. Clearly out of my control. Unless you think I’m *slightly* more powerful than I am. ~ k!

    • sherwood says:

      I don’t know. I think that the oiled slab looks better. I’d be really tempted to do something like mix up mineral pigment (used for coloring wet concrete) with linseed oil, and coloring them all.

      If you are really into pain, paint dark lines in patterns, let dry, and color different blocks separately giving the effect of cobblestone.

    • Jakeflake says:

      Light the oil and have black carbon soot stain.

  29. Belinda Philp says:

    Can’t help but notice the New Zealand Springs fragrance…can’t help but wonder what that smells like. As a NZ’er, half the springs round our parts smell like rotten eggs….yeck.

  30. I’m so glad that there was a solution. You can barely see it now.

  31. Shannon @ bakeandbloom says:

    This is also how I remove oily stains from clothing. It works magic on pasta sauce,

  32. Amie says:

    Holy shit! What the hell is in Dawn if it can do that….

  33. Matt says:

    What about x3? Or is the x2 as good as it gets?

    • Karen says:

      Matt – I ran out of time so I only did it twice. Also I didn’t care that much, LOL. It’s possible a third time would help a little bit more, but in real life it looks better than in the photos. ~ k!

  34. Marti says:

    LatHer, rinse , repeat.

  35. SK Farm Girl says:

    K – why not just oil all the pavers and be done with it?!?! Or would that be wrong – on so many levels? I guess they would get all stinky-like in the summer heat, but they look rather nice and when you have unexpectes spills ‘n tornados it would save you the stress . . . just sayin’ . . .

    • Cassie Moore says:

      SK Farm Girl – I know Karen has considered that, but she is too sweet to tell you :) I thought of the same thing when this happened again to her cuz.. well.. maybe the universe is trying to tell you something Karen. Even better than dousing them all with some oily stuff is a solution!! YAY Dawn – and you forgot to thank the internet, Karen :)

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