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Removing an oil slick from a driveway, and helpful hints from readers

qa friend came to visit and she's left behind an unsightly reminder of her stay: an oil stain on the driveway. Is there any way I can remove it? - J.N., Providence, R.I.

AUnfortunately, that oil slick in your driveway is going to be hard to make disappear. Once oil has penetrated through the porous cement or blacktop, it is impossible to remove all of it, says Jeff Gillis, manager of environmental and industrial services division at Fleet Environmental Services in Lakeville, Mass.

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Speedi-Dri, which can be purchased in hardware stores, is one option. The vermiculite-based absorbent is for petroleum products. Mr. Gillis says washing the oil spill with a detergent can lead to spreading. He recommends applying Speedi-Dri to the spill as soon as possible to prevent it from penetrating into the driveway surface.

If you can't get Speedi-Dri, cat litter will work also. Durasorb is another absorbent product that many hardware stores carry.

Advice from readers

Several of you wrote to tell about deterring pests from your homes and gardens. One e-mail recommended fox urine - bought in jars at hunting-supply stores - to discourage squirrels. The critters catch a whiff and vacate the premises. Other suggestions:

You may not believe this, but a friend of mine got rid of woodchucks in his yard by pouring human urine (his own) into the woodchuck holes. - W.B., New Berlin, Wis.

To protect our garden from woodchucks, we put in a poultry-wire fence about three feet high with a foot of it folded flat to the ground and pinned there, fold to the outside. Easier than burying a foot deep, and nobody has dug under it in six summers. - E.L.S., Meredith, N.H.

Readers: Pose your questions and we'll seek out experts on home repairs, gardens, food, and family legal issues. Send queries to the Homefront Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail

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