Hydraulic mechanisms are used in a variety of machines, from large construction machinery to automobile lift systems. Hydraulic fluid is essential for proper functioning of this kind of device, necessitating immediate clean up procedures if spilled.
Hydraulic fluid is an oil that allows power to be transferred within a mechanism to create a strong action, such as lifting or pushing a large item. As with any oil, its negative impact on the environment requires a user to be diligent in order to keep spills to a minimum.
A homemade way of soaking up a hydraulic fluid spill is with pine shavings. The natural absorbency of the wood picks up the fluid and holds it, much like a paper towel. The shavings can then be disposed of by burning them in an appropriate incinerator.
Other materials have been experimented with to contain or absorb spills like hydraulic fluids. Straw, natural leaf waste, and bark have all been used individually, and as mixtures, to achieve homemade spill cleanups.