If your car has left a big oil stain in your driveway, you might be thinking that it is just something you have to live with from now on. Good news! You don’t.
There are a few ways to remove oil stains from your driveway, and which one you use will be dependent on the material your drive is made of and how fresh the oil stain is.
You can banish those unsightly splotches and improve your curb appeal at the same time. We will show you the best removers for brand new oil stains as well as those that have been around awhile.
What Is Your Driveway Made Of?
From concrete to brick pavers, there are many options when it comes to driveway materials. Here are four popular driveway materials:
- Concrete. A popular choice for driveways, concrete is robust making it a great choice no matter your climate. It can take a beating and last for up to 40 years. Concrete is a little more difficult to repair, and it is prone to cracking as it ages.
- Asphalt. A very common driveway material, asphalt is an affordable option that is relatively quick to install. Plus, it offers a smooth appearance even over larger areas. Asphalt is also easy to patch if it gets damaged, but it has a shorter lifespan than some other options. In addition, it is not a very eco-friendly material as it is petroleum-based.
- Paver. Paver or brick driveways are as durable as they are aesthetically appealing. This style of drive is easy to customize and easy to repair as individual pavers can be replaced as needed. DIYers love a paver or brick driveway because it doesn’t require heavy equipment for an install.
- Gravel. Popular in warmer climates, gravel driveways are long-lasting, but they will occasionally need “topping off” as the gravel makes its way into the street or yard. Gravel is not a good option in snowy climates as it is challenging to plow or shovel.
How to Remove Old Oil Stains From Driveway
Oil stains that have been around for a while are a bit more involved than a fresh one, and they may require a potent cleaner to get your driveway back into shape. Most hardware stores or home improvement stores will carry cleaners specifically formulated to help remove oil from your drive.
Before you use any type of cleaner, you will want to test it on a small, out-of-the-way spot on your driveway. This way, if it causes any sort of discoloration, you will know before you make the oil stain into something worse.
Here are three excellent oil stain cleaning options:
Option #1. Professional Poultice Cleaner
Works for: concrete, pavers, block, stone, tile, and brick
If you have stubborn oil stains in your driveway, a poultice cleaner may be just the thing. It is easy to use and doesn’t require any scrubbing. One gallon of this thick, batter-like poultice cleaner will cover up to 12 square feet of stained driveway. The applications should completely cover the stain and be about 1 inch thick.
As the poultice dries, it pulls the old oils up out of the driveway surface. In addition to motor oil stains, it can attack brake fluid, anti-freeze, hydraulic fluids, and more. This product works best in temperatures above 50°F. Drying time generally takes 5-8 hours, but it can be overnight in more humid places.
- No scrubbing required
- Works in as quickly as five hours
- Not good for humid climates
Option #2. Concentrated Degreaser
Works for: Concrete, paver
An industrial strength degreaser can help bust your old driveway oil stains, but it should be spot-tested before pouring on the affected area to check for discoloration.
There is a dilution chart to help you get the right mix, but the more porous the material, the more the degreaser will need to be diluted. Oil Eater uses a biodegradable formula and does not contain any harsh solvents.
- Non-corrosive and biodegradable
- Multi-purpose product
- May discolor certain colors of pavers
Option #3. Waterless Concrete Cleaner
Works for: Concrete, asphalt
A waterless driveway cleaner that works to break down hydrocarbon chains using microbes that do not require water to become active. It can handle oil stains that have set into your concrete or your asphalt driveway.
This concrete cleaner packs a punch but is environmentally safe for your family, pet, and grass. If you feel like your stain is not lifting appropriately, you can try pressure washing — but be careful not to damage your driveway in the process.
- Remove the toughest spots
- Sweeping up product can create dust
How to Remove Fresh Oil Stains From Your Driveway
A fresh oil stain may still be wet, unlike one that has been there for a while. While its still wet, you can cover the spot with an absorbant material like sand, cornmeal, or clay cat litter to soak up the oil.
Apply it generously to the spot, and then sweep up a few hours later. You may be able to clean a fresh oil stain with some common household cleaners like dish soap, but it may take a bit of elbow grease to see the fruit of your labors.
Option #1. Laundry Detergent
After soaking up the wet oil with an absorbent material, you are ready to clean it. Using a powder laundry detergent, add just enough water to make it a paste-like consistency. Allow a bit of time for the laundry detergent to work its way into the pores of the concrete or asphalt.
After letting it sit, use a scrub brush to clean the stain completely out of the driveway. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
Option #2. Spray Lubricant
While it seems counterintuitive to use one lubricant to remove another, attacking an oil stain with a spray lubricant can be very effective. Once again, you are going to soak up any excess oil that hasn’t dried yet with an absorbent material like kitty litter.
After any wet oil has been removed, spray the stain generously with spray lubricant and allow it to sit on the stain for several moments. Rinse the area with water thoroughly. You may need to repeat the spray lubricant portion a couple of times to clean the driveaway completely.