How to remove oil stains from asphalt driveway?

If you’re parking your vehicle on your asphalt driveway, chances are that your driveway is covered in all kinds of stains that are not easy to get rid of. These stains might include engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, gearbox oil, and several other unspecified stains. So, do you remove these oil stains from your asphalt driveway?

excess oil

Table of Contents

How to remove oil stains from an asphalt driveway?

There are some wonderful techniques you can try to remove oil stains on your asphalt driveway. In this article, I’ll be discussing 10 effective methods, which include the use of some household products as well as a few store-bought items. Let’s get into the details.

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda doesn’t have special chemical properties, but it acts as a mild abrasive.

You can combine baking soda with water, use a scrub brush, and break up those stubborn oil stains on your asphalt driveway. Make sure you use only a little water when making the baking soda paste.

What’s more, baking soda can be employed as an absorbent as well, just like kitty litter or granular clay. Well, baking soda should be your option if you aren’t able to get larger-grained absorbents like granular clay or kitty litter. Let’s see how you can use baking soda to remove oil stains on your driveway:

  • First, pour a layer of baking soda over the stained area.
  • Allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Using a hard bristle brush, scrub the baking soda.
  • Then, hose it completely off your driveway.
  • Remember to repeat the same if necessary.
oil stain remover by baking powder

2. Spray Lubricant

A spray lubricant is the best option to remove minor oil stains from your asphalt driveway. In fact, a spray lubricant is known to remove oil stains from asphalt easily and quickly. It is a great method to remove tough stains and maintain your driveway. It is really quick and doesn’t need any scrubbing or pressure washing. All you need to do is spray and then use a garden hose to rinse the area with water.

3. Pressure Washing

When it comes to pressure washing, you can choose to do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. If you have enough time and don’t want to spend much, pressure washing your asphalt driveway to remove oil stains is a good bet.

Do-It-Yourself Pressure Washing

DIY pressure washing is a great way to break up and sweep away oil stains from your asphalt driveway. The method relies on pure force.

You should be quite careful about the amount of force you apply when you choose to do it yourself. It’s because sustained pressure washing using a needle-thin spray not only breaks up the oil but can also break up the asphalt. So, using the right force to hit the asphalt is an art in itself.

Pressure washers that come in the 1,600-psi range or less often cannot remove the oil stains. You will probably need a pressure washer that comes in the 3,000-psi range to remove the oil stains effectively. Well, if you feel that DIY pressure washing is not your cup of tea, you’d better hire a professional pressure washing service.

Professional Pressure Washing

Professional pressure washing is clearly a better option than DIY pressure washing in terms of experience and equipment. Professionals are well equipped with the expertise, experience, and equipment required to clean oil stains on an asphalt driveway. They generally employ an exclusive flat surface cleaning head, which looks more like a floor buffer.

They apply water pressure up to 4,000 psi, elevating the large cleaning head and delivering up to 8 GPM. These experts can get rid of even the most stubborn oil stains while at the same time protecting your driveway. As the force isn’t as directed as the use of a needle-thin spray, you don’t have to worry about the asphalt breaking down.

pressure washing driveway

4. Driveway Degreasers

The driveway degreaser does an amazing job of removing oil stains from your asphalt driveway. The best part is that it doesn’t cost much and doesn’t require too much scrubbing to remove the oil.

After you apply the driveway degreaser, allow it to sit for nearly 20 minutes. Then, using a yard brush, scrub for a few minutes in a gentle manner, rinse, and let it dry.

5. Green Degreasers

Green degreasers are an excellent alternative to toxic cleaners. These work by removing oil stains without abrasives or harsh chemicals. In most green degreasers, alcohol ethoxylates are the active ingredients. A few green degreasers include citrus for enhanced cleaning ability and to impart a pleasant odor.

You can use these green degreasers directly from the bottle or dilute them with water. To remove oil stains from your driveway, you need to vigorously scrub the green degreasers using a nylon bristle brush. Wash away the residue with water.

You may have to repeat the application several times to completely remove the oil stains from your asphalt driveway.

driveway degreaser

6. Oven Cleaners

It’s obvious. When an oven cleaner can clean off the oil and grease stains from your oven, why not try it on your driveway? Well, oven cleaners contain toxic substances such as ether, lye, and ethylene glycol; however, they can quickly break up the oil stains.

Spray the oven cleaner over the oil stains and allow it to foam up. Let it sit for approximately 15 minutes. Then, scrub the stain with a nylon or wire brush, and wash it away. Don’t forget to use protective gear, including eye protection and rubber gloves, when you use an oven cleaner.

7. Granular Clay

Fine granular clay is generally sold in bags or buckets to absorb oil and similar fluids on driveways. Being absorbent in nature, granular clay works best on fresh, standing oil pools. If you want to remove a fresh spill of oil from your driveway, you can use granular clay. It often does not help in cleaning old, dried oil spots on your driveway.

You can apply granular clay by scooping it onto the oil spill and then spreading it using a broom. Maintain a 1/2-inch to 1-inch thickness for it to absorb the spill. After the oil has been absorbed, you can sweep it up and dispose of it.

Granular Clay

8. Cat Litter

You can use cat litter in a similar fashion as granular clay. It absorbs and gets rid of fresh oil stains from asphalt driveways. When you use cat litter to clean off oil spills from your asphalt, make sure you use clay-based litter. Avoid using silica gel or biodegradable cat litter that is made from corn, newspaper, wheat, or pine.

9. Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent works well for getting rid of oil stains from your asphalt driveway. It is extremely convenient. Everyone has it at home and all you need to do is run inside, dump some laundry detergent over the oil spill, and then clean it up.

Moreover, it comes with the additional benefits of being cheap and non-toxic and giving off a pleasant smell. However, the only downside is that it might take a lot more work compared to the other techniques.

What you need to do is apply some laundry detergent over the stain, use a brush and scrub well for a few minutes, and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Before doing a final rinse, you should scrub again to fully remove the oil stain.

Laundry Detergent

10. Strong Dishwashing Liquid

A strong dishwashing liquid is another product that is easily available in your home. It does a decent job of removing oil stains from asphalt. Besides, it is cheap and non-toxic. Let’s take a look at how you can use it.

  • Before using the dishwashing liquid to remove oil stains, you’ll have to clear all the debris from your driveway.
  • Follow by wetting it down with water. You can use a garden hose to do that.
  • After wetting the area, cover it with dishwashing liquid.
  • Use a large yard brush and work the solution into your driveway using side-to-side sweeps, and then top to bottom sweeps.
  • Let the liquid solution sit for 15 minutes for it to work. Make sure you don’t wait until it dries out. In that case, you’ll have to start from square one.
  • After some time, you can notice the stain turning brown; this means, the oil has started to loosen and break down.
  • You can brush away the residue and wash it off. You can see that most of the oil stains have disappeared.

It’s one of the most inexpensive ways to get rid of oil stains from asphalt driveways. However, it does take more time than other methods.

Dishwashing Liquid


How to remove oil stains from asphalt driveways? I’m sure you’ve got a solution now. Oil stains on asphalt driveways may not be a pleasant sight. However, you can get rid of these stains using a few techniques. Key takeaways include:

  • Some of the readily available sources to get rid of oil stains include cat litter, laundry detergents, strong dishwashing liquids, and baking soda.
  • You can also try spray lubricants, oven cleaners, degreasers, and granular clay.
  • For fresh oil spills, you can consider using granular clay, baking soda, and cat litter.
  • To remove stubborn stains and maintain your driveway in superb condition, hiring a professional pressure washer is a good idea.
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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