How to Remove Stains from an Asphalt Driveway
A stained driveway can really detract from the curb appeal of your home. Left untreated, a stained driveway not only looks untidy, but spills from vehicle fluids—like oil, gas and grease—can actually damage the asphalt. To keep your home looking its best, and to keep your asphalt in tip-top shape, remove stains as quickly as possible after they occur.
(Image by Christopher Sessums)
Oil, Grease and Gas Stains
- Spread a solid layer of cat litter over the stain, and let it sit overnight to allow the litter to absorb as much of the spill as possible.
- The next morning, sweep up the cat litter and dispose of it. (Check your local city ordinances to make sure you’re disposing of the litter properly. Litter, brushes, paper towels and rags soaked with oil, gas or grease can pose an environmental risk if you throw them into your garbage can and they’re later dumped with other garbage.)
- Spread a thick layer of liquid dish soap over the stain.
- Fill a bucket with warm water, then use a brush to scrub the stain. Be sure to rinse the brush frequently between scrubbings. Keep this up until the stain is removed.
- Finally, rinse off the stain with a garden hose.
- Fill a cleaning bucket half full with hot water, then add 2 cups white vinegar and ½ cup dish soap.
- Pour some of this solution on the stain, then let it stand for 15 minutes or so.
- Scrub the stain with a stiff brush. Be sure to wear gloves since anti-freeze can harm your skin.
- Rinse with a garden hose, then repeat the process until the stain is gone.
While these two procedures usually work well for cleaning asphalt with common household products, there are some other methods that may also work, depending on the severity of the stain and how long it’s been on the driveway.
- Baking soda or powdered laundry soap: Sprinkle the soda or soap on an oil stain, then scrub with a stiff brush. Let the soda or soap sit for 30 minutes, then rinse and repeat until the stain is removed.
- Commercial degreasers: Although you probably don’t have a commercial degreaser on hand, it may be worth it to purchase one. These products are very effective at cleaning asphalt, and they typically do so without any harm to the environment (although it’s always best to carefully read the label just to be sure).
- Steam pressure washing: If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can usually find one to rent at a home improvement or rental store. It may be a more expensive alternative than some of the other cleaning methods, but it’s usually very effective on fresh stains.
No matter which method you choose, when it comes to cleaning asphalt, there’s just one thing to remember—the sooner, the better!
Rick Anderson blogs for www.contractorsasphalt.com in Austin, TX. For more information contact:
Contractors Asphalt Paving and Maintenance
713 Linger Ln.