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Question DetailsAsked on 7/29/2016

how do you remove oil stains from unsealed pavers

we have oil stains on our unsealed driveway made with pavers

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1 Answer


Make sure you surround the stain with a rag so it does not spread as it is dissolved, and remove by dabbing as it is softened and dissolved, not wiping and smearing it around.

1) scrape off any buildup of dust and oil, or grease that you can get with a putty knife or such

2) paper towel dab up any liquid oil - then if there was oil you could feel (as opposed to just a stain) put sweeping compound or kitty litter on it and pound it in with a hammer to powder it more and embed it, then let sit several days to soak up what oil it can before going to 3) or 4) below.

3) for light oil like power steering or transmission or brake fluid, just a couple drops of Dawn or similar dishwashing liquid detergent (though Dawn works FAR better than most other brands on oil) on a wet paper towel, dabbed on with paper towel or rag will dissolve it so you can dab it up after a couple minutes sitting after thoroughly wetting it - then hose rinse, repeat a time or two if did not get it all.

4) grease or a stain that has sat a long time - I do above but with NAPA Purple Power Cleanser instead, dabbing on with a paper towel it has been sprayed onto the paper towel, let soak in, dab off with clean towel, repeat a couple of times.

5) for both of the above, residual stain (without any detectable oil filling the pores of the paving), you can spray with non-flammable evaporating automotive spray brake cleaner from NAPA or others - has to be the fully evaporating type, not the type with residual oils. Spray on, dab off cycle a couple of times - can reduce the stain to unnoticeable if just walking by.

6) some people prefer to dab-wet the stain (after removing any wipeable oil) with hot water, then sprinkle on a coating of powdered clothes washing detergent like tide, or put a dollop of Shout or liquid clothes detergent and rub it into the stain and let it sit (on concrete/stone, not asphalt) rather than use Dawn or Purple Power or such.

As I mentioned above, do not let the dissolved oil spread over adjacent area (nd do not wet the surrounding area during the process as the oil will sheen on the water and spread. If you pre-spray the area to thoroughly wet it and hose it off thoroughly on final hosing, chasing any minor oil sheen all the way to the street, you can avoid a noticeable stain down the drive. Do NOT just hose off the cleaned spot, because the runoff may still have some oil or cleaner in it that will discolor the drive where the water runs - premist the dirve to prevent soaking in, then hose from top to bottom. Hose off the spot only as final cleaning - not while there is still visible oil on the spot - use dabbing for that, because dissolve the oil stain in concentration, and hose it off and you can easily get an oil stain all the way down the drive.

On paper towels - you can use rags, but you need to use a clean spot EVERY dabbing round so you don't just reapply the removed oil or grease with it, so unless you have a lot of rags paper towels are cheaper. After applying detergent/cleaner, use DRY paper towel to dab the oil off - not wet.

WARNING on above - Dawn to a some extent if let sit, Purple Power quite significantly, brake cleaner to a very great extent will dissolve the oil/asphalt out of asphalt driveway, so you have to treat and rinse quickly to avoid removing too much oil from the asphalt. Let even detergent sit 10-15 minutes and you can end up with a divot of aggregate that just pops out at next washing of the drive - a good shot of brake cleaner can remove the oil a good portion of an inch deep in just a few minutes.

BTW - if you have a lot of oil stains and just want to make them less obvious and don't mind slight stained traces down the drive (which in that case you probably already have anyway), you can scrape/dab up any loose oil or grease, then spray brake cleaner or purple power on the stains, then after letting sit a few minutes (but only 10-15 second wait on asphalt) overspray the entire drive with a mist to wet it (so oil will not soak into the clean part), then hose down the entire drive from top all the way to bottom. Might get a light oil stain along the way but if you have a lot of staining will be a lot better than nothing or spending hours on the stains one by one.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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