How to Remove Oil Stains from Your Driveway Effectively

How to Remove Oil Stains from Your Driveway Effectively
Oil stains on your driveway are more than an eyesore – they’re slick, stubborn, and make your well-maintained property look sloppy. You’ve likely tried scrubbing with basic soap and water, only to feel that familiar pang of frustration. Don’t despair!  There are proven techniques to banish those greasy blemishes. Let’s tackle the best ways to get your driveway sparkling clean, and discuss knowing when it’s time to call in a professional power washing company for those truly tenacious stains.

Assess the Damage

Not all oil stains are created equal. Understanding the stain helps you pick the best removal method:
  • Fresh vs. Set-In: Tackle fresh spills immediately! Older, deep-set stains require more aggressive tactics or the help of a professional.
  • Type of Oil: Did motor oil leak from your car, or is that old cooking grease? Motor oil often has a dark or rainbow sheen, while cooking oil typically looks brownish. Different oils may respond better to specific solutions.
  • Surface: Is your driveway concrete, asphalt, or pavers? Porous materials like concrete can soak up oil faster, making removal trickier.

Your Oil Stain Removal Toolkit

You likely have some effective supplies already:
  • Cat Litter: The classic solution! Cheap, absorbent clay-based litter is incredibly effective at soaking up fresh oil spills.
  • Dish Soap: Cuts through grease and grime. Choose a concentrated formula, not that watered-down stuff under your sink.
  • Baking Soda: A natural degreaser that can be made into a paste with water for stubborn spots.
  • Other DIY Options: Cornstarch works similarly to cat litter, and some swear by WD-40 (test on an inconspicuous area first!). For tough stains, commercial degreasers are available at hardware stores.

DIY Oil Stain Removal Methods

Remember, always test on a small, inconspicuous area first:

Method 1: Absorb and Scrub

  1. Blot up excess oil with rags (don’t rub it in).
  2. Sprinkle cat litter generously over the entire stain.
  3. Let it sit for several hours, or even overnight, to absorb as much oil as possible.
  4. Sweep up the litter, then scrub the area with a stiff brush and a solution of hot water and dish soap.
  5. Rinse thoroughly, and repeat the process if needed.

Method 2: Baking Soda Power

  1. Mix baking soda with a bit of water to form a paste.
  2. Spread the paste over the stain, and let it sit for 30 minutes or longer.
  3. Scrub with a brush and soapy water, then rinse.
  4. Repeat as necessary.

The Power of Pressure Washing…and Its Gentler Cousin, Soft Washing

Sometimes, DIY methods reach their limits. That’s when it’s time to call in the reinforcements – professional power washing and soft washing companies.  While both techniques expertly clean exterior surfaces, they each have strengths for specific situations:
  • Pressure Washing: The Deep-Cleaning Champ When you need sheer blasting power, pressure washing is king. High-pressure water jets pulverize tough stains like caked-on oil, embedded dirt, and weathered grime. Hot water pressure washing is even better, as the heat helps break down stubborn grease and eliminates certain organic growth like algae and mildew.
  • Soft Washing: Gentle But Mighty Soft washing uses lower pressure and specialized cleaning solutions to chemically lift stains, dirt, mold, and algae. This makes it ideal for delicate surfaces like roofs, siding, or anything prone to damage from high-pressure spray. It’s a safer choice around plants, as it minimizes the risk of damaging foliage.

When Pressure Washing is the Winner:

  • Deeply set-in stains on tough surfaces like concrete driveways
  • Large areas requiring fast, efficient cleaning
  • Prepping surfaces for repainting or resealing

When Soft Washing Takes the Crown:

  • Fragile surfaces like asphalt shingles, older wood, or stucco
  • Removing mold, mildew, and algae without harsh blasting
  • Areas surrounded by sensitive landscaping
Thankfully we offer both at Veterans Pressure Washing.

When to Call a Power Washing Company

Consider professional help from a power washing company when:
  • Your stains are numerous, large, or deeply set-in.
  • DIY methods haven’t yielded results.
  • Your driveway is made of porous materials prone to absorbing stains.
  • You want a fast, hassle-free solution.

Preventing Future Stains

Seal your driveway! A good sealer makes oil spills easier to clean and protects the surface from damage. Reapply your sealer periodically based on manufacturer recommendations and how much wear and tear your driveway experiences.  Other tips include parking on cardboard to catch drips, addressing vehicle leaks promptly, and maintaining a regular driveway cleaning schedule to prevent dirt and grime from helping stains set in.


Oil stains don’t have to be a permanent blight on your driveway. With these methods, you can restore its pristine appearance. But for deep-set stains or a whole driveway covered in grime, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the experts. Veterans Pressure Washing is your solution! Our experienced team has the know-how and equipment to make your driveway look like new. Get your free quote today!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *