Oil Stains on Pavement: How to Get Rid of Them

17 November 2020
Huile sur asphalte

It is almost inevitable that paved surfaces such as driveways, parking lots, and even sidewalks and patios will get dirty and stained. Due to the simple fact that they’re on the ground and traversed on a regular basis. Oil is a particular unsightly stain on paved surfaces and is one that will not simply wash away on its own with rain, or evaporate away in the sun. The paving experts at Pavage Massie are commonly asked these questions by homeowners:

  • What happens if I don’t remove an oil stain in my driveway?
  • How do I know if a pavement stain is oil or not?
  • Where did this oil stain on my pavement come from?
  • How do I remove an oil stain on my driveway?
  • What can I do to avoid oil stains on my pavement?

We will answer your questions about oil stains on pavement. And make sure you know how to get rid of them quickly and easily.  After your reading, you will be able to keep your driveway, parking lot, sidewalk and patio looking great and lasting longer.


Oil Stains Must Be Removed From Pavement

When oil sits on a paved surface it damages the pavement. It will result in faster decay and decomposition of the asphalt in that particular spot. Damaged asphalt due to oil spills will begin to crack and crumble at a much faster rate than the rest of the pavement.

Beyond the immediate and obvious problem of having a hole or crater in your paved surface, the oil-damaged area will allow water to penetrate through to the base layers of your driveway, parking lot, sidewalk or patio. Asphalt surfaces that have water seeping into them will shift and settle causing early cracks and crumbling, leading to costly repairs and replacement.  In short, oil stains destroy pavement.


How do I know if a pavement stain is oil or not?

An oil stain on your paved surface is relatively easy to identify. Here are a few things to look for if you aren’t sure if the mark on your driveway is from an oil spill or not:

  • Oil stains don’t wash away with water alone, even when using a pressure washer or scrub brush
  • Engine oil leaves a dark brown or black spot or series of spots when dripped on pavement
  • If a spill is fresh, oil spills on pavement can be identified by dabbing the surface with a paper towel or clean rag and smelling for a greasy smell.
  • Fresh engine oil stains will feel sticky to the touch
  • Some chemicals with oil in them (such as gasoline) will show a rainbow pattern around the perimeter of the puddle or stain


Where did this oil stain on my pavement come from?

Oil stains on pavement most often come from vehicles that drive on, or are parked on the surface. Lawnmowers, snowblowers, and other gas powered tools are also culprits for dripping oil or gasoline on pavement. Especially if you are filling the gas tank or servicing your equipment on the driveway, walkway, or paved patio. Other potential sources for oil stains on pavement include BBQs (think cooking spray, grease pans, etc.) and leaking garbage bags or bins containing household oils. A single drop of any oil product will leave a stain on pavement.


How do I remove an oil stain on my driveway?

Oil stains cannot be wiped or washed with water alone. Small stains or drips of oil on your driveway, sidewalk or patio can be washed away with a mild household detergent. Such as dishwashing or even laundry detergent, or the use of baking soda. A larger and therefore deeper stain that has saturated your pavement might need a more industrial strength detergent that can be purchased at your local hardware store.

For spot cleaning and oil stain removal, use a stiff bristled brush (or broom) to scrub with a paste made from baking soda. Or powdered laundry detergent and water and rinse off after 30 minutes. Instructions for commercial products vary and should be followed carefully when cleaning oil stains from large areas of your paved driveway, walkway, or patio surface.


What can I do to avoid oil stains on my pavement?

Preventing oil from dripping on your pavement is the best way to avoid oil stains. Here are a few pro tips from our team of paving specialists here at Pavage Massie in Gatineau:

  • When servicing lawn and snow removal equipment: Place one or two flattened cardboard boxes under your lawnmower or snowblower to catch and absorb any gasoline, oil, or grease droplets that might fall.
  • Do not park your car in your driveway for several days after it has been undercoated or sprayed for rust proofing. If street parking is not possible and you must use your driveway. Then cover the entire area under your vehicle with flattened cardboard boxes to protect your pavement from the inevitable drips.
  • Absorb fresh oil and gasoline droplets as quickly as possible ! You have to avoid any oil from seeping into your pavement. Cat litter and sand are useful household products to absorb oil spills.
  • If you have recreational vehicles parked in your driveway, inspect below the vehicles on a regular basis for drips and leaks. Oil dripping from a trailer parked for 6 months can cause significant damage to a driveway, for example.


What can I use to get rid of an oil stain?

1. Soapy Water Treatment: Prepare a mixture of liquid soap and water to prevent fresh oil and dry it.

2. Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda on the surface and rub it with a stiff brush, then rinse with water.

3. Cat Litter: With a little litter, you might be able absorb the oil during the night. However, remember to dispose of soaked litter properly and responsibly.

4. Detergent: All you will need is hot water and a wire brush, let laundry detergent work over the stain and scrub thoroughly. Rub a few minutes then repeat if necessary until it disappears.

5. Cola: Economical and convenient, rinse the area with cola and leave for 24 hours before watering the stain with a garden hose or bucket.

6. Degreaser: There are a lot of products available on the market specially designed to remove oil stains without damaging your asphalt. However, it is strongly recommended to read the conditions of use carefully beforehand.

If you have damage to your pavement caused by oil stains and are unsure about the condition of your driveway, parking lot, walkway or patio, reach out to the team at Pavage Massie servicing Gatineau and Ottawa. We’d be happy to take a look and explore the best options for you. Maintain your pavement as long and as safely as possible is our main mission.