Asphalt is an advantageous choice of material, particularly for driveways, parking lots, and roads.
It’s important to know how to remove oil stains from asphalt and clean up spills as soon as possible.
Set in oil stains weaken the condition of the asphalt and, over time, cause fracturing and crumbling.
When correctly cared for, asphalt is a better surface for driving on, its appearance, your finances, and the earth (it’s 100% recyclable).
Fortunately, you don’t always need an asphalt paving contractor to clean up after an oil spill on your stained asphalt.
It’s uncomplicated enough to do it yourself using only a few everyday household items!
Items You’ll Need
In this section, we’ll list and discuss the items you’ll need to remove oil stains from asphalt.
We’ll provide any alternatives as options for each item, when applicable.
A garden hose, hot water, or a pressure washer are used to wash away soap or moisten pastes for various treatments.
A Soft Nylon Brush, Soft Broom And Dustpan (With A Plastic Bag), Clean Cloth or Rag
A soft nylon brush or a soft broom and a dustpan are used to sweep away the kitty litter once it’s absorbed all the oil and the plastic bag is for disposal.
A soft nylon brush, a clean cloth or a rag is used to apply the various soaps, solutions, or pastes to the stained area.
If you need to order a soft nylon brush, I found one with great reviews here.
Do not use wire brush bristles because they’ll damage the asphalt.
Clay-Based Cat Litter Or A Similar Absorbent
Keep a bucket of clay-based cat litter, or a similar absorbent such as sawdust, cornmeal, cornstarch, or a sweeping compound, in the garage or nearby.
The clay absorbent in the clay-based cat litter, or a similar substance, draws any oil out of the stain.
If you need to order an absorbent, I found a clay-based cat litter here on Amazon that got good reviews.
Liquid Dish Soap, Baking Soda, And Powdered Laundry Detergent
A liquid dish soap, such as Dawn, which has grease-cutting capabilities, is preferred.
Powdered laundry detergent and baking soda are also used to remove oil stains from asphalt.
One or two cans of Coca-Cola, depending on the size of the stain.
Coca-Cola is a great stain remover due to its high acidity.
A Degreaser Specifically Made For Asphalt
A degreaser specifically made for asphalt, such as Krud Kutter Driveway Cleaner & Degreaser, which I found on Amazon.
There are many others out there – look at your asphalt manufacturer’s recommendations before selecting the appropriate degreaser.
A Microbial Cleaner For Asphalt
A microbial cleaner for asphalt, such as Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner Bio-Remediates & Removes Oil & Grease Stains on Concrete and Asphalt Driveways.
Microbial cleaners use single-celled microorganisms, enzymes, and oxygen to eat up the oil turning it into carbon dioxide and more microorganisms, basically digesting the entire oil stain – old or new.
The key with microbial cleaners is to have patience, as it can take 1 to 4 applications and anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to completely remove a stain.
Step By Step Instructions For How To Remove Oil Stains From Asphalt
#1 Clear The Surface Area
Rinse the surface area of your asphalt thoroughly by removing debris such as leaves, loose dirt, and anything else not belonging there, using a garden hose.
Next, mop up all excess oil from the stained area using a cloth or similar item.
#2 Clay-Based Cat Litter
Pour a generous amount of clay-based cat litter, or an alternative from the items list, over the oil-stained area.
Stomp on the kitty litter, grinding the granules into the stain, which helps it soak up the oil.
Let the kitty litter sit on the stained area overnight.
In the morning, use a broom and dustpan to sweep up the kitty litter and dispose of the waste using the plastic bag.
Kitty Litter or a similar absorbent material is excellent at drawing out oil from the stain.
Steps #3-5 are alternatives for step #2.
(They could be done consecutively as well, just not all at the same time.)
#3 Baking Soda (Optional)
Put a dusting of baking soda onto the oil stain and scrub it in with a soft nylon brush.
Allow the baking soda to sit on the stained area for 30 minutes and then rinse it away with a garden hose.
Baking soda is a useful tool for absorbing any excess oil.
Step #3 is an alternative for step #2.
#4 Powdered Laundry Detergent (Optional)
Sprinkle powdered laundry detergent on the oil stain, add a bit of water, and scrub it in with a soft nylon brush.
Allow the powdered laundry detergent to sit on the stained area for at least 30 minutes and then use a cloth to wipe the surface clean.
Powdered laundry detergent is another useful tool for absorbing any excess oil.
Step #4 is another alternative for step #2.
#5 Coca-Cola (Optional)
Pour a couple of cans of Coca-Cola over the stained area and let it sit overnight so the Coke can eat away at the oil stain.
In the morning, mix warm water and dish soap and pour it over the stained area to clean off the Coke and oil, followed by a rinse from the hose.
While Coca-Cola is not the most effective oil stain remover, it’s the most cost-effective and does get positive results, so it’s worth giving it a go.
Step #5 is another alternative for step #2.
#6 Liquid Dish Soap
Squeeze a liquid dish soap to the oil-stained area, such as Dawn, which has grease-cutting capabilities, or an alternative from the items list.
Add water and use a soft nylon brush to scrub the dish soap into the stain and rinse it clean using a garden hose.
Clean and repeatedly rinse, as needed, until the stain has been eliminated.
#7 Commercial Degreaser Specifically Made For Asphalt (Optional, If Necessary)
If your oil stain is extremely persistent, you may need a commercial degreaser specifically made for the surface of your asphalt; finding one was mentioned in the items list.
Once you’ve selected the appropriate degreaser for your asphalt, follow the instructions on the package to remove the oil stain.
#8 Microbial Cleaner (Optional, If Necessary)
A more recent technological development in oil stain removal is the microbial cleaner, which is microorganisms seeking out crude oil derivatives and gobbling them up, basically eating away the oil stain.
The items list details this process and mentions one out of many available on Amazon.
Once you’ve selected the appropriate remediator for your asphalt, follow the instructions on the package to remove the oil stain.
Remember, this option will take time and patience more than effort as it could take up to 6 weeks to remove an oil stain from asphalt.
If the above steps still leave you with an oil stain on your asphalt, you may want to hire a professional contractor to remove the stain.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can citrus and solvents be used to remove oil stains from asphalt?
-No, they should never be used on asphalt.
Don’t use chemicals, solvents, or anything that contains citrus to remove stains from your asphalt.
These products cause more damage to the asphalt than the original oil spill.
They destroy the binder in asphalt, wearing it away from the other elements.
Does oil damage asphalt?
-Yes, oil damages asphalt, especially when an oil stain is left to set in for any length of time.
If a spill is tended to immediately, the less potential damage is possible.
However, if oil remains on asphalt, it will undermine the blacktop and ultimately damage it, resulting in a hole, crack, mark, and a stain.
Have you appreciated learning how to remove oil stains from asphalt?
It doesn’t take a lot of effort, product, or money to do it yourself – it takes mostly time and patience!
All of that is better than spending on contractors and being inconvenienced by their schedule instead of your own.