Oil stains can cause premature cracking and damage to your driveway. If this happens, its bad appearance won’t be the only thing you need to be concerned about.
Pressure washing is a tried-and-true way to clean a driveway and eliminate these stubborn stains.
In this article, we’ll answer one question we frequently get: how to remove oil stains from a driveway with a pressure washer.
Then, we’ll discuss how to do it, what you’ll need, and what you should and shouldn’t use when pressure washing oil stains.
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About The Author
Meet the expert behind this article.
Co-owner & Service Director
Hey there, I’m Cody.
A decade of residential and commercial pressure washing led me to start JCS Refresh. Now I can share my knowledge with folks like you.
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Reach out today for a free driveway cleaning quote, and let’s chat about refreshing your property.
Quick answer – Removing oil stains with a pressure washer in 6 steps
Want to skip the entire article?
Here’s how to remove oil stains from your driveway using a pressure washer:
- Prepare the area
- Cover the affected area with cat litter or baking soda
- Apply a degreaser
- Apply a cleaning soap
- Pressure wash the surface
- Seal the area
If you want to know how pressure washing removes oil stains from your driveway and how you can properly carry out these steps on your own, then keep reading.
Quick questions before starting
Before tackling stains, here are some things you should know.
How difficult is this to do? It’s easy. The key is using an effective degreaser.
How long does it take? It can take up to 1 hour or more. Before pressure washing, let your cleaning solution sit on the surface for about 30 minutes (or overnight if needed).
How much do materials cost?
- Degreaser – $19 to $22
- Rags – $8 for a 12-pack or use old rags at no cost.
- Cat litter or baking soda – $8 to $15
- Heavy-duty scrub brush – $7 to $20
- Regular concrete and driveway cleaning soap or dish soap – $20 to $22 per gallon
- Surface cleaner – $60 to $75
- Utility broom or leaf blower (optional) – $20 to $40
- Sealant – $26 to $35
Will a pressure washer remove oil from concrete?
Yes, for fresh oil stains, pressure washing with cold or hot water can effectively remove them.
Using cat litter or baking soda to absorb the oil, followed by a good degreaser or dish soap, should do the trick for older stains.
Can you damage concrete by pressure washing?
Pressure washing can damage concrete if you use too much pressure, get too close to the surface, or use the wrong cleaning product.
If you’re unsure, read our article on how to use a pressure washer, or it’s always best to hire a professional.
Will a pressure washer remove oil from asphalt?
As with concrete surfaces, a pressure washer can remove oil from asphalt using a good degreaser and soap.
To learn more about using soap on various surfaces, read our article on how to use soap with a pressure washer.
Items needed to pressure wash oil stains
Oil stains can occur at any time. The longer it remains, the more difficult it is to remove. It’s best to have these items on hand the next time oil spills in your driveway.
Here are the items you need:
- Degreaser – This product ranges in price from $19 to $22 and is used to dissolve heavy grease and oil from transmission fluid, brake fluid, and stains from BBQ grills, among other things.
- Rags – This absorbs excess oil from new stains. Use old rags at no cost, or buy a 12-pack set for around $8.
- Cat litter, or baking soda – Costs $8 to $15 and is used to absorb excess oil from the surface.
- Heavy-duty scrub brush – You can scrub the surface after applying the degreaser, which is especially effective on older stains. It ranges between $7 and $20.
- Regular concrete and driveway cleaning soap or Dawn dish soap – Applied after the degreaser to thoroughly clean the surface before rinsing. The price ranges between $20 and $22. Pro tip: Avoid using just any dish soap because it may clog your pressure washer.
- Utility broom or leaf blower (optional) – You can use this to remove leaves and other debris from the surface in preparation for pressure washing. It can cost anywhere from $20 to $40.
- Sealant – An after-treatment product that helps prevent oil leaks, blood, and other sticky residues from becoming permanent on the surface. One sealant can cost between $26 and $35.
The total cost of the materials is between $119 and $162.
How to remove old oil stains from concrete
Now that you have the necessary supplies, the question of how to get oil stains out of concrete remains.
Here are a few steps to remove those pesky oil stains from your driveway, paving the way for a cleaner, more appealing curb appeal for your home.
1. Prepare the area
Remove any outdoor furniture, plants, toys, or other items during the cleaning process. Remove stones, leaves, and other debris with a utility broom or a leaf blower.
2. Cover the affected area with cat litter or baking soda
For new stains, use old rags to absorb excess oil before soaking in cat litter or baking soda for 20-30 minutes or overnight for larger oil spills.
3. Apply a degreaser
Put a generous amount of degreaser on the affected areas and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Then, scrub the stain in a circular motion with a heavy-duty brush to distribute the product. This step ensures that the oil and grease break down for easier cleaning.
4. Apply a cleaning soap
Apply soap for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the stain, using regular concrete and driveway soap or Dawn dishwashing soap. If your soap is concentrated, make sure you dilute it.
5. Pressure wash the area
Start by rinsing the area with your pressure washer.
We recommend starting with a 25-degree or 15-degree nozzle. Maintain a safe distance of about 12 inches from the surface.
If you need to clean the entire driveway, you can do so in this step. Read our article on how to clean a driveway with a pressure washer to learn more.
6. Seal the area
A sealant protects your driveway from future stains by adding an extra layer of protection. Apply this to make your next cleaning much more manageable.
Tips and safety considerations
Remember these tips and tricks before starting.
Use the correct nozzle
We know you’re desperate to remove the stain, and you might be tempted to use the highest-pressure nozzle. But, unfortunately, this will damage your surface.
Always begin with the lowest-pressure nozzle and work your way up. We recommend starting with a 25-degree or 15-degree nozzle.
Don’t get too close
We recommend starting with a 12-inch distance from the surface. Then, if necessary, you can gradually get closer.
Pro tip: Make sure you won’t damage the surface by testing your nozzle and distance on a smaller area.
Use driveway-safe cleaning products
Use safe products for concrete, asphalt, and other driveway surfaces. Using harsh chemicals and cleaning agents may damage the surface.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some frequently asked questions people have when removing oil stains from their driveway.
If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please contact us, and someone from our team will get back to you.
Does Coke get oil off the driveway?
Coke can get oil off your driveway because it contains citric acid, which can break down motor oil, grease, and even rust stains on some surfaces.
Does WD 40 remove oil from the driveway?
Yes, you can remove oil from your driveway with WD-40. Use it like a regular degreaser, and if necessary, scrub the surface with a brush to allow the product to dissolve the stain.
Will Dawn dish soap get oil out of concrete?
Yes, Dawn dish soap is a versatile product that works well as a degreaser, removing oil from concrete.
Will bleach remove oil stains from a driveway?
Bleach is a strong chemical that removes oil stains and other types of dirt, but it must be used cautiously and disposed of correctly to avoid causing damage to other living things and waterways.
Does CLR remove oil stains from concrete?
CLR is a powerful degreaser that can remove oil stains from concrete- this is most effective for spot treatment.
Can I use CLR in a pressure washer?
We do not recommend using CLR in a pressure washer because it may cause damage to certain parts of the machine. Instead, only use pressure-washer-safe cleaning products.
Oil stains on your driveway can be challenging to remove, but with a pressure washer, effective cleaning products, and plenty of patience, you’ll be able to clean them better and faster.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if the stains still don’t come out after you’ve followed all these steps!
Sometimes you just have to do it again, and if the stains remain, consider hiring a local driveway cleaning servicer to do the job. If you’re reading from Washington State, reach out and let’s chat.
Thanks for reading!