Asphalt is a very resilient material, and because it’s dark, it can hide stains well. However, to keep it in tip-top shape for many years to come, it’s a good idea to clean up oil and grease stains as soon as you can. Here are some simple yet helpful tips to help you do that.
Why does oil and grease matter on asphalt?
Oil and grease stains are not only an eyesore, but they can build up and cause the asphalt to soften. This is more likely to cause premature wear and ultimately, pavement failure. A key ingredient in asphalt is a binder, and oils can dissolve this.
How often should stains be cleaned?
Preferably as soon as they occur. This will ensure you remove the product before it has a chance to permeate into the asphalt and settle. Aim to sweep or pressure wash your driveway once a week. This can lift any dirt and rocks and prevent them from being driven into the driveway by cars.
How do I remove fresh oil and grease from my asphalt?
There are several ways to remove oil and grease from your driveway, keeping in mind the sooner you do it, the better result you will get.
It may seem like an unorthodox way of cleaning up an oil or grease stain on your asphalt, but it works. Soak up as much of the stain as you can by using an old rag or similar. Once you’ve absorbed most of the product, sprinkle a generous layer of cat litter across the affected area and press into the stain. This should be left overnight. The cat litter works by absorbing the oil or grease. The next day, the cat litter can be brushed off the asphalt. If the stain hasn’t fully shifted after doing this, you can lift it by pressure cleaning the area.
This cleaning method is a little more laborious than the cat litter technique but, if you don’t have any on hand, it is an effective way to prevent the stain from worsening by leaving it until you get some. Cover the entire stain liberally with dishwashing liquid, and using a large bristle brush, scrub the area. Repeat if necessary, rinsing with water after each attempt.
You may have heard of Coca-Cola removing rust, cleaning toilets and neutralising odours, but it can also be used to effectively lift oil and grease from your asphalt. Simply absorb excess oil from the surface using an old rag or mop, then soak the stain in Coca-Cola. Leave this to sit overnight before washing off with a hose the next day.
Baking soda works well when the stain is new but has already dried before you have had a chance to see to it. Lightly dampen the area and then apply a layer of baking soda across it. Scrub using a stiff bristle brush and rinse once done.
How do I remove set-in or old grease or oil stains from my asphalt?
Old or set-in oil or grease stains can be a bit trickier to get rid of but still doable, nonetheless. Here’s how:
Apply an oil stain remover
First, try to scrape off the stain if it is built up and gone hard. Apply the product to the stained area. Leave the remover on the stain until it has dried. Once it has dried, it will typically appear powdery. It is a good idea to leave it for a minimum of 5 hours. After this, sweep the area. Most good quality stain removers can lift grease and oil along with hydraulic fluid and other oil-based products. Always follow the directions on the label, as they can differ depending on the type and brand you choose.
Get an asphalt repair done
When the stained area is widespread, and you’ve tried some of the methods above to no avail, it might be worth considering a professional repair. Even if it’s only one section of your asphalt that’s affected, once it is susceptible to the elements such as water, it can compromise the entire structure. Water can seep into the subgrade and affect the integrity of your asphalt. This is why it’s always best to see to oil and grease stains as soon as you can. An asphalt repair usually involves removing the damaged area and replacing it with new asphalt.
Prevention is better than a cure
While you may make an effort to keep an eye out for stains on your asphalt, accidents can still happen, and as the old saying goes, prevention is better than a cure. This is where seal coating comes in. Sealing your asphalt has many benefits, including protecting your asphalt from external factors such as the suns UV rays, oxidation, moisture, oil, and grease stains. Sealer keeps your asphalt in good condition for longer and can make maintenance much less time-consuming.
Asphalt is an extremely durable and long-lasting material that stands up to contaminants such as oil and grease well but to avoid them from causing further damage, it’s always smart to treat them straight away.
If you have some asphalt at your place that’s seen better days, or you’re looking at installing new asphalt, contact the experts here at Colossal Allies Asphalt. We cover everything asphalt and can help.