Say “Sayonara” to Unseemly Asphalt Stains

We’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately, most people still do. So, what do you think those unsightly oil stains on your concrete and asphalt are saying to your potential residents, tenants, or customers?

And beyond mere appearances, what do you think they’re doing to the integrity of your pavement? Many people don’t realize oil and other chemical spills, left untreated, can seriously deteriorate your pavement’s surfaces. Just like in your clothes, oil will seep into pavement and start to erode the binders that hold everything together. This can lead to major problems down the road; so when you see an oil stain, it’s important to act fast!

Luckily, these types of stains are pretty easy to clean up. In fact, soap and water, or any number of common household cleaners (such as vinegar, oven spray, dish, or laundry detergent) and some good old fashioned elbow grease will do the trick. But following some of these quick tips may help save you some of the more strenuous manual labor.

Prep:

  • Sop up as much of the standing oil as you can with an absorbent cloth.
  • Spray down the stained area with a garden hose to get rid of any remaining debris. DO NOT use a high pressure sprayer or power washer, as this can set the stain more deeply into the asphalt.
  • Emulsify the spill with a combination of liquid soap and water. If the spill is fresh enough, this will keep the oil from drying and staining the pavement, and will make cleaning it up much easier.

Unique Techniques:

  • Sprinkle kitty litter over the stain. Stomp it down a bit, to make sure it gets into every nook and cranny. The clay in the kitty litter will help absorb the oil you weren’t able to get up with just a cloth. Let it sit overnight, sweep up the next day, and spray down with a final rinse of water.
  • Baking soda has long been known for its absorbent properties—sprinkle a generous amount over the stain, and scrub with a stiff brush. Leave it sit for half an hour, then rinse with a hose.
  • Put the calories in a few cans of Coke to work on your pavement, instead of your waist! Just pour the liquid over the stain, let it sit overnight, and rinse away in the morning.
  • Spray the stain down with a liberal amount of WD-40, then hose off with water.

Of course, as with most things, the best solution is prevention. In this case, we can’t recommend sealcoating highly enough! Not only does it provide protection for your pavement, it makes it look prettier, too. Remember that whole “judging a book by its cover” thing…?

Call us today to find out how we can help you maintain your pavement and keep it looking its absolute best!

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