Asphalt driveways are a popular choice for many homeowners because they are durable and long-lasting. However, even the toughest asphalt driveways can become stained over time due to spills, leaks, and other types of damage.
Even if you perform regular driveway maintenance, you may still find stains lingering on your asphalt driveway. To prevent further damage and keep your driveway looking its best, you’ll want to remove them as soon as possible. Let’s review what causes staining and how you can remove stains from an asphalt driveway.
What Stains Asphalt Driveways?
The first step in removing stains from an asphalt driveway is to identify what type of stain you have. Depending on the source, stains can require different cleaning methods, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with before starting. Several things can stain an asphalt driveway, including:
- Oil or grease spills: These can easily seep into the porous surface of the asphalt and leave a dark stain.
- Rust: Rust stains can occur if metal objects or vehicles with rusted parts are left on the driveway for an extended period
- Tree sap: Sap from trees or plants can create a sticky, dark stain on an asphalt driveway.
- Tire marks: The rubber from tires can leave marks on the surface of an asphalt driveway, especially if the tires are dirty or have excess tread.
- Chemical spills: Certain chemicals, such as bleach or paint, can permanently stain an asphalt driveway if not cleaned up immediately.
What Not to Use When Cleaning an Asphalt Driveway
Asphalt is a mixture of bitumen and aggregate, typically crushed stone, gravel, and sand. Bitumen is a black, thick, sticky, and highly viscous petroleum that is made by refining crude oil. It holds the small pieces of asphalt together and makes the surface of roads, parking lots, and other paved areas smooth and strong.
Solvents can break down the asphalt, which could make it weaker and lead to cracks and other damage. Additionally, solvents can harm the environment and should be avoided whenever possible.
Examples of common household cleaners/products that contain solvents include:
- Paint thinners containing methyl ethyl ketone
- Paint removers containing trichloroethylene
- Carpet cleaners with butoxyethanol
- Nail polish remover containing acetone
- Kerosine or turpentine
- Antifreeze containing ethylene glycol
- Drain cleaners like sodium hydroxide
- Household spot remover
While you may have any of these solvents in your home, none on the list should be used to clean up stains on your driveway.
How to Clean Asphalt Stains
Before contacting an asphalt professional, you can try removing oil stains from your drive in a variety of ways. The cleaners themselves, as well as a brief overview of how to put them to use, will be discussed. One or more of these items might already be in your kitchen or home cleaning supplies.
In the case of fresh oil spills, baking soda is one of the most effective absorbents. You can easily remove stains by using baking soda and a bristle brush. After waiting 30 to 60 minutes, you can use a garden hose to wash the baking soda away.
Vinegar, Lemon, and Baking Soda
For rust stains, try sprinkling baking soda over the stain, and then add lemon juice and vinegar to create a chemical reaction with the rust. Use a stiff brush to move around the homemade cleaner and rinse well with water.
With any of these tips, it may be necessary to repeat the process several times. If the stain is still present after the initial cleaning, you may need to repeat the process. Be patient and persistent, as it may take several attempts to remove the stain fully.
Like baking soda, cat litter can be used as an absorbent material to remove oil stains from asphalt. First, remove the accumulated oil with a mop or a shop towel. Then, use a bag of non-clumping cat litter to conceal the oil stain. For better oil absorption, stomp the litter onto the blacktop. Let the litter sit overnight before scooping it up and throwing it in the trash.
You can get rid of a stain by sprinkling it with powdered laundry detergent and then soaking it with water. Let the solution remain for 30–45 minutes, then scrub the area with a stiff brush (not one with metal bristles). Next, use the hose to rinse the area thoroughly.
Clean up oil spills using water, dish soap, and a brush with stiff bristles. Oil and grease are no match for Dawn dish soap. Just use a mixture of dish soap and water to emulsify the oil. Use a brush with stiff bristles to scrub the area.
You may have seen Coca-Cola used for other cleaning projects, like toilets or removing the corrosion on batteries. A can of the beverage may work on your asphalt stain as well.
Just dump a can of Coca-Cola onto the discoloration and let it lie there overnight so the soda can soak into the asphalt. Return the next day and give the area a good scrub to remove the stain. Use a yard hose to flush the area. If necessary, you can repeat the steps.
A Clean Driveway Awaits: Let Us Tackle Those Stubborn Stains
A beautiful driveway adds value to your home but stubborn stains on your asphalt driveway can detract from your home’s curb appeal. If you’ve tried removing the stains yourself, but to no avail, it’s time to call in the experts. At Richfield Blacktop, we know how important it is to keep your driveway looking its best. That’s why we offer advanced cleaning solutions to eliminate even the toughest stains and bring back the beauty of your pavement.
We encourage you to contact the asphalt experts at Richfield Blacktop today to speak with one of our team members.