Your driveway is usually easy to keep clean – after all, driveways are hard wearing and made to last – but sometimes you’ll get an oil spill that leaves a stain behind. An oil spill can really ruin the look of your driveway. As Quintin Britts of Durban Paving, who have over 40 years of greatpaving & driveway expertise, says: A clean, nice looking driveway can add value and kerb appeal to your home. Thankfully oil spills don’t have to mean permanent stains on your driveway. Here are 7 tips to help you clean them up and get your driveway looking clean and neat again.
- Act Quickly
The faster you can deal with an oil spill, the more likely you are to get it all before it can set in. As soon as you notice some oil drip or spill onto your driveway, it’s time to take action and get it cleaned up.
- Clean First
Start by sweeping the area you’re going to clean. Follow up with a quick scrub with hot water and household soap to prepare your driveway. Be careful though – don’t use a pressure washer or high powered hose for this, or you’ll risk driving the oil deeper into the surface of your driveway.
- Protect Yourself and Your Family
Make sure you have protective gloves and a mask before tackling any cleaning, especially if you’re using a chemical degreaser. Make sure any pets or children are safely inside the house while you clean your driveway.
- Try Household Detergent or Vinegar
If the stain is small and still fresh, household detergent or even simple vinegar can do the trick. Make sure the surface is clean and dry, then sprinkle over a generous amount of detergent (laundry or dish detergent works well) or pour over some vinegar. Leave for fifteen minutes, then scrub thoroughly with a scrubbing brush and hot soapy water. Rinse and dry, and see if the stain is gone.
- Make A Poultice
The poultice method sounds strange (it involves kitty litter and cola!) but it works a treat for small, stubborn stains. Wear gloves, a mask and eye protection for this method and be sure to keep pets and children away.
First, get an absorbent material. Kitty litter works particularly well, but you can also use sawdust or baking soda. Mix a solvent such as acetone or paint stripper with the material to make a thick paste. Now spread it over the stain, crush it down with the soles of your shoes, and leave for a day.
After twenty four hours have passed, pour a cola drink over the area. Let it sit for fifteen minutes, then scrub thoroughly with a brush and hot water.
This should take care of small stains, even stubborn ones. If there is still a faint stain, try mixing 1 cup of household bleach or laundry detergent in 1 cup of hot water to wash off the last traces.
- Use Muriatic Acid
For larger or more stubborn stains, you might need to break out the muriatic acid. You can usually pick up muriatic acid (also know as hydrochloric acid) anywhere that sells pool supplies.
Do be extra careful when using this method, and make sure you wear good protective gloves, eye protection and a mask. Use dust sheets to cover the surrounding area and anything you want to keep safe from the acid.
Carefully mix one part acid to nine parts water. Always add the acid to the water, not the other way round. Pour the solution over the stain, being careful not to splash the surrounding area. Work the solution in thoroughly using a stiff-bristled brush and leave until it stops fizzing (about ten minutes).
Once the fizzing stops, rinse the area thoroughly with clean water until all the acid has gone. You might need to repeat the treatment for more stubborn stains.
- Buy A Commercial Degreaser
You can buy commercial degreasers to use on your driveway. These usually retail for around R100 – R200. Latest research suggests that microbial cleaners are an even better choice than traditional degreasers, as they break down the stain in a more natural and less toxic way.
When using a commercial product, always follow the instructions carefully, and be sure to scrub and clean the drive thoroughly afterward.
Oil stains are a common problem for home owners. Thankfully, you don’t have to put up with them. Just choose the best solution for your stain and your driveway will be clean again in no time.