How to Remove Grease + Oil Stains from Concrete Pavers (Step-by-Step Guide)
Paving stone patios and driveways are good looking and immediately increase curb appeal, but they also need to be lived on. This means that they need to be durable enough to handle weather and traffic, slip- and skid-resistant for the safety of you and your guests, fixable without replacing the entire installation, and able to be cleaned up when life happens.
It could be motor oil leaking from a guest’s car, grease from a truck repair gone awry, or cooking oil from one of your famous weekend cookouts. When accidents like these happen, they will likely result in unwanted stains. Thankfully, durable paving stones can often be cleaned, so, if that is why you are here, here is what you need to know to remove oil and grease from pavers.
How to Remove Grease + Oil Stains from Paving Stones
In most cases, you should be able to remove the stain with products you have at home or that can be easily purchased at your nearest home improvement center. When that is not the case, you can always have your driveway professionally cleaned, or you can simply replace the stained paving stones and get your driveway or patio back to looking as good as new almost immediately.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you remove grease and oil stains from pavers.
Step 1: Soak Up Excess Oil and Grease
If you find the spill shortly after it happens, there may still be liquid sitting on the surface of your paving stones. Use paper towels or a rag to soak up as much of the grease or oil as you can.
Step 2: Soak Up Additional Liquids
If you still have a significant amount of oil or grease on pavers, it is time to deploy the kitty litter. Spread conventional, clay-based kitty litter over the stain. Once you have applied the kitty litter, gently push it into the stain to encourage it to soak up more of the liquids. Do not use a wire brush for this; this will scratch your paving stones.
Leave the kitty litter on the oil or grease stain to continue soaking up the liquids. Then remove the cat litter by gently sweeping it up and disposing of it.
Step 3: Scrub the Area
This is the step that involves dish soap and elbow grease. After removing the kitty litter, scrub the stained area with dish soap, water, and a scrub brush or deck brush. Make sure you do not use wire bristles, since these will scratch your pavers.
Whenever it is possible to use natural options for cleaning products, that is best; however, you may find that a dish soap known for cutting oil and grease – such as Dawn – may provide a more satisfactory end result.
If you have a smaller stain or do not have dish soap on hand, you can use baking soda instead. If using baking soda, you can either sprinkle it over the stain or mix it with water to create a mildly abrasive paste. Either way, apply it to the stain, and then scrub the area with a scrub brush.
Step 4: Rinse
The final step to remove oil from pavers is to simply rinse down the area. The easiest way to do this is to use a garden hose with a nozzle to spray down the area. Using a nozzle will allow you to direct higher-pressure water flow to the spot with the stain. Another option is to use a pressure washer. This option is often used to remove oil from pavers, since it will likely do a better job of removing more of the stain than just a garden hose and water. However, it is easy to damage concrete, brick, or paving stone surfaces with a pressure washer. If you choose to use this option, you will need to be extra careful when directing the spray over the area.
Step 5: Assess the Stain
Once the area dries, assess the spot where the stain was and see if you are satisfied with the cleanup or if there is still grease or oil to remove. If the cat litter and dish soap were not enough to remove the stain using these steps, there are stronger options to try.
One option that you might already have at home is oven cleaner. To use this to remove oil from pavers, spray the stain liberally, allow the cleaner to remain on the stained area for 15 to 20 minutes, and then rinse it down. It is important to keep in mind that common oven cleaners have chemicals you should not breathe and should not rinse down your driveway into storm drains, lawns, or flowerbeds.
Another option for cleaning stubborn patio or driveway stains is to purchase a degreaser specifically designed to remove oil from pavers, concrete, or brick. You can find these degreasers at your local hardware store or home improvement center. The instructions may vary some based on the degreaser you purchase, so, if you use this option, follow the instructions on the product to achieve the best results.
Step 6: Have Your Driveway Professionally Cleaned
If commercial degreasers still don’t do the trick, or if you are not comfortable working with degreasers, you can have your driveway professionally cleaned. If you go with this alternative, make sure you choose a contractor familiar with cleaning paving stones. It is particularly important that they know not to use a wire brush and that they know they need to take special care if using a pressure washer.
You might also consider having your pavers sealed after they are professionally cleaned. This can help limit staining in the future.
If all else fails, you can always replace the stained pavers. This is one of the benefits of choosing paving stones over stamped concrete or slab concrete. If concrete driveways or patios are damaged or have stains that cannot be removed, you would have to cut out and replace an entire slab. And, even after making this costly repair, the new section will be clearly visible, since it is nearly impossible to get new concrete to match the color of older concrete. However, with a paver driveway or patio, you can easily have one or more paving stones replaced and no one will even notice. So, if you cannot remove oil from pavers, replacing them is always an option.
How to Clean Paving Stones: Further Reading