Written by 4:33 pm Guides, Pressure Washing

Will Pressure Washer Remove Oil from Asphalt?

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An unsightly oil stain on your asphalt driveway is like a blemish on an otherwise flawless complexion, tarnishing the beauty of your home or business. These stubborn splotches not only mar the visual appeal of your property but also serve as an unwelcome reminder of mechanical mishaps and careless spills.

Left unattended, these stains can become an eyesore, casting a shadow on the pristine image you’ve worked so hard to maintain. 

As a homeowner or business owner, you want your surroundings to look their best. Oil stains can create a negative impression on your visitors, neighbors, or clients.

Pressure washing oil stains is the best method to tackle them head-on, restoring your driveway’s pristine appearance and preserving the reputation you’ve built. 

Factors Affecting Oil Removal From Asphalt

The stain’s age: The longer an oil stain remains on your asphalt, the more difficult it is to clean.

Fresh spills are easier to remove.

Whereas, older stains tend to penetrate deeper into the asphalt, making removal more difficult.

oil stain on asphalt

Type of oil: Not all oil stains are the same! The type of oil that has stained your asphalt might have a considerable impact on its cleanup. Motor oil and cooking oil, for example, may require different cleaning products and processes to produce the best results.

Condition of the asphalt: The general quality of your asphalt surface is critical in removing oil stains.

Asphalt that is cracked or damaged can make stain removal harder.

Oil may seep into the cracks and be hard to remove.

Degreasers: Types, Benefits, and Uses

Degreasers are vital cleaning solutions that remove oil and debris from a variety of surfaces. They are available in a variety of styles, each tailored to a certain use or surface. 

Types of Degreasers

Degreasers are broadly divided into two types: oil-based and water-based.

Oil-based degreasers are well-known for their ability to remove grease and oil, but they can be combustible and dangerous.

Water-based degreasers are more eco-friendly and less hazardous. Therefore, they are a preferred option for many.

Benefits of Using Degreasers

Effective cleaning: Degreasers are specially designed to dissolve oil and grease, making them extremely successful at removing stubborn stains from a variety of surfaces.

Versatility: Degreasers come in a variety of forms and compositions, making them appropriate for a wide range of applications such as automotive, industrial, and domestic cleaning.

Environmentally friendly options: Water-based degreasers are a more environmentally friendly alternative to typical oil-based degreasers, allowing users to clean more effectively while reducing their environmental impact.

Simple Green Degreaser & Cleaner

Simple Green 13005CT Industrial Cleaner and Degreaser

We recommend using the Simple Green industrial quality degreaser for excellent oil and grease removal.
This product can be used manually or directly with a pressure washer.
Most importantly it is environment friendly and safe for your skin.

Household Alternatives to Commercial Degreasers

Sometimes, a trip to the store to buy a commercial degreaser isn’t possible or convenient. But do not be concerned! Several household items can be used as efficient alternatives to degreasers, making oil stain removal a snap.

household degreasers
Household degreasing agents

Dish soap

Dish soap is a multipurpose cleaning solution that effectively dissolves grease and oil. Apply a few drops of dish soap to warm water, then scrub the stain with a stiff-bristle brush. You will be delighted with the outcomes if you thoroughly rinse the area with water!

Baking soda

Baking soda, as previously established, is a natural absorbent that can work wonders on oil stains. Sprinkle baking soda generously over the stained area. Leave it for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for tougher stains.

Then, use a brush to scrape the stain. To expose a cleaner surface, rinse the area with water.

White vinegar

Another common household item that can be used as a degreaser is white vinegar. In a spray bottle, combine equal parts white vinegar and water. Spray the solution onto the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Rinse with water after scrubbing the stain with a brush. The acidic nature of vinegar aids in the breakdown of the oil, making it easier to remove.

Lemon juice

Oil stains can be removed with the aid of the citric acid in lemon juice. Squeeze lemon juice onto the stain.

Let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub the area with a brush. To reveal a cleaner surface, rinse with water.


Due to its phosphoric acid concentration, cola can be used as a makeshift degreaser. Pour a can of cola over the stain, leave it for a few hours or overnight, and clean with a brush.

Remove any leftover residue by rinsing the area with water.

Step-by-Step Process for Pressure Washing Oil Stains

Removing oil stains from asphalt or other surfaces can be difficult. However, if you follow these step-by-step methods, you will be able to easily remove even the toughest stains.

Step 1: Stop the spill

If you have detected a new oil leak, act swiftly to keep it from spreading. Cover the spill with an absorbent material such as kitty litter, sawdust, or sand and set it aside for a few minutes. This will aid in the absorption of extra oil and make the cleaning procedure easier.

Step 2: Sprinkle with baking soda

After you have cleaned up the spill, liberally apply baking soda to the stained area.

Baking soda is a natural absorbent that will aid in the removal of oil from the surface.

Allow the baking soda to soak for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for tough stains.

baking soda sprinkled on asphalt

Step 3: Scrub the stain with a brush

Scrub the baking soda into the stain with a stiff-bristled brush. This will aid in breaking up the oil particles and lifting the stain from the surface. Apply just enough pressure to scrape the stain but not so much that you harm the surface.

Step 4: Apply a degreaser.

Next, apply a suitable degreaser to the stained area according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the degreaser to stay on the stain for 10-15 minutes. This will ensure that it penetrates and breaks down the oil.

Step 5: Scrub the stain once more if necessary.

If the stain is very difficult to remove, you may need to scrub the affected area twice after using the degreaser. Work the degreaser into the stain with a stiff-bristled brush, breaking up any lingering oil particles.

Step 6: Rinse the area with a pressure washer

It is time to pull out the pressure washer.

  • Fill the detergent reservoir with a soap made specifically for removing oil stains.
  • Set the pressure washer to low pressure and use a wide-angle nozzle.
  • Begin by applying pressure to the stained area, working your way from the outside edges of the stain toward the center.
  • Increase the pressure gradually as needed, being careful not to exceed the suggested pressure for your particular pressure washer model.

Both Ryobi 1800 PSI and Active 2.0 1800 PSI pressure washers are excellent choices for home users to undertake this cleaning job.

Step 7: Inspect and repeat as needed.

Inspect the area after pressure washing to ensure that the stain has been totally gone. If there is any oil residue left, you may have to repeat the process. Use more degreaser and pressure wash the area.

Techniques for Effective Oil Removal From Asphalt

Here are a few pointers to really help you eliminate oil stains from your asphalt surface:

Making use of hot water: Hot water can be a game changer in the removal of oil stains. Hot water aids in the breakdown of oil and speeds up the cleaning process.

If your pressure washer has a hot water setting, utilize it for the greatest results.

Pressure settings that work: To avoid damaging your asphalt surface, use the proper pressure settings on your pressure washer. Start with a low-pressure setting. Increase it gradually as needed.

Take care not to exceed the pressure recommended for your pressure washer.

Preparing the stain: Before you begin pressure washing, pre-treat the oil stain with your preferred cleaning product. Allow the detergent to stay on the stain for a few minutes to help break down the oil.

Use detergent: Using detergents specifically designed for pressure washers can significantly enhance the cleaning process and make it more efficient.

These cleaning agents are formulated to break down stubborn stains, grime, and dirt, including oil stains on asphalt surfaces.

Use the biodegradable Karcher pressure washer cleaning soap for great cleaning results.

pressure washing asphalt

Precautions and Potential Risks

To ensure a safe and successful cleaning experience, keep the following tips in mind:

Excessive pressure can cause damage. Pressure washers are powerful instruments. However, applying too much pressure to asphalt surfaces can cause harm.

To prevent damage, start with a low-pressure setting. Increase the pressure gradually, but do not exceed the recommended pressure for your pressure washer.

Environmental concerns must be taken into account when disposing of wastewater. Pressure washers and cleaning products are often used to remove oil stains. This has potential impacts on the environment which must be considered.

Follow local wastewater disposal standards and requirements, and prevent wastewater to flow into storm drains or natural water sources.


When utilizing a pressure washer, remember to take the required steps to safeguard both your asphalt surface and the environment. To combat oil stains and restore your asphalt, follow the ideas and advice in this blog post. You will be well-equipped to return your surface to its former glory.

So, why not give it a shot? You will have a clean, oil-free asphalt surface in no time with a little patience and determination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can a pressure washer really remove oil stains from asphalt?

A: Yes, a pressure washer, when used with the right cleaning agents and techniques, can effectively remove oil stains from asphalt surfaces. Factors like the age of the stain, type of oil, and condition of the asphalt can impact the removal process.

Q: How can I prevent oil stains from reappearing on my asphalt surface?

A: Regular maintenance and cleaning of your asphalt surface can help prevent oil stains from reappearing. Additionally, promptly addressing any oil spills or leaks from vehicles can minimize the risk of staining.

Q: How can I prevent oil leaks on asphalt from vehicles?

A: To prevent oil leaks on asphalt from vehicles, regularly inspect and maintain your vehicle’s engine and other components. Check for any signs of wear or damage to hoses, gaskets, and seals, and replace them as needed.

Additionally, use drip pans or absorbent pads underneath parked vehicles to catch any potential leaks. If you notice any oil leaks, address them promptly to minimize the risk of staining your asphalt surface.

Q: What type of pressure washer is best for removing oil stains from asphalt?

A: Both gas-powered and electric pressure washers can be effective in removing oil stains from asphalt. Gas-powered pressure washers tend to be more powerful, while electric pressure washers are more environmentally friendly and quieter. Choose the type that best suits your needs and preferences.

Q: How can I avoid damaging my asphalt surface while using a pressure washer?

A: To avoid damaging your asphalt surface, start with a lower pressure setting on your pressure washer and gradually increase it as needed. Additionally, using a wide-angle nozzle can help distribute the pressure more evenly.

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