How To Remove Exhaust, Diesel and Oil Stains From Asphalt Driveway: Easy Steps

Asphalt is a durable and attractive surface option for both homes and businesses. However, oil spills from cars cause the surface to become slippery and tarnish the pristine finish of a neat asphalt surface.


A degreasing detergent effectively removes oil stains from an asphalt driveway. Many commercially available oil removal products are made specifically for this purpose. Dishwashing soap, laundry detergents, or oven cleaner will also work well if you go the DIY route.

Oils stains on an asphalt surface can be a real eyesore. Fortunately, several techniques exist to remove the spilled oil. Let’s look at eight of the best ways to remove oil stains from an asphalt driveway.

How To Remove Exhaust, diesel and Oil Stains From Asphalt Driveway

Engine oil or diesel stains and asphalt driveways are synonymous with each other. The obvious reason is that cars park on the asphalt driveway, and sooner or later, a vehicle with an oil leak will make its appearance and leave an unsightly mark on the neat driveway. 

Oil stains can range from a tiny drop to a pool of oil in the worst-case scenario. Most engine oils found in cars are black as a result of heat from the engine, metal particles released into the oil, and dirt and grime found inside engines. Asphalt shows up the oils stains as they’re usually darker in color than the asphalt surface, which tarnishes the uniform color of the driveway.

The following eight options work well for cleaning oil from an asphalt surface. Many of the items listed are household cleaning products that make the cleaning process easy. Try it out in a small area to see if it works for the type of oil that you have on your driveway. This makes sure that you are not spreading something that doesn’t work or will stain your driveway.

What you will need:

  • A stiff-bristled brush ( a broom is best)
  • Garden hose (with high-pressure nozzle)
  • A spade for heavy oil deposits
  • Protective gear including gloves, goggles, and boots
  1. Dish Washing Soap

Dishwashing soap removes oils and fats from dishes and works effectively to remove oil stains from asphalt driveways. Squirt some dishwashing soap onto the oil stain, add a little water, then start scrubbing the oil stain with a scrubbing brush

Let the soap soak into the oil once scrubbed for about ten minutes, then rinse the area with a garden hose to remove the soap suds. Should traces of oils remain, repeat the process and allow to sundry.

  1. Commercial Oil Removers

Commercially available oil cleaners are the way to go if you need to clean up large oil stains or remove oil stains that have built up over time. These purpose-made oil removers are great to use when oil has hardened or caked into a semi-solid mass on the asphalt.

Start by scraping any loose oil off the asphalt using a spade and hard bristle broom. The brush will remove most of the oily grime and leave only the stain on the asphalt. Next, liberally pour the oil remover directly onto the stain and allow it to stand as per the product recommendations.

Once the oil remover has had time to soak into the oil stain, scrub the area with the stiff-bristled brush and rinse with clean water.

  1. Hand Cleaning Soap

Hand cleaning soaps such as those used by mechanics are usually in liquid form or gel. These soaps are harsh enough to remove grease and oils from the skin but gentle enough not to cause harm.

For the removal of oils stains on asphalt driveways, apply a thin layer of soap over the affected area, add a little water and use a stiff scrubbing brush to scrub the spot. Rinse well with water while giving the site another rub down with the brush.

  1. Baking Soda

Removing oil stains using baking soda is a great solution for more minor fresh oil stains. Sprinkle the baking soda liberally over the oil stain, then scrub it with a stiff-bristled brush. If needed, add additional baking soda and pat it down to ensure it reaches all the crevices in the asphalt. Leave it to stand for about thirty minutes.

The baking soda absorbs the oil particles, effectively lifting the oil off the asphalt surface. Once the half-hour is up, give the area a good scrub with a scouring brush while rinsing with water. 

  1. WD 40

Even though WD40 is a general-purpose lubricant, it has excellent degreasing properties. When using WD40 as an oil remover, spray a liberal coating onto the oil stain and allow it to soak for about thirty minutes. 

Once done, rinse with water to wash off the loose oil and WD40. 

  1. Oven Cleaner

Oven cleaners are used to remove hard-baked oils and fats from oven surfaces. Oven cleaners are available in spray bottles or foam-type aerosols. Both work well for the removal of oil from asphalt driveways.

Apply a liberal amount of oven cleaner onto the oil stain. Allow the oven cleaner to soak into the oil for five to ten minutes, then rinse with water. Oven cleaners penetrate well into hard-baked oils, s it makes quick work of soft oil spills. 

  1. Powdered or Liquid Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergents are formulated to remove oils and general dirt and grime from fabrics during the washing process. They are also excellent for removing engine oil from asphalt driveways. 

Application is as simple as sprinkling the soap powder or liquid onto the oil stain, adding a little water, and scrubbing the oil stain with a stiff brush. Allow the soap to soak for about twenty minutes, then rinse the soap off with water. Additional scrubbing over the stained area will further assist in loosening any oil residues.

  1. Kitty Litter

Kitty litter is a super absorbent material made for use in cat litter boxes where it absorbs moisture and odors. Kitty litter works well to absorb fresh oil stains when the oil is still in liquid form.

Simply sprinkle a layer of kitty litter over the oils stain; about half an inch thick will suffice. Cat litter has a reasonably coarse texture, so to get the particles to reach the small crevices on the surface of the asphalt, stomp on the patch to ensure it gets worked into the oil spill. 

Leave the kitty litter to soak for a few hours or even overnight to give it lots of time to absorb the oil. Once done, sweep it up and rinse the area with water. Scrubbing the affected area with a brush will ensure all the particles are removed from the surface.


Apart from commercially made oil removers, household detergents such as dishwashing soap, laundry detergents, oven cleaner, and baking soda can lift and remove oil stains left on asphalt driveways. All that’s needed is some scrubbing with a brush and water to rinse the oil and soap. Kitty litter is an excellent absorbent material that lends itself well to absorbing fresh oil stains effectively. 

In some extreme situations you can also take a look at sandblasting.