How to Get Rid of Stains on Your Driveway

Getting Rid of Stains in Your Driveway in San Diego, CA

When it comes to appraisals and real estate valuations, curb appeal is often a determining factor. The exterior appearance of a home is something that does not escape the eyes of appraisers, real estate agents, prospective buyers, visitors, and neighbors. For this reason, you should take action to remove those unsightly stains left by oily and greasy substances.

The methods you should use to remove oil stains from your driveway depend on the surface, the substance, and the type of spill. The San Diego homeowners insurance experts at American Tri-Star offer a few tips on removing different types of stains you might find on your driveway.

Fresh and Recent Spills

Whether it is grease, motor oil, or transmission fluid, the most effective way to handle a recent spill is to use absorbent material immediately, and the best option is cat litter. Many paving crews and residential painters all around California carry a large sack of kitty litter in their utility trucks, and the reason they do so is because they trust the mix of clay, grains, wood, and paper waste products, which results in a powerful absorbent. You should completely cover the stain with kitty litter and let it sit for more than eight hours. After removing the material, use water, baking soda and a few spoonfuls of detergent to vigorously scrub the surface.

Dry Stains

If you inherited old stains on your driveway after buying your house, there is a chance you will need to apply a couple of coats of sealer, particularly if very porous paver blocks are installed. This tends to be an issue with “eco-bricks” made from recycled products. Before deciding to apply sealant, you can try to spray WD-40 over the stain and sprinkle baking soda on top before scrubbing with a wire brush. A more aggressive method is to apply engine degreaser and sprinkle trisodium phosphate instead of baking soda. Make sure to put on rubber gloves before scrubbing. If you end up with a spot that is noticeably cleaner than the rest of the driveway, you may want to use a pressure washer at a low setting to even things up.


The issue with spilled gasoline or diesel is that many homeowners do not realize the staining power of these fuels. Fresh spills can be handled with kitty litter as previously explained, but the scrubbing needs to be done with liquid detergent a few times. An alternative method is to use trisodium phosphate with warm water for soaking as well as scrubbing.

Transmission Fluid and Antifreeze

These liquids will not stain asphalt too much, but they will stain concrete. The best solvent to use in this case is oven cleaner, which should sit over the stain for about 20 minutes. The scrubbing needs to be vigorous and should include detergent. The process may need to be repeated a few times and may result in an uneven look that blends in over time.

For additional tips on maintaining your home, reach out to Tri-Star Insurance. In addition to home insurance coverage, we also offer commercial, health, RV, motorcycle, and car insurance in San Diego. Give us a call today at 619-272-2100 for a free quote.