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How to remove oil stains from block paving

How to remove oil stains from block paving

Sarah Macklin |

 

A popular choice for driveways, pathways and patios across the UK, block paving is a versatile and structurally strong surface, making it perfect for use in domestic and commercial projects alike. However, as with all surfaces of this kind, block paving can easily fall victim to stubborn marks and stains that can ruin the pleasing aesthetic of your driveway.

Unsurprisingly, oil stains are the most common blemish found on block paving. Following spillages and leaks, motor oil absorbs into the porous surfaces of bricks and paving slabs leaving marks that can be difficult to remove.

In this post, we’ve outlined the most effective methods of removing these stains and marks from your block paving, helping to keep your driveways in tip-top condition.

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Step 1: Prevention is Key

First things first, it is important to remember that prevention is the best cure when it comes to oil stains. If you notice that your car has been leaking oil, it is a good idea to put down a drip tray or piece of cardboard to prevent stains from growing or even occurring in the first place.

Step 2: Absorb Excess Oil

Before applying any chemicals or solutions to the mark, you should cover any oil stains with sawdust or a sweeping compound. Brush one of these substances into the stain and leave covered for at least 20 minutes. This will help soak up any excess spilled oil on your surface and make the cleaning process easier.

Interestingly, cat litter is also very effective for this job. Once any excess oil has been absorbed, sweep the sawdust/sweeping compound away using a dustpan and brush.

Step 3: Prepare the Surface

Clean the stained area with a regular hose or bucket of cold water. This will wash away any dirt or debris that is in the way and will better allow for cleaning agents to get to the oil.

However, it is important to note that you should not use a high-pressure power hose or jet washer at this stage. This could result in the greasy oil being pushed deeper into your block paving, making it even harder to remove.

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Step 4:  Apply Cleaning Agent 

Ensuring you are wearing protective eyewear and gloves, pour detergent onto the affected area. 

For small oil stains, you can try to remove the grease using a bottle of standard cola first.

Let the fizzy drink sit on the oil stain for 24 hours before washing the affected area with a hose or bucket of water, washing away any remaining cola and oil residue. If the stain still remains, a stronger chemical will be required.

Step 5: Scrub Well

For the majority of oil stains, a simple household product such as washing-up liquid, baking soda, vinegar, or laundry detergent is enough to lift tricky oil stains. Once your chosen detergent has been liberally applied to the stained block paving, allow it to sit for 30 minutes.

Step 6: Rinse and Repeat

Rinse the affected area with warm water and scrub using a steel wire brush. It is important to brush vigorously, creating a lather that covers the marked bricks or slabs. Next, wash away the detergent and any oil residue using a hose or full bucket of water. Allow the area to dry and then inspect.

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Step 7: Persistent Stains and Alternatives

For stubborn stains that resist the above methods, consider using a degreasing agent or engine cleaning fluid. However, always test these chemicals on a small, less visible area of your paving for any adverse reactions before treating larger areas. In rare cases where the stain remains stubborn, it might be worth considering replacing the affected area. Block paving is generally easy to install, making the replacement process simple and cost-effective.

By following these steps and utilising a concrete cleaner, you can effectively remove unsightly oil stains from your driveways, garage floors, paths, and patios. Keep your outdoor surfaces looking clean and well-maintained with regular cleaning and maintenance.

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