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The Home Depot

Common Driveway Stains

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Driveway > Common Driveway Stains
Common Driveway Stains

Stains on a driveway are extremely common and can be caused by different substances. The main culprits are oil, paint, grease, rust, and foliage or trees and can all leave behind dark, ugly stains that mar the beauty of your driveway. This can cause your otherwise neat and well-kept yard and property to be an eyesore to visitors and passersby. There are some preventive measures that you can adopt but if the stain has already formed on the driveway, then you must remove it at the earliest.

  1. Using household cleaners and other materials that are easily available, you can get your driveway to look pristine once again.

    1.One Route to Take

    If you plan to clean your driveway on your own, then you can make use of some handy tips and techniques. Using household cleaners and other materials that are easily available, you can get your driveway to look pristine once again. Stubborn stains or large stains may need the professional touch. In this case, you must look for cleaners who are licensed to clean driveways. They must possess a permit to conduct their driveway cleaning business.


    Most stains are removable and only the manner in which they are cleaned will differ. The technique used will depend on what has caused the stain as well as the composition of the driveway. A concrete driveway may need to be cleaned in a manner different from that used on an asphalt driveway.

  2. 2.Oil Stains

    These are predominantly caused as a result of older or damaged cars leaking oil when parked in the driveway. Repairing the leak will ensure that the oil stains do not recur. Lawn mowers are yet another source of oil stains and must be checked regularly to keep your driveway clean.

  3. 3.Grease Stains

    Such stains usually occur when you attempt to carry out minor repairs or maintenance checks on your vehicle while it is parked in the driveway. The solution is to move the vehicle into the parking garage when pursuing such activities. This will save you the effort of having to clean up your driveway. Your driveway is visible from the street and is in public sight. So if you have a choice on what surface can be stained, you should always look at the garage because this floor space is hidden. You can clean this up as well, at your own leisure though. A garage floor stain will not reflect poorly on your character or how you want people to view you unless your garage floor is just destroyed.


    You certainly want to clean up the garage floor if you plan on selling the house.

  5. 4.Rust Stains

    Iron left on the driveway in the form of fertilizers can lead to ugly rust stains as also will water sprinklers. The ugly spots are removable but will need some effort on the part of the person doing the cleaning.

  6. 5.Paint Stains

    These are not very commonly found on driveways but an accident with a can of paint or when spray painting something on your property, can lead to paint stains. With paint, it is best to remove the stain as quickly as possible. If the paint is allowed to dry on your driveway, you will have a tough time removing it.

  7. 6.Foliage Stains

    These are more likely to occur if your property has lots of vegetation and trees especially overhanging the driveway. If the leaves and other plant debris are not cleaned off the driveway on a regular basis, they are likely to decompose right there leading to unsightly marks.

  8. 7.Prevention

    The best way of preventing oil, paint, and grease stains is to use drop cloths when painting or carrying out repair work on your vehicle. The residue will stay on the cloth and not stain your driveway. Remember to never leave fertilizer on your driveway—this will ensure that there are no rust stains from the iron is in the fertilizer. With foliage, regular cleaning and removal of plant debris before it decomposes, is the only solution.


    Removing stains is a simple enough process. Irrespective of the type of stain you wish to remove, the first thing to do will be to spread some cat litter or baking soda on the stain. This will help absorb liquid which has dried also and can be swept up in an hour or so. Then, you can use water and some detergent on the stain and see if that cleans it. If it doesn’t work, then you will have to try a stronger cleaner, maybe a chemical cleaner.

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