Oil stains on driveway pavers

Old 11-11-10, 03:08 PM
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Oil stains on driveway pavers

Whats the best technique for removing please?
Old 11-11-10, 06:38 PM
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There's two ways that come to mind that should both work:

1. Use a propane torch to convert the oil stain to H2O and CO2 molecules, and then use a mild acid like CLR (or maybe even a HCl based toilet bowl cleaner) to remove any discoloration from the pavers caused by the heat of the flame. Basically, you'd be dissolving the top hundredth of an inch of the concrete the paver is made of, which should remove any discolouration as well.

If you go this route, I would still saturate the paver(s) with water first. That will keep the paver cement from getting any hotter than 212 deg. F while there is still water in the paver to absorb the heat, and that should minimize discolouring of the concrete. However, it shouldn't interfere with the process of burning off the oil since the oil will be exposed directly to the flame, and the cement behind it is an insulator. I'm thinking that saturating the paver with water will prevent the concrete from heating up, but the oil on the surface still should burn off because it's exposed to very high temperatures and oxygen at the same time. And, the concrete behind it is an insulator.

(I'm not sure if wetting the paver before hand would prevent the oil from getting hot enough to burn off or not)

2. There's a thread in this forum called Vaseline + Back Pack = OMG Anger, or something like that. Both Vaseline and engine oil consist of saturated hydrocarbon chains of various length, so the same procedure should work to remove it; namely to dissolve the stain in mineral spirits, and then emulsify the soiled mineral spirits with Simple Green.

However, in your case there's a bit of a fly in the ointment. Your driveway paving stones are porous. If you try to dissolve the oil stain in mineral spirits, the soiled mineral spirits are going to be absorbed into the paving stone and draw the stain deeper into the paver.

So the way around that it to wet down the paving stone first. Just spray or pour some water on it and keep it wet for a day or two. Ideally, you want to get all the porosity of the paver filled with water, but as long as the porosity at the top of the stone is full of water, that'll prevent any soiled mineral spirits from being drawn into the paver by capillary action.

So, wet the paver first and keep wetting it down to saturate the paver with water. I'd do that for a day or two anyhow.

Now, remove any surface water with a rag or sponge so that the stone is damp, but there's no surface water on the paver.

Now use mineral spirits and an old scrub brush to dissolve the oil stain. You need to scrub to remove the oil from the surface of the paver and get it dissolved in the mineral spirits. As you scrub, the oil will dissolve in the mineral spirits to create a black liquid mess.

Now, apply Simple Green to emulsify the soiled mineral spirits, and then just clean it up with a rag or sponge and bucket of water. Use an old sponge because you're likely to ruin the sponge doing this work.

Last edited by Nestor; 11-11-10 at 07:30 PM.
Old 11-20-10, 09:45 PM
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A simpler way is to buy a sack of portland cement at the lumber yard. This is pure cement powder, not pre-mixed concrete or masonry cement. Sprinkle it liberally over the entire oil stain to 1/4" thick or so, then leave it there to absorb the oil from the pavers. Once a week sweep it up & discard it, then apply new cement. Gradually it will absorb all the oil. The longer the oil has been there the longer it takes, but eventually it will work, with very little labor on your part. Good luck.
Old 10-25-12, 04:23 PM
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Kudos to Nestor. The propane torch, drenching the paver 1st and then following with an acid based solution worked perfectly, with two modifications. I soaked the pavers with H20 first and let sit for about 1 minute. (I live in So Cal & nuthing stays wet for two days.) The only acid based solution I had was vinegar & it worked great. A little (in size) wire brush and a rag to wipe it. Viola! Thank you so much!!
Old 11-12-12, 07:45 PM
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If you don't have a lot of time to clean it all up at once, I would go with CNTRTOP's suggestion. I've heard of this before, never did it myself, and no one complains about the results.

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