Will A Pressure Washer Remove Oil Stains
Oil stains are not only unsightly and potential slip hazards, but they’re also difficult to remove. At some point, most of us will need to deal with the stain left from an oil spillage. Whether it’s from a car with an oil leak, or just clumsiness when topping up the engine oil, oil stains need dealing with.
Whichever method you choose to get rid of oil stains it will take patience and some degree of manual labour. Your best tool for removing oil stains is a power washer. Power washers use hot water, and as you’ll know from washing dishes, hot water removes oil and grease much easier than cold water. That said, if you own a pressure washer – which will only run on cold water, you’ll find it easier than trying to clear away the oil with a garden hose.
Please note: if you’re considering buying a pressure washer, you’ll find this guide very helpful.
How To Clean Oil Stains From Concrete Using A Pressure Washer
If you have a really large oil stain, you might do better calling in a professional cleaning company. These can be expensive but they have all the equipment and relevant chemicals to remove oil stains safely. If the stain is fairly small you’ll probably be able to remove it yourself.
Follow this step by step guide to remove oil stains from concrete.
- Remove any obstacles
Clear all garden furniture, plant pots, tools, toys, and anything else from the area you want to be cleaned.
- Protect yourself
Wear personal protective equipment, like gloves, eye protectors, waterproof boots and overalls.
- Soak up as much oil as you can
Use paper towels, or old rags to soak up as much oil as possible, then use cat litter, sawdust or sand to absorb more oil. Leave for 30 minutes.
- Sweep away as much as possible
With a yard broom, sweep away all of the absorbent material you used to soak up the oil spill.
- Prepare your cleaner
Read the instructions on whatever degreaser agent you are going to use. It’s advisable to test a small patch first to make sure it’s not going to discolour the concrete.
- Pour on the cleaner
Apply the cleaner to the oil stain and leave for the recommended time (see container for details).
- Pressure wash the area
After the degreaser has had time to work, rinse off with a pressure washer to remove all traces of the oil stain and the degreaser from the concrete. A power washer is the best tool for this job, but a pressure washer will work too
If the oil stain has been there for some time you can omit steps 3 and 4. It’s always best to deal with oil spillage as soon as it happens as the longer it’s there the harder it is to remove.
Once dry, we advise using a concrete sealant to protect the concrete and prevent stains from forming.
How To Get Rid Of Oil Stains On Asphalt Using A Pressure Washer
As asphalt is a much softer material than concrete, it presents more of a challenge when cleaning. The last thing you want to do is remove the asphalt with the stain. The step by step guide above applies for oil stains on asphalt as well as for concrete. We suggest a heavy-duty degreaser detergent is applied at least 30 minutes before using a pressure washer.
Take care not to use a too high-powered nozzle, we suggest wetting the area with the white nozzle, and rinsing with the green nozzle, if necessary you can increase the pressure to the yellow nozzle but take care. If you are using the pressure washer to apply detergent, be sure to use a compatible detergent for your machine and apply using the black nozzle. It’s advisable to use a cold water pressure washer on asphalt as too much heat can melt the surface.
After pressure washing, allow the asphalt to completely dry and then apply a sealant to protect the integrity of the surface. The sealant should be reapplied every 2 years to maintain protection.
How To Use A Pressure Washer To Remove Oil From A Driveway
Driveways are probably the most common area for oil stains to appear. Old cars develop leaks, and we often spill oil when topping up the engine oil. If it’s a very recent spillage you’ll probably get away with just mopping it up with paper towels or rags and rinsing with a hose.
If it’s an old embedded oil stain, you’ll need to adopt a more aggressive approach. Driveways are usually made from concrete, asphalt or block paving and the step by step method above will work for all 3 surfaces with the following provisoes.
- Always use the correct cleaning detergent for the surface you are cleaning,
- Take extra care with block paving not to remove the cement or sand that the pavers are edged with (keep to a low-pressure nozzle),
- Remember to only use cold water pressure washers on asphalt to prevent melting the surface,
- Only ever use detergent approved by the pressure washer company in their machine.
How To Remove Oil From A Painted Wall Using A Pressure Washer
If you notice oil or grease stains on a painted wall, it is possible to remove them using a pressure washer but you will need to be careful. Too much pressure will remove the paint as well leaving a patch even more unsightly than the original oil stain. Simply apply a degreaser to the stain and allow to soak for around ½ hour.
Then using either the white or green nozzle on your pressure washer, remove the degreaser, the oil/grease stain should come off as well. Stand between 12 to 18 inches away from the wall and try to keep the wand moving, as if you blast one area constantly you are likely to damage the structure of the wall.
How To Remove Oil From Wood Using A Pressure Washer
If you have oil or grease stains on your wooden decking, you can use a pressure washer to remove them, as long as you exercise a little caution. You need to identify what wood your decking is made from. For instance, if you have decking made from softwood like pine or cedar, the pressure should be set to between 500 to 600 Pounds per Square inch (PSi), if it’s a hardwood you can use up to 1200 PSi.
To avoid damaging the surface of the wood, use either the black or white nozzle as these apply the least pressure. Soak the oil/grease stain in a degreaser for around 30 minutes and then using the lowest pressure available rinse off with the pressure washer. You can increase the power by stages up to 1200 PSi if the stain is proving difficult to remove.
Don’t, under any circumstances, be tempted to use a higher PSi than 1200
Remember that most chemical detergents are toxic to plants so remove any pot plants and cover any in-ground plants with some sort of protective sheet while using the pressure washer.
Frequently Asked Questions
As long as you use a degreasing detergent, a pressure washer will remove oil and grease from a driveway.
Using a pressure washer to remove oil and grease from concrete is the best way to remove the stains effectively.
You can pressure wash oil off a painted wall as long as you are careful not to use too high a power and you keep the nozzle moving (don’t concentrate on one specific area) to avoid damaging the wall.
A pressure washer will clean oil from wood as long as you: use the appropriate degreasing detergent, use the correct nozzle and keep the pressure low.
It is perfectly safe to use a pressure washer to remove oil stains from asphalt as long as you use the correct detergent and remember not to use too high a pressure setting.
It is advisable to seal your driveway after pressure washing to protect your driveway from wear and tear and help to prevent stains.
Pressure washing doesn’t damage block paving, but it might loosen or remove the sand and/or mortar between the pavers. This will need to be replaced and repointed to keep the block paving in good shape.
WD 40 is a degreaser and can be used to remove oil stains from concrete. However, it is not as effective as proprietary degreasers and should only be used as soon as spillage occurs, or as an emergency measure.
Concrete sealant lasts on average 2 to 3 years and should be resealed every 2 years to be on the safe side.
The time of year best suited to sealing a driveway is mid-spring to late summer. This allows the sealant to properly seal the surface before the weather becomes too cold and wet.
Most driveway sealer manufacturers recommend applying 2 coats of sealants. Allowing 8 hours drying time between the first and the second coat.
If left, oil can weaken the asphalt and cause the surface to degrade and eventually destroy the asphalt.
To remove oil, it is recommended to use an industrial-strength degreaser on asphalt.