Cleaning Oil, Rust Stains and More From Driveway Pavers

old world pavers driveway bay area


Driveway pavers are a great option for your California bay area home. They provide homeowners with benefits like upping your home’s the curb appeal and adding value when it comes time to sell.

Driveway pavers are durable and flexible which makes them more stable than some other options like poured or stamped concrete or asphalt. Because they are made of interlocking stones, pavers will not crack like concrete or asphalt are prone to do.

Pavers are also a low-maintenance surface. Regular sweeping and the occasional power washing can keep your driveway pavers looking like new. However, accidents happen and even the most well-maintained driveway may sometimes get stained. Here are the best techniques for cleaning oil, rust and other stains from your driveway pavers!


Properly sealed driveway pavers can be cleaned fairly easily depending on the severity of the stain. If caught early, spreading an absorbent material like kitty litter can prevent liquids from soaking into pavers. Even sealed pavers are somewhat porous. If pavers become stained, in most cases it’s possible to remove those stains by following these helpful tips!

Some General Tips For Removing Most Stains

Read on for remedies to remove specific stains. But first, here are some “general” guidelines:

• Most paver manufacturers provide guidelines for cleaning specific stains from their products. Ask your contractor for any manufacturer’s care information when you have your pavers installed.

• Always test any cleaning product in an inconspicuous area of your driveway to make sure it is safe before treatment.

• Always read the instructions on any commercial paver cleaning materials. Follow the instructions exactly. Including instructions for mixing, application and personal protection.

• When using commercial products always thoroughly rinse areas after application. Try to wash materials away from plantings. If this isn’t possible, dilute the solution with as much water as possible to prevent damage to delicate landscaping.

• Always use soft, nylon brushes to prevent scratching. If using a pressure washer, understand that if polymeric sand is used in the joints that you may need to replace it after the surface thoroughly dries.


Manufacturer’s recommendations may vary depending on the type of stain. Always check their suggestions first. Here are some tips for cleaning specific stains on driveway pavers.


The most common source of oil stains on your driveway is small amounts dripping from a parked vehicle. To clean oil from your driveway, keep some paper towels and kitty litter close. If it’s a fresh oil stain, lightly blot the area with a clean rag or paper towel. For tougher stains, liquid dish soap or laundry detergent is effective. Start by directly applying the soap directly to the stain and allow it to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Then scrub with a soft nylon brush and rinse thoroughly.

If the stain has had time to set and absorb into the pavers, soak up as much as possible. Then cover the area with kitty litter and let it sit for about 6 hours. Sweep up the material then follow the instructions above for fresh stains.


Efflorescence is a natural process that some mistakenly refer to as hard water staining. Pavers can begin to display a powder-like material on the surface in the first couple of years after installation. This is a result of soluble salts in the material reacting with rainfall, humidity and temperature fluctuations. As the water evaporates, it draws the salts to the surface leaving a whitish powder.

Most manufacturers offer an efflorescence remover. This cleaner is abrasive, so make sure to test it before applying to the entire surface.


Rust stains can be treated by using lemon juice. Make sure to do this on a sunny day to make the process more efficient. Squeeze the juice directly on the stain and wait 5 minutes. Scrub with a soft nylon brush. The stain should lift out completely. Next, finish the cleanup with some white vinegar. Pour it directly on the stain and cover with a rag to keep the area damp. Wait 15 minutes, then scrub with a nylon brush. Finally, rinse the pavers with plenty of water to dilute the vinegar so it won’t damage your landscaping.

This method can sometimes cause etching, so always test it in a discrete area before treatment. If the staining is severe try using oxalic acid or wood bleach. Check with your paver manufacturer for specific mixing instructions as they vary. Apply the mixture, scrub and rinse thoroughly.


The best defense against stains is to regularly check your driveway. The longer a contaminant sits on the paver, the greater the potential for staining. Make checking a part of your weekly routine.

Another good preventative measure is to regularly sweep and powerwash your driveway when necessary. Also, speak with your hardscape contractor about options for applying sealant to make clean-up and maintenance even easier. Remember that one of the strongest features that driveway pavers offer is that if a paver is damaged or stained beyond repair, replacement is always an option. You can’t do that with concrete or asphalt!

If you have any questions about your paver maintenance needs, removing stains, or replacing damaged pavers and you live in the California Bay area, give the experts at Bayside Pavers a call at 1-(866) 287-2837. We’re always happy to answer any of your hardscaping questions, and our knowledgeable team members are always ready to help you create the outdoor living space you’ve been dreaming about!


If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, our location in Concord, CA at 2455 Bates Ave, Ste K, services East Bay and South Bay homeowners. Our Santa Rosa, CA location at 1619 4th Street Ste 12 can help you with your North Bay hardscaping projects.

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