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Oil leaks on asphalt

Will oil leaks shorten the life of asphalt? If so, by how much? Is there a cost effective environmentally friendly way to clean up old ones and new ones?



Thanks. Elizabeth

You are asking car guys a civil engineering type question. You will get a mixed batch of answers about shortening the life of asphalt. The important question is “How many gallons of water are you polluting?” since asphalt is porous.

The best way to clean up new oil spots is to use cheap kitty litter (the kind that does not form clumps when it gets wet). It helps to grind it into the spots to get it all. You can’t just spread it out and clean it up.

Old oil spots stain the surface. You basically have two choices, scrub them with bleach (which seems to work on pavement, but I don’t know about asphalt), or use a pressure washer to basically take a layer off the surface (which can damage it).

I suppose, since this is an asphalt surface you are talking about, it might be best to paint it black.

Although gasoline will eat right through your asphalt, oil does it a little slower, but it’s still bad.

As a student I had a summer job on a paving crew and we used diesel fuel to clean off the tools!

As mentioned, to keep oil from eating through your asphalt, I would use an old cookie tray with kitty litter on it. Every so often, scrape off the kitty litter off in the garbage and live happily ever after. You will have to park in the same spot of course.

It’s also good for cleaning up existing spots.

Asphalt IS oil! Lube oil will will quickly soften and destroy asphalt…

Yeah asphalt is just all the thick junk leftover after the refining process of crude oil. There really is no point in cleaning it up with kitty litter or using chemicals, except it looks better I suppose. The waste is just going to end up in the landfill or the chemicals down the storm drain. Unless you were to dispose of the kitty litter at some sort of solid haz waste facility…