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Have you ever learned that your car or truck has an oil leak, some of which soaked into your driveway? Or have you changed the oil on your lawn mower or leaf blower and spilled some on accident?

Oil stains on concrete are such a common problem that many people come to accept it as a normal occurrence that lasts forever. It creates an unsightly appearance that throws off the symmetrical, tidy appearance of a well kept driveway.

How should we remove oil stains to return our driveways back closest to their original appearance?

Common Oils That Stain Driveways and Concrete Floors

At one point or another, you have probably seen the following oil stains in parking lots, driveways, garages, and sidewalks:

Common Ways to Remove Oil Stains from Driveways

Before you get started in removing pesky oil stains from concrete, there are a few expectations to set when preparing for oil removal.

  1. The longer the oil stain has been sitting in your driveway, the harder it will be to remove.
  2. You can get the majority of an oil stain out of concrete, but don’t be frustrated if you can’t get 100% of the stain removed – sometimes it is not feasible
  3. There are a variety of methods to remove oil stains, and choosing the right method for you depends on safety, chemical knowledge, and budget.

Start With Drying the Oil Stain

Regardless of how old the oil stain is, you should start by using an absorbent material to collect any wet surface level oil. You can use a variety of materials and methods, such as the following:

  1. Kitty litter – Grind it into the surface, let it dwell for 30-60 minutes, brush it away, and collect the rest. You can repeat this until the oil stain appears drier than when you started.
  2. Paper towels or rags – use these when the oil stain is no older than 24 hours.
  3. Sand or table salt – Sands and salts are great at absorbing moisture and can be used on most oil stains. Let them absorb for at least 15 minutes and then brush them away.
  4. Baking soda – This is a good alternative if you have any lying around in your cleaning storage. Let it sit until the baking soda looks saturated, then brush and collect.

Since oil is flammable and an environmental contaminant, always dispose of cleaning materials using compliant local guidelines.

Next, Choose Your Cleaning Agent

When choosing any of these cleaning agents, always do your own research on chemical safety and read any instructions on products you buy. Also wear protective eyewear and gloves as some of these chemicals are caustic.

  1. Common degreaser – Degreasers can be found at any local big box store or hardware store. Instructions change from product-to-product, but a common and effective degreaser is ZEP Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser. Follow the directions as describe on the label and apply to your oil stain.
  2. WD-40 – This can be used as a simple degreaser on most oil stains. Spray a thick and even coat on the oil stain and work it into the concrete with a brush. You can let it sit overnight and then rinse away with a garden hose or pressure washer.
  3. TSP – Trisodium phosphate is a well known cleaning agent that has many cleaning properties. We recommend this for homeowners who are experienced in exterior cleaning as TSP can damage metal, glass, and ceramic tile. Start by dissolving 1 dry cup of TSP in hot water. You can either pour the solution directly onto the oil stain or pour the gallon of solution into a pump sprayer to get more coverage. Let it sit until for a half hour or until you notice a color change. Soak up what you can into paper towels as TSP is not environmentally friendly. Rinse the rest away with a jet nozzle on your garden sprayer or use a pressure washer.

Professional Oil Stain Removal

If you are in search of peace of mind for your exterior cleaning, look no further than our team at Mount Pleasant Pressure Washing. We handle all the chemical knowledge, power equipment investment, and protection to your landscaping. Rather than spend hours researching the chemicals to remove oil stains, several trips to the hardware store, and hundreds of dollars of power equipment, let a professional team handle your exterior cleaning needs.

We pride ourselves on being oil stain removal experts in the Lowcountry due to our extensive chemical knowledge and access to the industry’s top environmentally friendly cleaning agents. We provide free estimates and often package oil stain removal into a discounted rate with a standard driveway cleaning.

How to Tell When Your Roof Shingles Need Cleaning

First identifying a dirty roof versus a clean roof is how you can determine when your roof needs maintenance. The organism that feeds off your roof shingles is called Gloeocapsa magma, which is a type of bacteria that feeds off of the limestone mineral in your roof shingles. They are often seen as “black streaks” on roofs that are gradually becoming dirty. Below is a picture of what Gloeocapsa magma looks like on a light grey roof before undergoing a roof cleaning.

Roof cleaning

The pictures in this roof cleaning were shortly after treating the roof with one of the chemicals we recommend using for washing roof shingles. The white streaks, which are now dead bacteria, will soon disappear over the course of a few weeks as rainfall rinses the dirty spots off the shingles.

For all of the following chemicals, we recommend applying the cleaning solution using a garden sprayer, wearing gloves and a respirator. Water all your plants before during and after chemical application and put a bag over your gutter downspouts to collect cleaning solution running down the drain. Dump any of the runoff collected in your bags onto your concrete driveway and let it biodegrade naturally.

Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach)

Called SH for short, household bleach is the most widely used roof cleaning chemical, as it is the choice cleaning agent of nearly every pressure washing company in North America. Bought in large 55 gallon drums, millions of gallons of commercial grade sodium hypochlorite are used to clean building exteriors every year. For homeowners, we recommend stocking up on household bleach shortly before cleaning your roof in approximately a 20-25 gallon allotment. Pour a gallon of bleach directly in a pump sprayer and add 2 ounces of laundry detergent to help it stick to the roof shingles. Apply a light coat to all areas of the roof and reapply in about 30 minutes of there are still black streaks. After applying the chemical, the black streaks should turn from black to brown or even white. If they do not turn at least brown, reapply another coat.

Sodium Percarbonate (oxygen bleach)

Sodium percarbonate is a safer and more environmentally friendly option for cleaning your roof shingles, although it is less effective overall. We recommend this chemical for anyone with sensitive plants directly below their roof line such as Japanese maple trees or rose bushes. Sodium percarbonate is less likely to damage these plants so long as they are rinsed well afterwards.

We recommend buying OxiClean and dissolving the powder as per instructed on the container in warm water. Add a couple ounces of laundry detergent per gallon of cleaning solution made and apply as mentioned before. It may take more applications than using bleach, but you are less likely to cause any collateral damage to your landscaping because of taking the more environmentally friendly option.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is like sodium percarbonate in that it is more environmentally friendly than bleach, but usually less effective and more expensive. We recommend searching for 15% or higher hydrogen peroxide solutions which can be found at garden supply centers or cleaning supplier stores.

Put directly in your pump sprayer, add your laundry detergent, and get to spraying. Hydrogen peroxide should need a couple applications just like oxygen bleach.

TSP or Sodium Hydroxide as an Additive to Your Cleaning Solution

Trisodium phosphate and sodium hydroxide are a type of chemical called degreasers, which can clean up food grease and they have paint stripping abilities as well. Adding a small amount of degreaser to your roof cleaning mix can be a great way to thicken the solution so it sticks better, as well as help cut through thick layers of dirt, algae, and moss. We recommend buying both at a chemical supply store or big box store. Here is how to mix both:

Make sure when adding degreaser that you rinse it from any other house surfaces the solution touches because degreasers have mild paint stripping abilities.

How Often Should I Clean my Roof Shingles

The frequency at which you need to clean your roof depends on several factors including the climate you live in, how much sun exposure your roof gets, and the color of your roof shingles. In moisture-heavy climates you may need to clean your roof every 2-5 years. In drier climates you can usually stretch this number to much longer. If you have a lot of tree coverage over your roof or accumulate a lot of debris, you will likely be closer to the 2-3 year range.

If your roof shingles are a dark grey color, you will not notice they are as dirty as quickly as someone that has a grey or tan colored roof. From a curb appeal perspective, darker colored roofs hide their dirtiness better and you can get by with minor staining for longer. This does not mean you should ignore a roof being decayed by limestone-eating algae, however.

Roof Cleaning Professionals

If your roof is too steep to walk safely or you do not feel comfortable on your roof at all, or if you simply want to save an entire weekend of cleaning, call a professional that specializes in soft wash roof cleaning such as our team at Mount Pleasant Pressure Washing. With top-of-the-line roof cleaning machines and years of experience, we guarantee a spectacular-looking roof free of black streaks with no damage to plant life. Our professionally trained team and exceptional customer service is ready to service your roof and save you thousands of dollars of premature roofing damage.

Advantages of Cleaning Concrete with Muriatic Acid

Disadvantages of Cleaning Concrete with Muriatic Acid

Step-by-Step Cleaning Concrete with Muriatic Acid

Expected Results and Summary

Cleaning concrete with muriatic acid can be a highly effective solution if used correctly, providing ultra-bright white concrete and removal of many types of stains. In one application, you can remove rust stains, oil stains, algae, and paint splatter with a quick chemical application followed by pressure washing.

If at any point you feel uncomfortable or unsure how to use muriatic acid and pressure washing equipment, take some time to review the instructions for all your products. If you would rather not deal with strong acids, outdoor power equipment, and a long weekend laboring away, call the professionals at Mount Pleasant Pressure Washing.

We specialize in all types of acid washing, pressure cleaning, and soft washing methods that provide exceptional results time and time again. From world-class training instructed by 40+ year professionals to state-of-the-art equipment, Mount Pleasant Pressure Washing delivers the best clean in the Lowcountry.

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