Most people think that stained driveway lightening is a lost cause and that you would have to have the entire driveway re-paved but there are actually several ways in which to remove oil and other blemish marks, one of which is to hire an expensive high pressure cleaner with all sorts of harmful chemicals and acids which will leave your garden next to the driveway in turmoil and even remove the color if it had been a colored driveway.
The effect of these chemicals is more often than not a good way to shorten the life of your driveway as the acids dry the concrete out too much and results in cracking and separation before its time due to integral failure. And you will be the one left with having to repave the entire driveway.
There is however several other ways of driveway lightening that does not include spending a lot of cash and there are even ways to remove it with common household cleaning products and a little effort. On concrete driveways the best option is one such home remedy of one part bleach added to one part laundry powder diluted with one part water, this should give you a rather thick paste which can now be used for scrubbing the stains off with a brush, this might take a while and a few repeated scrubs, but the stain will eventually go away, this is unfortunately the hardest and most draining process of driveway lightening as you actually have to use your arms for some hard scrubbing.
Once the stain has been removed, rinse the mixture off the driveway with a hose. This way no residue is left behind to form another stain. The problem with this remedy as most other is the fact that it cleans too well and because of this, what was once a dark spot on your driveway is now a light spot and the rest of the driveway has become a dark spot. But not to worry, you don't have to scrub the entire driveway.
A great technique to driveway lightening is to first remove all the spots and blemishes and rinsing their residue off after which you take the same mixture of soap and bleach and dilute it with 20 parts water giving you a strong soap with bleaching and minor degreasing properties which will remove any smaller unseen blemishes and resulting in a clean lightened driveway, then the rinsing should follow as soap scum also leaves a residue that is not easy to remove and can also cause blemishes and stains. After having rinsed the driveway, you will notice that it is a significantly lighter grey than it was before, this will also ensure that even the tire marks are removed from the driveway.
The bleach in the mixture is also known to prevent mould or mildew from infecting the concrete as this will definitely affect the structural integrity of the entire driveway. This technique is however not suggested for colored driveways as the scrubbing will leave certain areas of the driveway with discoloration and not the desired lightened effect.
Another method of driveway lightening is to remove the rust stains from the concrete, this will also turn out to be more of a job than expected as rust is combined with water which soaks into the concrete thereby staining it far below the surface whereas oil is much thicker and is not absorbed as quickly, to remove these rust stains it is advised to use wood bleach as it contains a percentage of oxalic acid which is ideal for breaking down rust particles, after applying the wood bleach to the stain, leave to soak for 10 to 15 minutes after which you will have to scrub a little bit, just to get the surface rust loose as the acid has done the penetration for you.
Once again the moment the removal process is complete the concrete surface must be rinsed immediately with an abundance of water in order to prevent the rust from staining somewhere else.
The techniques for asphalt driveway lightening is a different story, depending on what the intended purpose and desired effect is, if you only want to remove a few oil marks from your driveway, the best home remedy is to first remove the puddle of oil if there is one, the placing cat litter or gravel over the stain, leaving it to soak up as much oil as possible and the scuffling it around to soak up some more, when this is done, remove the cat litter or gravel and place it in a bag in the trash as oil in that form is not good for your soil.
After having removed the gravel, apply some simple degreaser or engine cleaner to the problem area and leave it to soak for 5 minutes or take a fine brush and scrub it, the scrubbing is not really necessary as the degreaser will remove everything, when the removal process has been completed, rinse thoroughly because degreaser tend to leave a whit residue which will also stain on the asphalt. If you do not have engine cleaner, other agents may also be used such as brake cleaner.
To lighten driveways made of asphalt in the entirety will be a bit more difficult or expensive, for this a die is added in the initial mixture in order to give it a discolored look, but if you wait a few years, the driveway will lighten by itself. Otherwise you can paint the asphalt with a high friction paint that won't come off the first time you drive over it and is available in a range of colors such as fresh asphalt for if you want to make it darker or discolored asphalt.
On request you can even have the certain desired degree of discoloration paint mixed for you. This means that there is no need to be alarmed at the site of stains on your driveway.
Driveway lightening will change the look of your driveway completely.