A driveway, or even a sidewalk provides off-street parking for homeowners and guests, and is the perfect way to improve your home’s curb appeal and value. Regardless of whether you have a concrete, tarmac or brick surface, the cleanliness is easily overlooked. Car oil, weeds, paint and debris are just some of the things that make paving look old and ugly. Stains also add up over time, which is why cleaning must be done when required. As many of us haven’t taken up cleaning the driveway as often as other areas of our homes, you may wonder whether you should clean the driveway, and how to clean it. Here are some cleaning tips for your driveway to get it in the best condition possible.
Why You Need To Clean Your Driveway
If you have not cleaned your driveway before, here’s why you need to clean it:
- It enhances the first appearance of your home. Paving cleaning is one of the simplest ways to lift the look and value of your home. Cleaning will remove mud, debris and grime, and restore the appearance of your property.
- It increases durability. Cracked pavements or bricks allow weeds to grow in between by expanding the cracks. Driveway cleaning usually removes dirt and unwanted plants or weeds, saving you the cost of future repairs. Chemical oil and other spills can also react with the surface of the driveway and cause damage.
- Cleaning your driveway also enhances safety. Moss or algae that could grow or spills that happen on your driveway can be slippery and become a hazard to you and the family. Cleaning the area will remove these.
- A clean front of the house increases the value of your home. Your driveway is the first thing that people notice when visiting your home, potential buyers too. By keeping it clean and looking good as new, you can impress home buyers and get a better chance of getting a higher offer when selling your house.
Before You Clean Your Driveway
Driveway cleaning can be time-consuming, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be simple. It’s important to firstly, know the type of material in your driveway to find the best cleaning method that won’t cause damage. If you have uncertainty about this, you can always get in touch with a specialist for a better understanding. Secondly, depending on your cleaning needs, you may want to be ready with all your necessary tools and equipment for the task. You may also want to get in touch with SweepSouth for professional and trusted driveway cleaning services.
The Best Time To Clean Your Driveway
It’s recommended to clean your driveway as soon as you notice dirt or stains. Most owners wait until it’s summer, or for spring cleaning, before switching on a pressure washer to clean the driveway, as mould and algae are more visible during these times. It is also best to choose a cloudy day for cleaning to prevent fast drying, which can lessen the effectiveness of the cleaning. Depending on the size of your driveway, it should take 1 to 2 hours to completely clean the surface.
What You Need To Clean The Driveway
For the best result, you will need need the following tools:
- Sawdust or cat litter for absorbency.
- A scrub brush, like a braai brush.
- An outdoor broom.
- A hose pipe, pressure washer or sprayer.
- Dish soap or laundry detergent.
- A gallon size bucket.
How To Remove Grease Or Oil From Your Driveway
Brake fluid, oil and petrol spills from your car that run on your driveway can take away the appeal. These stains should be removed as soon as possible. To clean grease and oil, scatter an absorbent substance, such as sawdust or cat litter, directly onto the stains, and allow it to sit for a couple of hours to dry up as much of the oil as possible. Spread a 2-inch layer of the absorbent component. To absorb most of the stain, you may want to leave the stain with the sawdust on it for about 12 to 24 hours.
Next, gather up the sawdust and sweep the whole surface to remove loose dirt such as dry leaves, soil, mud and other debris. Use a strong, hard-bristle broom specific for outside work to make sure that all debris and dirt have been removed from the gaps in the cracks.
You can use dishwashing powder or laundry detergent to clean the stains, or a mixture of washing up liquid and hot water.
- The solution should be made of 2 cups of detergent in a ¾ bucket of hot water. For asphalt driveways, it’s important to use only expert-recommended cleaning detergents.
- Let the detergent sit for about 30 minutes before scrubbing the stained areas with an outdoor brush to work the detergent solution into the stain.
- Then, use a hose pipe on its highest possible pressure for rinsing the ground with water.
How To Clean Paint Spills From Your Driveway
Spilling paint on the driveway can leave patches that become difficult to remove. Depending on the paint spilt, you can remove these spillage using the following steps:
- For oil-based paints, you need to use a paint stripper and scrub the paint off with a stiff-bristle brush.
- Allow it to sit for some time before rinsing with water. This method is recommended for concrete paving only, as stripping products may damage asphalt. If you do have an asphalt driveway then you can use a sealer to cover the stained area.
- For latex paints, use water and scouring powder to scrub the stain with a stiff brush, followed by rinsing with water from a hose.
How To Clean Leaves And Organic Matter
Cut grass from your lawn and fallen leaves can build up on your driveway and make it look dirty. Also, decomposing leaves leave a stain on the surface. To clean fallen leaves, you need to rake them away first, and then sweep your whole driveway.
If you see dark stains, use a mixture of dishwashing powder and a bucket of hot water with a stiff brush to scrub away the stains. Use your hose to rinse with water once the stain is gone.
How To Get Rid Of Rust Stains
Any metallic object is prone to rust, and if left overnight on the driveway, it will form a rusty area. The most effective way to clean rust is with hydrochloric acid. Carefully combine half a cup of acid with about 4 cups of cold water. With a stiff brush, scrub the solution into the stains until they are removed.
Don’t forget to wear protective gear here, such as gloves to protect your hands and other safety equipment to prevent acid from coming into contact with your skin,
Pressure Washing Your Driveway
You can effectively clean your driveway with a pressure washer. You may want to read the pressure washer’s manual before use to be sure of the most suitable sort of detergent for your model.
- Attach the hose to the washer, then pressure wash your whole driveway to remove loose dirt.
- Next, you can swap the hose for a soaking nozzle and soak the surface of the driveway with detergent, allowing it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- As soon as the pressure washer and the detergents have removed the stains or dirt, you can rinse the area with the pressure washer.
- Lastly, use a 25° nozzle to rinse your floor clean.
How To Clean Brick Paving
Read the tips below for effective cleaning of a brick paver driveway:
- To keep brick pavers clean, get rid of any pot plants or items of furniture that get in the way when trying to clean. Also, be sure to cover objects that can be damaged by water or exposure, like metal items.
- To remove moss and weeds growing in your driveway, use a still brush or an outdoor broom to brush away moss between the bricks. Gently pull the weeds out that have started to grow between the pavers. When all of the plant growth is loosened, brush the debris off your pavers.
- If you remove a lot of sand by removing weeds or perhaps haven’t resanded your paving for some time, you can re-sand your brick pavers once you’re done cleaning.
- Before you wash the surface of your bricks, hose down the whole area with water. At this point there’s no need for power washing, the bricks only need to be wet so that the cleaner isn’t soaked into them.
- The best cleaner for brick pavers is a combination of warm water and mild dishwashing soap or detergent. Fill a gallon size bucket with water and add 2 cups of dish detergent. Mix the soap into the water, then gently pour it over your driveway.
- Use A stiff-bristle brush to scrub the solution over the paving. The scrubbing from the broom will loosen dirt and help to lift stains. Depending on the cleaning solution, you may need to leave some to soak on the surface, for the cleaning to break down tough dirt.
- After scrubbing, you can rinse the area clean with clean water and pour it down a drain nearby. You can choose to use your normal garden hose or a pressure washer to clear off stubborn stains, but sometimes pressure washers can remove sand from between the pavers, so be sure to pay attention if you are going to use a pressure washer.
If you are going to re-sand brick paving, make sure it’s completely clean. Pour about ⅓ of the sand onto a small area, and sweep the sand over the surface with a dry outdoor broom. As soon as the sand is evenly spread out, use a mist setting on the hose over the pavers. This will ensure the sand settles between the bricks. But try not to make the pavers too wet and risk washing away the sand.
Best Ways To Clean A Concrete Driveway
Here are the cleaning solutions and instructions for cleaning a concrete driveway:
Detergent is recommended as a cleaning agent for driveways that have grease spillage. You’ll need a strong detergent mixed with water, a scrub brush, a sponge, and a decent amount of elbow grease during the process.
2. Vinegar And Baking Soda
If you’re looking for a natural cleaner, vinegar and baking soda are your best choice. Cleaning concrete with bleach and detergent can be effective, but may be toxic to plants. So, if you are worried about your plants next to your driveway, here is your solution.
Fill an empty spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar, or water and baking soda, then add a small amount of liquid detergent. Mix it all together before spraying the solution onto your concrete driveway, leaving the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes. Then you can scrub with a stiff-bristle brush, before rinsing with clean water.
If a large area of your concrete needs cleaning, fill a bucket with warm water and ¾ cup of bleach. You may want to mop the solution onto your driveway and leave it to sit for a few minutes. Then, proceed to scrub or mop your driveway before rinsing it with clean water to mop up the bleach cleaning solution.
NB Tip: you should not mix bleach with other cleaning products, and always wear protective gloves to protect your hands when scrubbing.
How To Clean Cobblestone Driveways
A cobblestone driveway is a classic style that adds value to your home. Here’s how to clean and maintain it’s look:
Make sure that there aren’t any obstructions on the driveway before you start cleaning. Start by sweeping the area with a broom to remove any loose dirt, gravel, leaves and twigs that may be on the driveway. Then spray the driveway down with a hose. Allow the driveway to dry slightly.
Cobblestone pavings take on a lot of wear from cars driving over and people walking on them. This can cause mud to track in the area, which will dry and harden. Simply sweeping and hosing the driveway won’t always remove the mud, meaning you must scrub it. Let your cleaner sit on the stones for several minutes before rinsing it off with clean water.
For stains on your cobblestone driveway, pick a cleaner that’s safe for stone and follow the directions on the back of the product. All cleaners are different, so you should follow the instructions for removing stains.
As soon as the sand begins to break down, the driveway may start to become loose. Stop this by pouring sand around the edges before spreading it and tapping it down. Add more sand as required; don’t forget to lightly wet the sand to increase its strength and allow it to stay in place. If there are spaces between the pavers, you should spread sand and follow the same procedure with a broom.
The last step is to seal your cobblestone driveway; sealing the stones is done to protect them from becoming stained. You’ll want to choose a sealer suitable for rock and apply a thin layer with a large paintbrush. Try to use light strokes to prevent streaking. Give the sealer at least a day to dry, then apply another layer the following day.
Keeping a clean entrance can go a long way in bettering your driveway and curb appeal. If your front paving or patio requires a repair, it may be best to get in touch with some professionals. For a general driveway cleaning service, head over to our cleaning services page and begin the booking process so that you can look forward to a spotless driveway. If you’re interested in learning more ways to boost your home’s curb appeal, you may want to read 6 ways to boost your home’s curb appeal or exterior house colour ideas for the front doors, roofing, siding and more.