Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources
A "No Pressure" Wash to Clean Your Driveway in 6 Easy Steps
We spend a lot more time cleaning the inside of our house while the outside is given very little attention. Well, as you’ve probably seen for yourself, there comes a time in the process of owning and maintaining a home when outdoor spaces like the driveway need a thorough cleaning, too! Whether it's the weeds growing between the cracks, the fallen leaves causing stains over time, or even oil spills seeping into the concrete, we can all agree that there is a visible need to do some maintenance on the driveway at some point.
Now, if you prefer not to spend money on hiring a professional cleaning service, and don't have a pressure washer, cleaning your driveway can prove to be a bit of a daunting task. Nevertheless, if you enjoy an outdoor cleaning challenge, this guide will show you how to clean your driveway, and boost your curb appeal without the use of a pressure washer!
What You'll Need
Before we begin with the step-by-step process to clean a driveway, let's look at some household things you will need to get the job done:
- Gardening Gloves
- Leaf Blower or Broom
- Nylon Floor Brush - Must be a wide brush with tough bristles and a long handle
- Bucket with Warm Water
- Liquid Dish Soap
- Garden Hose
With the simple combination of items above, you should be able to get rid of most stains on your driveway, if not all entirely. Let’s begin!
Instructions to Clean a Driveway
The entire process will take a couple of hours so you might want to pick a cool day to do this, or start as early in the morning as possible.
Step One: Remove Weeds
The first phase of the clean-up is getting rid of the weeds if you happen to have any poking around, or through the concrete. The best thing to do here is to put your gardening gloves on, and literally just pull them out.
If you're careful enough to hold them as close to the bottom as possible, you could uproot the weeds entirely, and reduce the likelihood of them coming back. You may not succeed in doing this with all of them, but it's worth a try to make cleaning up a little easier next time around. To make sure your weeds don’t return, use a long lasting weed killer.
Step Two: Clean Off Debris
Next, you will have to get rid of any dirt and debris before the actual washing. If you happen to own a leaf blower, it makes quick work of this part of the process. Simply push everything off the driveway with the blower, and proceed with the washing. If you don’t have a leaf blower, or access to one, don't fret because you can get the same result with sweeping the driveway clean with a broom. Work in the direction of the wind to make the job easier.
Step Three: Make the Cleaning Solution
Once the surface dirt and debris have been removed from the driveway, it's time to make the cleaning solution out of warm water and dishwashing liquid. Using a regular dish soap is arguably the best option here because it is capable of getting rid of oil, as well as any organic matter. Even stains in the concrete caused by rotting leaves can be removed rather easily with a good dish soap and some scrubbing.
With that in mind, make a soapy solution with warm water and dish soap in a bucket, ensuring it isn't too diluted and can work up a good lather. You might have to adjust the strength of the cleaning solution as you go further.
Step Four: Scrub the Driveway
At this point, you need to take the nylon brush, dip it in the bucket of soapy water, and begin scrubbing the driveway. It's a good idea to begin at one end, and bit by bit, work away at the entire driveway until you reach the other end. Depending on how long your driveway is, you may require a second bucket of cleaning solution to scrub the entire path. Use your garden hose to rinse off the brush before re-dipping it into the soapy solution.
It's important to bear in mind that this is a fairly physical task which requires quite a bit of pressure when scrubbing; therefore, it may be too strenuous for an elderly or injured individual. With that said, for anyone undertaking the task to clean their driveway without a pressure washer, the key here is to not overdo it,and take small breaks whenever possible.
Step Five: Remove Tough Stains
For stubborn stains on your driveway that are not coming out in spite of applying more elbow grease, consider using the following methods which are more specialised for the purpose. These are explained below:
For leaf or sap stains that won't budge with the soapy cleaning solution, try this approach instead. Using a very dilute solution of bleach and water (1 cup per 2 gallons of water), pour it over the concrete, and let it sit on the stain for a few minutes; then scrub with the nylon cleaning brush until the stain vanishes.
If you've got oil spills that seem permanent, consider baking soda. Mix a small amount of the powder with some water until you've achieved a paste-like consistency. Apply the paste over the stain, and let it sit for up to 30 minutes before scrubbing with the brush.
If somehow, you still don't have any luck, or the cleaning agent isn’t working fast enough, it might be time to try a commercial heavy-duty degreaser. Following the instructions on the label should yield the spotless result you are looking for.
Step Six: Rinse Thoroughly
After applying any of the stain removal methods above, you should be left with nothing to scrub away, just the cleaning solution to rinse off. Using your garden hose, thoroughly rinse the driveway clean of all the dirt, debris, and soap residue. Start from the side that is closest to your house, and work your way towards the end of the driveway.
With that, you should now have what you were hoping for at the start of this entire process — a properly cleaned, and spotless driveway! Although this cleaning method may take some more effort, the result is undeniably satisfactory, just as it would be if you were to clean the concrete with a pressure washer. What’s more, as long as this maintenance is done regularly, the effort that goes into it will stay at a minimum.
In that same breath, while cleaning up spills immediately, and sweeping the driveway often will help keep the bigger stains at bay, it’s worth looking into a sealant for your driveway. By sealing the concrete with epoxy, acrylic or a silicate sealant, it will ensure that stains do not penetrate the surface and leave a mark that's hard to get rid of. Beyond this, sealants can improve the longevity of the concrete, keeping your driveway looking as good as new, and further boosting your curb appeal!
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