You may not notice it every day, but driveways tend to get covered with grime, dirt, and tough stains over time. The fact that concrete is porous makes it easy for it to absorb different materials that may stint it and become very difficult to remove. That is why there may come a time when you cannot postpone the chore anymore and must engage in some severe driveway cleaning. However, before you get started, you may wonder what the best method is to remove those unsightly stains and discolorations and leave your driveway looking as even-colored and clean as possible.
If all you see on your driveway are common stains from ground-in dirt, cleaning the concrete should be a once-a-year chore that can be easily accomplished with a pressure washer. On the other hand, if your driveway is covered with oil stains, spilled paint, antifreeze, or mildew, you may have to try several techniques to get everything out.
Start By Sweeping
There is no way around it. You must start the process by grabbing a broom and sweeping away all loose debris and dirt. Make a mental note of the spots where you can see stains and what those stains may be made of.
Do a Thorough Pressure Washing
You can either rent a pressure washer or have a professional pressure washing company come by and go over the entire surface. If you are doing it yourself, you may have to hook it up to your garden hose and start shooting water all over the driveway. Remember that the water will come out at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, and make sure that young kids and pets are not around.
Before starting, remove your cars, toys, and other loose objects. Using the high-pressure nozzle, work down the driveway, one section at a time. Move the trigger gun back and forth, and you will start to notice which areas are clean and which ones need further treatment. Continue until you have cleaned the entire driveway.
Dealing With Stubborn Stains
You may notice that you are still left with some stubborn stains that refuse to go despite your best efforts at power washing. In this case, you can use several household products to help you achieve the results you want.
If your driveway is stained with oil, gas, or antifreeze, get baking soda, bleach, sawdust, cornstarch, hydrogen peroxide, Coke, or cat litter. Here is how you may use these products.
Cat litter is great at absorbing the moisture seeped down into the concrete. If the stains are still damp, cover them with litter and let them stand for at least an hour. Wet it with water and begin scrubbing the stain using a stiff brush. Rinse and let air dry.
Baking soda is excellent at stain removal. Cover the stain with a thick coating of baking soda and let it sit for an hour. Use more baking soda to form a paste with some water, and use a scrub brush to rub the paste over the area. Rinse with plenty of water.
Coke or any other dark soda has acid that helps break down stains. The carbonation helps with lifting the debris to the surface. Pour several cans of Coke over the stain and let it sit overnight. The following day, use a stiff scrub brush to go over the stain and rinse.
Use a large bucket to mix equal parts of bleach and water. Let this solution sit on the stain for 20 minutes. Scrub with a stiff brush, and then use a power washer to rinse the area.
Put some sawdust in a large bucket and slowly add acetone or thinner, mixing until you get a thick paste. Smear the paste over the stain and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the mixture sit overnight, then wash with great quantities of water.
Enzyme or oxidation cleaners are strong chemicals that will eat through tough stains. Wear protective equipment when handling these chemicals, which can be purchased at any hardware store. Follow instructions on applying the solution to the stain and allow it to work. You may have to apply it twice if the stain is too stubborn to come out the first time around.
Hire a Professional
If you have tried every product or your driveway’s stains are too old and hard to remove, you may have to call in the professionals. They are trained on using harsher chemicals such as muriatic acid that will break down even the most challenging stains to remove. You don’t have to settle for a grungy-looking driveway when you can revive it and have it looking like new.