How to Pressure Clean Your Driveway: Methods and Tips

How to pressure clean your driveway

Pressure cleaning is great for removing tough dirt in an instant. Without pressure washing, you’d have to resort to scrubbing off dirt manually, a tedious task. When it comes to pressure cleaning your driveway, you can decide whether you’ll opt for pressure cleaning or scrubbing, but pressure cleaning is much easier. Whether you’re looking to clean your residential driveway, or a paved industrial driveway, the methods will be similar. Here how you can pressure clean your driveway before winter comes around again.

Why Do Driveways Get So Dirty?

Driveways can buildup dirt quite quickly. The pace at which your driveway accumulates dirt will depend on a lot of things. One of the most notable causes of dirt on driveways is oil and grease stains from cars. If you have any cars leaking oil onto your driveway there’s no doubt it will dirty quickly.

Other things that can influence how fast your driveway gathers dirt is traffic, as well as the location. A driveway with more cars that come and go will look filthy in no time. The less paved area you have surrounding your driveway, the faster it will appear grimy. This is because mud and dust can also contribute to soiling your driveway.

To keep your driveway clean for longer after pressure washing it, try to prevent oil stains from cars. Also try to sweep your driveway regularly with an industrial grade broom to avoid buildup from dust and other debris.

Unfortunately, you can’t prevent or control all driveway stains. A lot of cars leak water from the air-conditioner. The water leaked from car aircons can mix with dust on the driveway surface, causing visible stains. At residential properties, you can service your car regularly to minimize water leaking from your aircon, but this isn’t something that can be controlled on a commercial property.

Car tires can also deposit all manner of dirt on the driveway. From old pieces or gum to mud and sludge, tires pick up a lot of dirt while driving around town and a lot of it can end up on your driveway.

Different Ways to Pressure Clean Your Driveway

There are different ways you can go about pressure cleaning your driveway. Your main options are as follows:

  • Hire a pressure washing machine and do it yourself
  • Book a professional cleaning from a pressure washing service in your area

Hiring a power cleaning machine and doing the work yourself is often cheaper, but it’s not always an option. Power cleaning can be dangerous work. Unless you have experience handling dangerous tools and equipment, you shouldn’t consider pressure cleaning your own driveway.

If you do have experience working with dangerous equipment, you’ll be more prepared to pressure wash your driveway yourself. However, a qualified professional service will most probably offer better results.

While pressure washing your own driveway can seem cheaper, it might work out more expensive if you hire the wrong equipment.

How to Pressure Clean Your Driveway Yourself

There are a lot of things you’ll need to prepare before you can pressure clean your driveway. Make sure you’ve bought all the necessary items you need before you start pressure cleaning.

Choosing Your Equipment

Before going out to hire cleaning equipment, first decide whether you’d like to power wash or pressure clean.

The benefit of power washing is that the hot water usually kills any weeds you have growing on your driveway. The disadvantage of power washing is that it’s much more dangerous. Not only do you have the risk of injuring yourself with a high-intensity water beam, you also run the risk of burning yourself. Because of this, you shouldn’t attempt to power clean your driveway if you’ve never operated pressure washing equipment. Opt for pressure washing instead.

Apart from choosing between power cleaning or pressure washing, you’ll also need to pick a machine that’s right for the job. Different pressure washers have varying beam intensities. For a concrete driveway, you’ll typically need a heavy-duty machine. If this is your first time pressure washing anything, rather stay on the safe side and opt for a medium to light duty machine.

Lastly, you should make sure that you hire a machine with all the necessary attachments. Be sure to mention that you want to pressure clean your driveway, so that the assistants from the equipment hire shop can help you with the correct pressure washer nozzles.

Pressure Washing Your Driveway: Step-by-Step

Before you can start pressure washing, you need to make sure you have everything you need. You’ll need your pressure washing equipment. Carefully read the instruction manual on how to pressure set up your pressure cleaner before starting.

Make sure you have everything you need on hand, such as a connection to a hose pipe and pressure washer detergent before you start.

Cover Nearby Walls and Plants with Protective Plastic

You’ll need t buy some protective plastic covers to protect nearby walls, plants and objects from damage. Doing so prevents accidental damage to paint and surfaces while pressure washing. Remember, the high-intensity beams from pressure washing machines can literally chip pieces of paint off, or damage plants.

Sweep Your Driveway

Once your equipment is set up, use an industrial broom to sweep your driveway. Get rid on all the dust and debris. Sweeping before pressure washing will make the task of pressure washing so much easier and avoid a muddy mess.

Pretreat Grease Stains

Use a spray degreaser to treat stains. You can spray the degreaser the whole surface of your driveway, but focus on grease stains. After applying degreaser to stains, you can scrub in into stains using a wire brush.

Applying Pressure Washer Detergent

Before you can start pressure cleaning, make sure you’re wearing industrial strength protective gloves. Pressure washing detergent can be quite strong, so you’ll need to protect your skin.

Next, use the relevant pressure washer nozzle to dispense the detergent from the cleaner onto the surface of your driveway in strokes. For the best results, apply overlapping strokes.

Once you’re done, you can allow the detergent to work for a while before proceeding. Try to let it stay on for 5-10 minutes.

Pressure Clean with Water

Change your pressure washing nozzle and apply one meant for spraying water. Thoroughly pressure clean the entire surface of your driveway. You can hold the tip of the pressure washer approximately 8 inches from the concrete surface for general cleaning. For stains, you can move in a bit closer, to about 4 inches.

It’s fine to overlap between strokes while pressure washing your driveway with water. You can also go over stained areas multiple times to lighten them.

Sealing Your Driveway

Sealing your driveway can help keep it looking clean and fresh for much longer. Be sure to use a sealant after washing. Most hardware stores will stock a product you can use. Simply take your sealant and use a paint roller to apply it over your driveway surface. Doing so will prevent car grease and spills from readily soaking in.

Cleaning Paint Stains on Driveways

Paint on driveways is a common problem, but it can make your driveway unsightly. It’s best to prevent paint stains on your driveway by using protective covers on your driveway when you’re painting close by. Getting paint off a driveway can be time-consuming, it’s a nuisance that’s better to prevent to begin with.

Of course, if you already have paint stains on your driveway, you’ll still want to know how to remove them. Pressure washing can be effective at removing some driveway stains. If pressure washing doesn’t work, power cleaning might be more effective. The main difference is that power cleaning uses both heat and pressure, whereas pressure washing is done with unheated water.

Pressure washing can be especially effective at removing paint stains on your driveway if they are relatively new. Generally, it takes about two weeks for paint stains to cure properly. This means you have a time window where cleaning the stain from your driveway can be considerably easier.

However, there are times with pressure washing won’t remove paint stains on your driveway. In cases where pressure washing is ineffective at removing paint stains, consider using a chemical paint stripper. Knowing what kind of paint stain caused the stain on your driveway could help you choose the best chemical paint stripper for your needs. Latex, oil and water-based paints will respond to different chemical strippers.

Hiring Professional Pressure Washing Services

While you can pressure your driveway yourself, it’s not an easy task. After buying or hiring all the equipment you need, you’ll likely find you’re saving very little money while putting in a lot of extra effort.

The best and easiest way to pressure clean your driveway remains hiring a professional pressure washing service. Professionals have years of experience. They’re equipped with all the necessary tools and skill to help your driveway look like new after cleaning it.

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