How to clean a driveway
An oil-stained driveway can lessen your home value. Learn how to clean it.
Just what you wanted: Something else to clean. The fact is that the condition of your driveway can have a huge bearing on the overall appearance and curb appeal of your house and impact the value of your property if your house is on the market. It is important to know how to clean a driveway as part of your total property maintenance regimen.
If you have a concrete driveway that is stained with oil, dump a handful of clay kitty litter on the stain. Kitty litter will absorb oil. Give the litter time to soak up the oil and then sweep it up and dispose of. Then, apply powdered laundry detergent to the area and use a brush to scrub the area. Do not use water. After scrubbing, remove the detergent. The next step requires making a paste out of the powdered laundry detergent combined with water. Scrub the paste onto the stain. Let it dry and then scrape off the paste. This an excellent process for how to clean a driveway: you should see a very clear improvement in the appearance of your driveway.
Old oil stains are going to be more challenging to remove than new oil stains. There is a product on the market that helps remove old oil stains from your driveway: Gunk is a degreaser and powder concrete cleaner that is specifically designed for cleaning driveways.
Some people who know how to clean a driveway swear by Pepsi. Pour some of the beverage onto the stain and scrub away. Another technique is to squirt Dawn dishwashing liquid on the oil spills. Let it set for one hour and then rinse off. Follow this by pouring Murphys Oil Soap on the stains, wait two hours and then rinse.
Another alternative on cleaning your driveway is to dump some peat moss onto the oil stains. Spread the peat moss over the stain and pat it down. Leave the peat moss in place for a while and then remove it. Rumor has it that the oil stain will be gone.
Another approach offered by the Michigan State University Extension Service is to apply a solution of 2 ounces of washing soda or one-half ounce of trisodium phosphate (sold as TSP) mixed in a gallon of water. Apply this to the stain and see if it works.
Tire marks can also mess up the appearance of your driveway. Consider using a product called Brake Cleaner, which can be sprayed on the rubber streaks and provide a great solution for how to clean a driveway.
Rust stains sometimes occur on driveways. Use oxalic acid to remove rust stains. ZUD contains oxalic acid. If your concrete is colored, do a pre-treatment test in an inconspicuous spot to see if the acid changes the color of your concrete. Oxalic acid is frequently sold as a powder in wood bleach. Dissolve the powder in warm water and then brush it onto the rust stains on your driveway. This stuff is mildly toxic so wear goggles and rubber gloves when applying it to your driveway and rinse it off your body immediately if you get it on you.
Dirt and mildew stains can be attacked by using a power washer and spraying a solution of bleach and water that is applied to the stains. Before using a pressure washer, first remove the loose debris and dirt from your driveway. Spray the driveway, using the pressure washer, using even strokes. Do not use any cleaning solutions in your pressure washer that have not been approved for pressure washer use.
The water from the pressure washer is directed onto your driveway in a high narrow stream, which removes dirt relatively easily. After you have learned how to clean a driveway and gotten rid of unsightly stains, discoloration and embedded dirt, you may want to have your driveway sealed to prevent future damage to the driveway surface.