To you, your driveway may not seem like an all too important of a feature for your home, however, keep in mind it has a far bigger role in the overall safety and curb appeal of your property than meets the eye. A well-maintained concrete driveway is crucial for providing that much-needed parking space without affecting either traction or drainage and safety altogether.
A well-maintained concrete driveway is also an element that increases your property’s value, which is a benefit you can be proud of regardless of whether you plan on selling or not. Moreover, due to the choice of material, it’s also an eco-friendly feature due to requiring less of energy to produce and install it than other paving alternatives. Not to mention, it’s further flexible and can better withstand heavy loads.
Still, keep in mind, despite its long durability, great functionality, and incredible design versatility, over time it’s bound to show some signs of wear, be it from exposure to the elements, or the accumulation of vehicle fluids, stains, dirt, and grime. As such, it’s imperative to make it your main chore to clean it from time to time, to prevent any serious stain or damage from occurring and ruining its beauty.
What Is the Best Way to Clean a Concrete Driveway?
After doing the first step, which is sweeping the surface to remove any loose dirt, dust or debris from plants and leaves you have in the garden, you can resort to adding a specialised chemical cleaner, or a homemade one.
Commercial Chemical Cleaners
As a ready-made solution, there are different types of concrete driveway cleaner products designed for the different types of stains and contaminants you can find at specialised stores. This includes water-based pH-neutral cleaners, as well as acidic, alkaline, and enzymatic ones. With such a variety of options, you ought to make sure you get the right one based on the type of contaminant you’re dealing with.
The water, or pH neutral, is a type that’s a mild yet multipurpose product fit for the interior as much as exterior unsealed concrete surfaces that don’t have any embedded dirt that requires a harsh solution. The acidic is a type that’s harsher and as such is effective with removing stains and dirt (think insoluble metallic salts) that are only removable with acidic solutions. One word of caution is to remember to neutralise (could be with water, alkaline soap, ammonia or baking soda) the surface after using the product.
The alkaline driveway cleaning products, as you might guess, are the opposite of the acidic and are fit for degreasing any oil and grease stains. They can also be used after the acidic ones as the neutralising solution prior to giving the surface a washup with water. The last option is the enzymatic which is made up of organic active enzymes that are chosen for their ability to break down or even digest some of the organic stains and contaminants, as in the case of pet urine. In addition to enzymes, this one can also be made up of bacteria that feed on the oil and grease stains.
While effective even with removing odours, keep in mind the enzymatic/bacteria-based cleaners take a bit longer to work than the others. Whichever of the options you end up buying based on the type of stain you’re dealing with, it’s important to remember to take the necessary steps to ensure the solution works. A little patch test prior to the full application is the step of precaution you need to take to ensure the product won’t damage your driveway in any way.
To further get peace of mind, in addition to sweeping and application of the chosen concrete cleaner, while minding the instructions for mixing, it’s advisable to do a bit of agitation with a brush to get the cleaner working. And then, after it’s done its job at the appropriate timeframe, give the area a nice rinse.
If you’re more of the DIY kind of person, this probably reflects on your cleaning products too. After all, it’s a way to reduce your exposure to chemicals, save up by not having to buy more products and use up what you already have in the kitchen. As a general cleaner, you can resort to the help of ingredients like baking soda and white vinegar.
You have the flexibility to experiment with applying them separately or together on specific types of stains and letting them work for at least half an hour before brushing and rinsing the area. Equal parts of water and vinegar, water and baking soda, or baking soda and vinegar can solve many of your unsightly concrete stains. In some cases, you can boost the formula with some liquid dish detergent.
The pressure a tool like the pressure washer works with is incredible in keeping your driveway, as well as the home’s curb appeal, spotless. It’s the kind of power tool that’s handy to have in the garage as it can be of help with numerous other cleaning applications. Just remember, to get the desired results minus the damage to your precious concrete, you have to adjust the proper setting prior to using the tool. If the stain is too stubborn, you might have to combine the tool solution with a specific cleaner from one of the aforementioned options.