Cleaning Your Driveway

by April Reinhardt
(last updated July 22, 2013)

Do you have chalk drawings of many colors on your driveway, indicative that you have young children in your home? Perhaps you've a heap of mulch in a corner of your driveway, waiting for you to transport wheelbarrows full of the stuff to deposit around your flower beds and trees, and the mulch has stained your driveway brown. Or maybe your teenager decided to change the oil of his car, and now there's a large oil stain on your driveway. If you use your driveway for purposes other than a place to park your car, then you probably need to clean it. Here are some handy tips designed to help you find a solution for cleaning your driveway:

  1. Before you attempt to clean the stains, remove all obvious debris, dirt, leaves, and twigs, Use a standard straw broom or a push broom to completely sweep and dust the entire surface.
  2. Use your garden hose to wet the driveway thoroughly, using the hardest spray setting with your garden hose nozzle to wash away dirt and grime.
  3. Allow the driveway to dry completely before determining where the stains are.
  4. Pour cola onto the stains, allowing it to set overnight. If your driveway is sloped, mix a paste of cola and baking soda and apply the solution to the stains, allowing it to set overnight.
  5. Mix a bucket full of soapy, hot water, using the greater portion of soap, and apply that solution to the cola-and-baking soda solution, scouring it with a stiff brush.
  6. Rinse the spots with your garden hose.
  7. If you have stubborn stains, use a paste of common household cleaners, such as Soft Scrub or Comet, or automatic dishwashing detergent, mixing into a paste and agitating it into the stains with a stiff brush. Never combine household cleaners. Try one, then rinse. If one doesn't work, try another.
  8. If stains persist, go to your local home improvement store and buy a specially formulated product for cleaning driveways and follow the manufacturer's directions.
  9. For severe oil stains, use trisodium phosphate—commonly called TSP—allowing it to stand on the wet surface for at least thirty minutes. Using a stiff broom, scrub the TSP into the stain and rinse thoroughly.
  10. As a last resort for stains that simply won't budge, use muriatic acid and a pressure washer. If you must use muriatic acid, consult with a professional about how to properly use the chemical, and always wear safety gear and keep it aware from animals and children.

When using dangerous chemicals such as TSP or muriatic acid, always use protective gear such as goggles, heavy duty rubber gloves, and protective clothing. Since TSP and muriatic acid are such dangerous products, use them only as a last resort, and never wash them down a storm drain. After using chemicals to clean your driveway, always use a generous amount of baking soda to neutralize the chemical action.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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