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Clean Patios and Driveways: Garden Tips

March 5, 2024

Clean Patios and Driveways: Garden Tips

Why Keep Patios and Driveways Clean?

Keeping your patio and driveway clean provides a number of benefits:

  • Aesthetics: A clean patio and driveway simply look nicer and more welcoming. Dirt, grime, and debris can make outdoor areas appear drab and unkempt. Proper cleaning enhances the aesthetic appeal.

  • Safety: Built up dirt and moss can create a slipping hazard, especially when wet. Cleaning helps provide secure footing and minimizes the risk of slips or falls. This is particularly important on steps or inclined driveways.

  • Preserve surfaces: Over time, dirt, mold, mildew and other build up can degrade cement, brick and stone surfaces, shortening their lifespan. Regular cleaning protects surfaces and keeps them looking their best for longer.

  • First impressions: For homeowners or businesses, dirty outdoor areas give visitors a poor first impression. Cleaning enhances curb appeal.

  • Reduce staining: Oil leaks from cars, rust stains from garden furniture and more can lead to stubborn staining if left unaddressed. Regular cleaning makes these easier to remove.

Cleaning vs. Power Washing

Cleaning involves scrubbing surfaces with soap and water using brushes, mops or other tools. This removes light to moderate dirt build up.

Power washing uses an amplified stream of water at high pressure. This is more effective for removing heavy dirt, grease, mold, mildew, moss and other stubborn deposits. However, it requires specific equipment and risks damaging surfaces if not done properly.

Many patios and driveways benefit from a combination of manual scrubbing and targeted power washing for heavily soiled areas. Always spot test power washers in an inconspicuous area first.

Tips for Cleaning Concrete Patios and Driveways

Remove debris

Use a broom, leaf blower or similar tool to remove leaves, grass clippings and other loose debris before washing.

Apply degreaser for oil stains

For oil spots or stains, apply a concrete degreaser and let it soak in for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing and hosing off.

Scrubbing

Use a stiff bristle push broom or scrub brush and bucket of warm soapy water. Scrub surfaces to lift dirt from pores.

Rinsing

Rinse thoroughly with a garden hose. Avoid flooding standing water which can stain over time.

Moss and mildew

Use bleach or lime-based solution to kill and remove moss or mildew growth prior to power washing.

Spot power washing

For extremely dirty spots like driveway seams, selectively power wash but test on a small area first.

Wet/dry vacuuming

Use a wet/dry vac to remove standing water and suck up remaining dirt.

final rinse and sweep

Do a final rinse and use a broom to sweep away any last bits of debris.

Seasonal and Regular Cleaning Schedules

Seasonal deep clean – Do an intensive scrub and wash at the start and end of each summer. Power wash heavily stained areas as needed.

Monthly light cleaning – Do a basic sweeping and hose down monthly to prevent major buildup.

Spot scrubbing – Scrub visible stains or spills as they appear to prevent setting in.

Sealants – Reapply concrete and paver sealants as directed to protect surfaces.

Degrease – Degrease oil-prone driveway areas before washing every few months.

Moss – Remove moss in damp areas as needed to prevent slippery buildup.

Winter safety – Sweep away snow but avoid de-icing salts which can damage concrete. Apply sand only if essential for traction.

Driveway vs. Patio Cleaning Tips

Driveways

  • Pretreat oil stains before washing
  • Target scrub high traffic areas
  • Avoid excessive wetness to limit vehicle slippage
  • Degrease every few months
  • Remove vehicle fluids immediately to limit staining

Patios

  • Check between brick/stone crevices for debris & weeds
  • Use stiff brush for textured surfaces
  • Scrub corners and edges extra well
  • Let soak to loosen heavy staining
  • Sweep debris from lawn and gardens regularly

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions

To help the environment when cleaning outdoor areas, consider using:

  • Baking soda – Non-toxic abrasive cleaner
  • White vinegar – Acidic to dissolve stains; cuts grease
  • Borax – Disinfectant properties to kill moss
  • Lemon juice – Light bleaching agent; cuts through grease
  • Hot water – Aids other ingredients; minimizes chemicals
  • Coarse salt – Natural abrasive scrubber
  • Vegetable oil soap – Plant-based surfactant / cleaning agent

Avoid harmful runoff from chemical cleaners entering storm drains. Dispose of used solutions properly.

When to Call a Professional

Consider hiring a cleaning service for:

  • First time deep clean of severely neglected/stained surfaces
  • Power washing parkhomg lots, community driveways or large areas
  • Patios with extensive moss requiring removal
  • Driveway oil stain removal requiring chemical treatment
  • Hosing roof gutter debris which may damage landscaping below

Professionals have specialized tools, high pressure washers and products which provide superior results. Support local businesses while saving yourself major time and effort.

Through regular light cleaning and seasonal deep scrubs, you can keep your patios and driveways looking clean and well maintained for years to come. Putting in the minor effort routinely prevents having to deal with heavy built up stains down the road. Just be sure to use proper techniques and eco-friendly cleaners to avoid damaging surfaces. Let the professionals tackle any especially daunting cleaning tasks.

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