When going through your maintenance list for the outside of your home, mowing in the lawn, trimming bushes, etc., you may want to think about cleaning your concrete driveways and sidewalks. It’s not something that people tend to think about, but cleaning your concrete periodically can extend its life. Not only that, it can enhance the way your driveway looks which will affect the overall appearance of your home. Since not many people take the time to clean their sidewalks and driveways, you may not be sure how to. Here we’ll give you some cleaning tips so that you can have the nicest home on the block.
No matter what kind of driveway or sidewalk you have, the first step will be to clear the debris away. You can choose to do this by sweeping, using a leaf blower or rinsing the surface with water.
A great tool for cleaning your concrete is a power washer. All the pressure of a power washer can get rid of the toughest spots. However, if you don’t have a power washer-and really, how many people do?- you can clean it the old fashion way. This involves getting a metallic brush and soap and giving the surface a good scrub.
After cleaning their may still be spots left uncleaned. It’s common to have stains on concrete that can’t be cleaned up with a good scrubbing. Below are the most common types of stains and tips for treating each one,
Oil and Grease Stains
You’ll want to use a combination of hot water and alkaline degreaser on oil and grease spots. The hot water will lift the oil and the degreaser will take it away and allow it to be flushed. You can try other degreasers, but alkaline cleansers are preferred.
Rust can go deep in concrete and a pain to remove. However, if you clean the area with cleaners containing oxalic acid, you should have no problem ridding your driveway or sidewalk of rust.
Graffiti is difficult to remove. There are chemical strippers that you can use. The safest way to go is with a citrus-based solvent. However, this may not work on certain types of paint. So, if this doesn’t work you’ll want to get a product with potassium hydroxide and let it soak into the concrete for a few hours. After you’ve let it sit you’ll want to power wash it and use an acid neutralizer. Concrete driveways and sidewalks don’t have to be cleaned constantly. Once a year should be enough. However, feel free to clean it more or less often depending on the amount of traffic you have on it and the weather conditions it’s exposed to.