The topic of best chemical for cleaning my driveway is one which is brought up many times.
If you have spent a lot of time mowing, edging your lawn and planting beautiful flowerbeds it would be a shame to have an unsightly driveway let you down.
Types of Cleaners
There are basically two types of cleaners to choose from, one is for cleaning oil based stains- for example oil spill from a car engine onto the driveway and the other is for cleaning organic type growth – for example algae, lichen and moss which grows on your driveway over a period of time.
Oil Spill On My Driveway
Nearly always I need some type of chemical cleaner to clean my driveway because something has happened to it rather than just cleaning mud and dirt of it.
A driveway which is simply dirty through a build up of dirt , mud and rotting leaves can be cleaned by using a pressure washer without any detergent.
A problem arises when someones car leaks oil (a common complaint) onto the driveway or if paint or another non soluble liquid is knocked over or spilled. Now it is advisable to use some form of detergent to help clean up the unsightly mess as it will be nearly impossible to remove an oil based stain with water alone.
Soak up the excess
The most important thing to do when you find a oil based spill on your driveway is to clean up the excess first with an old cloth or rag. This will reduce the amount of detergent needed to remove the remainder of the stain.
Cleaning oil based stains on Asphalt driveway
Chemical degreasers can damage asphalt, so it is advisable to not use them when cleaning oil based spills. The best thing to do is to get a bucket of hot water and laundry detergent or dishwashing liquid and scrub the area until the stain has gone from the surface. I found this scrubber attachment for the drill very helpful and saves a lot of work. Due to oil being black and the asphalt is black it is less noticeable and if you get the surface of the stones clean then anything underneath should be less visible. After scrubbing rinse the soap away with a hose or another bucket of hot water.
Cleaning oil based stains on a concrete driveway
Although black oil on white concrete is very noticeable – the beauty about concrete is that is is less porous and you can use much stronger cleaning chemical without damaging the surface compared to asphalt.
Again the first thing i would do is dry up the excess spill with a rag and then as soon as possible after the spill i would get to work cleaning it up- the longer you leave a stain the harder it will be to remove.
A good cleaner for oil based stains is Terminator HSD which has had many successful cleanups for a lot of people- see image below
This is a non hazardous calcified seaweed based cleaner which works by having micro bacteria digest the oil and gas – Amazing!
Cleaning organic material from your driveway
When the mess on your driveway is not oil based but organic – such as moss, algae or lichen which is actually growing on your driveway, you will require a different cleaning strategy.
This cleaner called Wet and Forget is a simple spray on product which you apply to the affected area and then walk away!
The product states that you do not have to scrub or even rinse off, it simply works over time and the wind and rain cleans the debris away.
It sounds too good to be true, but a lot of people have reported very good results with this. I noticed some people did rinse it off with a hose and if i was using it i think you would get the best results by brushing the loose growth away from the driveway first with a stiff brush and garden hose initially. Then i would apply the cleaner and after a day or two I would either power wash off or brush and hose away.
Then i would determine if it needed to be treated again by seeing how clean the driveway was.
The active ingredient in this cleaner is Benzalkonium chloride which is an organic salt and is mostly seen around the home as used in antibacterial wipes – although this product is much stronger. I have included this article for further reading.
This product can also be used on paved areas, such as patios or around a chiminea
I hope my article has helped you – please leave a comment to let me know how these products have performed- thank you.