The Path to a Pristine Driveway: Your Comprehensive Guide to Effective Driveway Cleaners
While the inside of our homes gets most of our undivided attention regarding the décor and upgrades, the outdoors is equally important if we consider its role in the curb appeal. Taking it up as our mission to boost the outdoor décor as much as the indoor can have a positive outcome, especially with the homes’ value.
And contrary to the belief you may have that this means you’d have to invest in lots of furniture elements or landscaping, the truth is sometimes the solution can be far cheaper and simpler, like a little bit of cleaning. You may have the most gorgeous plants, a shiny new letterbox, or even brand new doors and windows, but none of it will provide the impact you’re aiming for if your concrete driveway has seen better days.
But that is certainly possible with the right tried and tested driveway cleaner that can bring the sparkle back. With so many options of products available, however, it’s necessary to know a bit of information about them, and what it is you’re looking for to count on the best outcome if you don’t want to rely on homemade concoctions.
Types of Concrete Cleaners
Although concrete is a material that’s long been the choice for outdoor areas and surfaces because of its ease of application, versatility, lower carbon footprint and strength, it’s important to remember it’s still porous. This means dirt, grime, oils and even mould and mildew can create all sorts of problems. As such, driveway cleaners target these issues and are available in both powder and liquid form, it’s the latter that’s more common and, based on the ingredients used for it, can be found as:
In case you want to buy something that’s long been known for its positive effects in eliminating dirt and stains, then choose one of the acidic cleaners. But, do keep in mind if it’s the standard hydrochloric acid or phosphoric, it can be harsh for the surface, plant life, and even you, so it would require a layer of alkaline after use before you can wash it away. If you’re looking for something that’s not corrosive, there’s also the glycolic acid alternative.
When you’re dealing with greasy stains, look no further than an alkaline driveway cleaner that can break down these contaminants with the high pH level compound. Because of this, it’s also known as a degreaser. With a little bit of diluting before the application, you’d be able to emulsify the grease in the stains and remove it easily. Another way you can use this type of cleaner is after the acidic one, as mentioned, to neutralise the area and prevent damage from the acid.
This is the mild option that’s best suited for indoor concrete surfaces that don’t undergo a lot of staining and don’t require too much cleaning. Since it isn’t harsh, it’s also fit for areas where you have pets or vegetation. In case you don’t have stubborn stains outdoors either, you might as well give it a try.
This one is yet another mild choice that’s also non-corrosive and safe because it’s based on enzymes or bacteria, perfect for breaking down stains. The ingredients used to make enzymatic cleaners are biodegradable, making them safer for the environment and for people who use them.
They’re also more effective for organic stains like food or bodily fluids because the enzymes attack and break down these types of stains. They may also be used as an alternative to chemical-based cleaners, such as those containing chlorine bleach. However, they can be more expensive than traditional cleaners and may take a bit longer to work.
Another type you should be aware of is the concrete cleaner fit for sealed and that fit for unsealed concrete surfaces. There are differences between the two, as an unsealed floor is prone to more damage, which is why the sealer is also not as harsh. If you don’t know whether you have a sealed or unsealed surface, pour some water and check to see if it’s soaked. If it is, then it’s unsealed.
Tips for Cleaning the Concrete Driveway
In addition to taking the time to do some research to find the adequate driveway cleaner for your needs, it’s equally important to know what you’re supposed to do and get the area spotless. First of all, start by carefully reading the instructions on the product to have an idea of what’s to come and how much time you have to let the product work.
Get the needed protective clothes or accessories, like gloves, a mask, and glasses, especially important if you’re handling harsh acid cleaners. Prior to the application, and the knowledge of whether or not the concrete cleaners should be diluted, it’s helpful to do some sweeping to remove dirt and leaves, so the cleaner can do its job more effectively.
Next up, prepare the product. To count on a more effective outcome, and less of a hassle, keep up with a pattern when spraying the solution. Going from top to bottom on the driveway, or vice versa will be of help with covering the whole area. Once that is done, and the time is up, you should consider using a portable pressure washer unless you want to be doing some scrubbing manually.
To prevent damage to the surface, be sure to set the washer on a gentle setting, and slowly work your way from top to bottom or the other way around, until you’ve covered the entire area.