How To Clean Your Concrete Driveway [Step by Step]

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes.

A dark oil stain or paint spill can completely ruin the look of your concrete driveway.

And if you don’t apply the proper techniques to cleaning, those pesky blemishes can become a serious source of frustration.

This guide will cover all you need to know about cleaning spills, stains, dirt, and debris from a concrete driveway.

In this guide to concrete driveway cleaning, we’ll explain:

  • Why you should clean your driveway
  • Prepping to clean, methods, and the tools you’ll need
  • How to clean your concrete driveway step by step, including:
    • Cleaning oil spills
    • Removing tyre marks
    • Clearing natural debris
    • Getting paint stains off

Let’s get started.

Why You Should Keep Your Concrete Driveway Clean

Cleaning your concrete driveway is the best way to ensure not only that it stays looking good, but that it doesn’t need replacing or repairing for longer. 

Like anything, the longer you leave it, the harder it gets. That’s why you should clean it regularly, using the correct techniques.

The benefits of having a clean concrete driveway

Your driveway is the entrance to your home, and first impressions matter – especially if you plan on someday selling or renting your home to someone else.

But good aesthetics aren’t the only benefit of keeping concrete driveways clean and fresh.

Here are a few other benefits of a clean concrete driveway:

  • Improved safety for your family and visitors.
  • Reduces the risk of cracks, colour fading, and weak spots.
  • No more moss, mildew, or mold.
  • Eliminate weeds, animal excrement, and other unwanted organic matter.
  • Prevent bad smells that can attract insects and rodents to your home.

But since you’re already here, you might already know a lot of the above. So let’s dive right into prepping for cleaning your driveway (the right way). 

Concrete Driveway Cleaning: What To Know Before You Begin

It’s important to remember that inexperience and mistakes can lead to permanent damage to your concrete.

Cracks, etching, and loosening of tiles can be very costly to fix.

Unless you’re confident in your abilities, consider hiring a professional to do the job for you.

The different concrete cleaning methods

There are several ways to clean a concrete driveway. Which method to use depends on what you’re trying to clean.

Specifically, the type of spill or mess affects the type of concrete cleaner you’ll be applying.

What to use based on what you’re removing:

  • For paint, sealer, or epoxy spills, you’ll want to apply paint stripper or coatings remover.
  • For oil, grease, and grime, a concrete degreaser is the best option.
  • For general cleaning, a simple concrete driveway cleaner can be acquired from most hardware stores. You can also try a homemade remedy if you’re looking to save a bit of cash.
  • For organic damage such as leaf stains, sap, and fertiliser stains, an organic detergent may be best. Some fertilisers may come out with a 50:50 mix of vinegar and water.
  • For general dirt and debris, plain old water should be enough to do the trick.

What you’ll need to clean your concrete driveway

Keen to handle your concrete cleaning yourself? 

No worries, just make sure you have the items below.

Here are all the items you’ll need to clean your concrete driveway:

  • Concrete cleaning solution or household alternative (see above section).
  • A stiff scrubbing brush and/or broom.
  • For spills, sawdust or cat litter.
  • A power washer (otherwise known as a water blaster – for removing dirt or performing a full driveway clean).
  • A garden hose.
  • Safety glasses.
  • Gloves.
  • Old clothes (it gets messy!).
  • Sun protection if you’re working on a sunny day.
  • A clear driveway (free of cars and valuable items).

When you’ve got everything ready and in place, throw on your cleaning gear. 

It’s time to get to work!

Cleaning Concrete Driveways: Step-By-Step

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to concrete driveway cleaning.

Below you’ll find a solution for each of the most common types of driveway marring, to make sure you get the job done right as suits your specific needs.

Let’s get into it.

How to clean oil off driveway concrete

Oil spills should be cleaned as soon as possible so that they do not spread and cause irreparable driveway damage.

Step 1) Apply sawdust or cat litter to the spill

Cover the entire spill with an absorbent product, such as sawdust, to soak up as much of the oil as possible. 

Allow a few hours for your product to do its job, then scoop up and dispose of it safely.

Step 2) Use concrete cleaner or degreaser

Paste your product over the spill and work it into the pores of your driveway using a firm scrubbing brush. 

Apply another layer or cover with a special poultice and allow it time to set in.

Step 3) Scrub and wash away the excess

Once your cleaning product has set in, wet it with a hose and give it a final scrub to remove any leftover stain and products. 

Finish the job with a final hose-down of your driveway.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 if stains are still visible.

How to remove tyre marks from your driveway

After Driveway

Black tyre marks from sudden braking can be an ugly and stubborn addition to any concrete driveway. Luckily, removing them is very easy.

Step 1) Apply concrete cleaner to the marks

Apply a layer of concrete cleaner or household alternative to the tyre marks and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Then scrub the marks with a stiff brush.

Step 2) Use a power washer to clear off the residue

Next, use a power washer on a low setting to wash away any remaining marks.

If needed, repeat both steps until the marks have completely disappeared.

How to clear your driveway of natural debris

There are two ways to free your driveway of unwanted dirt, rock, and other natural detritus: You can use either a pressure washer or a combination of hose and scrubbing brush.

Method 1) Pressure wash

A pressure washer is the best way to clean driveway concrete when faced with dirt and detritus.

Start at the area where your driveway meets your house or garage, then methodically work your way towards the road.

Be sure to always be spraying away from your house and any cars, so that muddy water does not splash them.

Method 2) Hose and brush

If you don’t have a pressure washer available to you or do not feel comfortable using one, you can also approach the problem manually.

First, use a hard-bristled broom to sweep any loose debris off the driveway. Then grab a garden hose and spray any stubborn patches of dirt that have caked up.

Allow a few minutes for the water to soften the dirt and then scrub it loose with a brush or your broom.

Finally, give the entire driveway another wash with the hose to get it looking sparkling new.

How to clean spilled paint off your driveway

water blasting

To clean spilled paint, follow these steps:

Step 1) Apply sawdust or cat litter to the spill

If the paint has been recently spilled, cover the entire spill with an absorbent product, such as sawdust, to soak it up.

Allow a few hours for your product to do its job, then scoop up and dispose of the material safely.

Step 2) Apply paint stripper or coatings remover

Apply paint stripper to the residual stain and give it a few minutes to eat up the spill.

Warning: Paint stripper is a very corrosive chemical that can burn holes in clothes, skin, and just about anything else. Be extra careful when applying it and do not let any get near your skin or eyes.

Step 3) Scrub and wash away the excess

Once the spill has bubbled up under the pressure of your stripper, it should come off fairly easily. Use a stiff scrubbing brush, broom, or paint scraper to lift the unstuck spill and dispose of it safely.

Give the area a final wash and, if needed, repeat steps 2 and 3.

Good Luck!

Good luck with your concrete cleaning, and remember, if you want the help of a seasoned team of professionals, you can book your clean here.