We rarely stop to think about the ground beneath our feet, but it really does have a big impact on how an area looks and feels. Driveways and sidewalks are especially important for homeowners because they can have a gigantic impact on the curb appeal of a home. It is worth taking the time to clean them every so often, and doing so is relatively simple.
Clean Rot with Dish Detergent
Decaying leaves and other organic matter can leave ugly brown stains on concrete. Those stains come from the tannin in the leaves. They will fade away on their own if you wait for a while, but it is also possible to remove them and get rid of the unsightly markings ahead of schedule.
Start by sweeping and rinsing the whole area to get rid of dirt. Apply a mixture of laundry detergent and warm water to the stains. Roughly one half of a cup of detergent mixed with three gallons of water will usually work. Scrub the mix into the concrete, then rinse it off and pour some powdered detergent over it. Scrub it in, let is sit for a couple of minutes, then rinse it off. You may need to do this several times to completely eliminate the stain, but there should be some immediate improvement.
Motor oil and other fluids are common due to automotive leaks. It is best to clean them as soon as possible, ideally while they are still wet. Throw some sawdust, kitty litter, or another absorbent substance on top to soak up the worst of it. Sweep up the mess and apply a cleaner, with the type depending on the material you are cleaning. If you are cleaning asphalt, apply a biodegradable oven cleaner and let it sit for about half an hour before you rinse it off. Concrete is more challenging because it is porous enough to let oil get into the material. You can make a paste of TSP and corn starch, work it into the concrete, and let it sit before scraping it away and rinsing, but that is tricky enough that you may want to get professional help.
Pressure washing is the best way to deal with dirt and other debris. You simply buy or rent a pressure washer and use blasts of water to clear the area. Each one is a little different, so be sure to follow its instructions to make sure you use it safely and effectively.
Get Professional Help
All of these methods are effective, but they also take a lot of effort and can be tricky to use. The best way to deal with a stubborn stain is to get one of the professional driveway and sidewalk cleaning services to help. They have tools and techniques that aren’t available to the average homeowner, and they know how to both clean and prevent future problems. That makes them your best bet for the big or stubborn stains.