If your driveway is covered in dirt, weeds, and moss, you may feel inclined to give it a good clean. A thorough pressure wash is the best and most effective way to clean your driveway. Dirt and moss can easily build up on your driveway over time, and so regular cleaning is a good idea.
With this in mind, how often should you pressure wash your driveway ideally? In order to maintain your driveway and keep it looking clean and fresh, you should aim to pressure wash your driveway at least once per year. It is also a good idea to pressure wash your driveway any time that it starts to look particularly dirty or overgrown with moss or weeds. Not only can dirt, moss, and weeds be unsightly, but if left untreated, they can become a potential hazard.
You may also be wondering when the best time to pressure wash your driveway is, as well as some information about why pressure washing is important. This article aims to answer all of your questions when it comes to pressure washing your driveway.
What Exactly is a Pressure Wash?
A pressure washer uses a power source such as electricity to pressurize water and create a very strong stream of water that can tackle dirt and outdoor stains with a lot more power than any manual cleaning methods. A pressure wash machine pressurizes water from a common hose to a designated PSI (pounds per square inch). The incredible pressure provided by a pressure washer is ideal for thoroughly cleaning your driveway to a professional level.
It is a scientific fact that water gets things clean. This Is because the molecules within water have a slight electric polarity. This means that the molecules in water tend to stick to things by themselves.
Despite this, some stains are so stubborn that regular water simply isn’t good enough to clean them off. This is where pressure washing comes in great. The fast traveling water hits the dirt with kinetic energy, and this knocks the dirt away from the surface of whatever it is stuck to.
How Often Do I Need to Pressure Wash My Driveway?
Similar to how you regularly clean and dust the inside of your home to keep it looking great, and in top condition, you should also regularly clean and wash your driveway to keep it in the best condition it can possibly be in. Most professionals will recommend that you have your driveway pressure washed at least once each year.
Although once per year is the recommendation, you should also look out for the obvious physical factors that will indicate that your driveway needs a pressure wash. This can include things like moss and algae build-up, weeds poking through the cracks and edges, and visible stubborn stains on the surface.
If you decided to leave your driveway unwashed for years, the build-up of dirt and grime could lead to cracking, pitting, and other damage to your driveway, and it could even cause some potential hazards to surface. Your driveway would then require repair work, and you may even need a whole new driveway if suitable repairs can’t be made. Having your driveway cleaned once per year could prevent these potential costs from occurring down the line.
How Do I Know When I Need to Pressure Wash My Driveway?
In general, you should aim to power wash and seal your driveway once per year to keep it protected. This will also help to prevent the evolvement of any stubborn dirt, moss, algae, or potential hazards.
There are also several different signs that you can look out for that might indicate your driveway is in need of a power wash.
The following list highlights the main signs you should look out for when determining if your driveway needs a power wash:
It Has Been Over a Year Since the Last Pressure Wash
You should aim to pressure wash your driveway once per year. If it has been over a year since you last pressure washed your driveway, you should think about washing it again. Even if your driveway isn’t showing any of the obvious physical signs that it is in need of a wash, you should still consider washing it if it’s been over a year since the last wash.
A Lot of Stains Are Present
You may want to think about power washing your driveway when you begin to notice there are some stubborn stains present on the surface of the drive. Pressure washing any stains away will not only help to preserve and protect the surface of your driveway, but it will also make it look a lot more appealing and increase the curb appeal of your home overall.
Driveway is Slippery
Perhaps you have noticed that your driveway is becoming quite slippery when you walk or drive on it. This can be as a result of water build-up and surface grease. If your driveway seems to be more slippery than it should be, a pressure wash will help to remove these slippery hazards and prevent any potential accidents from happening.
A Lot of Moss is Present
Have you started to notice a build-up of algae, weeds, or moss on your driveway? This is a good indication that a pressure wash is needed. In order to protect your driveway and keep it looking great, you should wash away any present algae and moss that is present and pull out any weeds that may be growing through. You should then treat the driveway with a weed killer to prevent any new weeds from coming through.
How Long Does It Take to Pressure Wash a Driveway?
The length of time it takes to clean your driveway will depend on how big your driveway is and how much dirt and grime is present on your driveway. As an estimate, a driveway that fits four cars will usually take around two hours to clean with a pressure washer.
If your driveway has a lot of moss and weeds present on it, you can expect the job to take a lot longer as these will need to be removed before you can even begin pressure washing. You will also need to treat the weeded area with a weed killer to ensure that the weeds don’t continue to grow back in the future.
Pro Tip: Before you start, it is important to brush off all the extra debris and loose dirt.
When Is the Best Time for Me to Complete a Pressure Wash on My Driveway?
Although power washing can be done at almost any time, there are some suggestions that certain times may result in a better-washed driveway. There are also some times that may make it safer to wash your driveway. Let’s take a look at the options.
What is the Best Season to Pressure Wash a Driveway?
Pressure washing can be carried out in basically any season. However, the majority of homeowners choose to clean their driveways during the spring and summer months. This is when algae and moss growth is most visible.
Spring and summer months tend to be warmer in most climates, and this makes it easier and faster for the driveway to dry off once it has been cleaned. In much colder climates, it could be hazardous to pressure wash your driveway during winter months as the excess water from cleaning your driveway could freeze, and this could cause slipping hazards.
What is the Best Time of Day to Pressure Wash a Driveway?
You can pressure wash your driveway at any time of day. However, it can sometimes be beneficial to pressure wash in the morning so that the driveway has enough time to dry in the sunshine.
If you are pressure washing your driveway during colder months, you should aim to complete the wash as early as possible so that the surface water has time to dry off as much as possible. This prevents the driveway from freezing overnight and becoming icy and unsafe.
Can I Pressure Wash My Driveway Myself?
It is possible to pressure wash your own driveway. However, you will need to use a high-pressure machine to wash it. For the best and most effective clean for your driveway, you should use a machine that is at least 2500psi and 10 liters per minute of flow. Using a less powerful pressure washer will also do the trick, but it will take a lot longer and require extra work to get your driveway to a professional clean level.
You may want to consider hiring a commercial pressure washer to complete the job well if you don’t already have a high-pressure machine of your own. You should also consider purchasing or renting some safety gear such as boots, eye protection, and gloves to protect yourself from any detergent and loose dirt.
Hiring a professional to carry out your pressure washing driveway clean for you will also help you to avoid any legal complications that may arise by completing the job yourself. This brings us onto our next point.
Is Pressure Washing My Driveway Legal?
Pressure washing is entirely legal, providing you follow EPA regulations. EPA is making it a priority to enforce the rules of the Clean Water Act of 1972.
It is important for the person doing the cleaning – whether that be yourself or a hired professional – to completely understand the steps needed to be taken in order to avoid violating the Clean Water Act.
Property owners can risk falling into fines of $50,000 per day if the water that you are using to complete a pressure wash contains any dangerous chemicals, or if the water is allowed to run off into storm sewers.
If cleaning agents are being used to wash your driveway, you should always avoid using any chemicals that are caustic or any agents that contain bleach. You should instead opt for chemicals that are citric-based as these products are biodegradable and eco-friendly.
If you are hiring a company to carry out a pressure wash for you, ask them about any insurance policies or guarantees that they offer that may cover you in the event of incurring a Clean Water Act fine. This way, you can be relieved of any stress and worries that may come up regarding your driveway pressure wash.
If you are unsure of the legal implications of pressure washing your driveway, speak to your local office and county to see what rules and regulations are in place in your particular area.
What Are the Benefits of Pressure Washing a Driveway?
There are a number of advantages that come with pressure washing your driveway. Below is a list of the main benefits that you should expect from a freshly pressure washed driveway:
- It pulls grime and stains out to improve the appearance of your home – Pressure washing removes all of the stubborn stains so your driveway regains a fresh, clean, and new look. This will improve the overall appearance of your property from the outside.
- It protects the integrity of your driveway – Acidic grime and algae will, over time, end up eroding your driveway. Pressure washing and sealing your driveway regularly can protect your driveway and prevent this from happening. It will also help to prevent cracks and pitting.
- It prevents potential accidents and injuries – Cracked and bumpy driveway surfaces can result in potential falling and trip hazards. Mildew and grime present on your driveway can also lead to slipping hazards. Pressure washing your driveway acts as a good safety precaution and can protect you and your family from injuries.
- Reduces the likelihood of moss, algae and weed growth – Being sure to keep your driveway clean will reduce the likelihood of algae, moss, and weeds from growing and taking over the driveway portion of your property. If these are not taken care of, they can even spread to other areas of the property.
- It can prevent damage to your driveway – If dirt, moss, and weeds are left on your driveway untreated, they can cause damage to your driveway in the form of cracking and pitting. Weeds, in particular, can cause cracks in your driveway if they are left to overgrow and get out of hand.
Is My Driveway Suitable for a Pressure Wash?
If you have a concrete or brick driveway, you can surely pressure wash your driveway. These surfaces are strong and durable and, providing there are no large cracks or loose bricks, it is perfectly safe and possible to pressure wash these types of driveway.
You should not attempt to pressure wash any type of driveway that has loose features. This includes gravel or crushed stone driveways. The pressured water that is released from the washer will cause the stones and gravel to fly around, and this can be incredibly dangerous. Not only can the flying stones and gravel harm you or your family, but they could also cause damage to surrounding elements such as your walls, garage doors, front doors, fencing, or even your vehicles.
When it comes to determining whether or not your particular driveway is suitable for power washing, you should always begin by using your common sense. If your driveway is made up of a strong, solid surface, then it is most likely possible to pressure wash this with no issues. However, if you have a driveway that has certain features or has loose articles, you should not pressure wash your driveway. Think about whether pressure washing is potentially going to cause any damage or hazards before you go ahead with the job.
If you are not entirely certain whether your driveway can be pressure washed, you can always seek advice from a local driveway expert. An expert will be able to inspect your driveway and tell you if your specific driveway is suitable for a pressure wash.
I Don’t Have an Outside Tap – Can I Still Pressure Wash My Driveway?
If you don’t have an outside hose, it is still possible to power wash your home. You can use a bucket or similar container of water to draw water into your pressure washer instead of having to rely on the water source from the tap.
Some models of pressure washer include a suction hose that allows you to suck water from a source such as a bucket or a barrel.
You will need to screw a suction hose on to your pressure washer and then place the end of the suction hose in your bucket of water. Make sure that the end of the suction hose sinks to the bottom of the bucket so that you can get a continuous stream of water. The suction hose should have a filter attached too. This will prevent any stones or dirt from being able to be sucked into the washer.
If your pressure washer doesn’t come with a suction hose, you can purchase a suction hose and filter online, which can be attached to most pressure washers. Be sure to check the user manual for your particular pressure washer to ensure that it is capable of having a suction hose attached to it.
Alternatively, you can rent an appropriate pressure washer that has a suction hose attached so that you can complete a pressure wash on your driveway without the need for an outside tap.
If you hire a professional to carry out your pressure wash for you, they will most likely have all of the relevant tools needed already to carry out a pressure wash without an outside tap. When booking your pressure wash, you should definitely mention to the company that you don’t have an outside tap at your home so that they can make any preparations for the clean as needed before they attend your home to carry out the job.
Can Pressure Washing Damage My Driveway?
You can easily clean concrete, paving stones, and brick driveways with a pressure washer – but is it safe to do so? Can a pressure wash damage these types of driveway?
Using a pressure washer without causing damage to your driveway or even yourself can be difficult and can take some practice, especially if you’re a newbie to pressure washing. Inexperienced pressure washers can easily find themselves using the wrong nozzle and accidentally using higher pressure than intended.
When using high water pressure to clean your concrete, brick, or paving-stoned driveway, it is possible to cause some visible damage. A bad pressure wash job can result in pitting, lines, or surface degradation. You may also damage the joint sand or mortar that is present between the bricks or paving stones.
Damage to your driveway is usually caused by
- choosing the wrong nozzle for the job,
- holding the wand too close to the surface of the driveway,
- using higher pressure than necessary, or by spraying the same area for too long.
The best way to avoid any mistakes is to hire a professional to carry out your driveway clean for you. Driveway experts will know exactly what pressure is needed for each of the different materials of your driveway and will have the right knowledge needed to ensure that your driveway gets the best possible clean without any damage.
What Are Some Alternative Ways to Clean My Driveway?
Although a pressure washer is the best and most effective method for washing your driveway, you may wish to use alternative methods to get your driveway clean.
If you live in an area where pressure washing is not recommended or is against the law, then you may want to clean your driveway with an alternative method. Similarly, if you do not have your own pressure washer or if you can’t access an appropriate pressure washer to clean your driveway, you may want to wash your driveway in a different way.
Below are some alternative ways in which you can clean, wash, and tidy up your driveway without the use of a pressure washer.
Scrub Away Stubborn Stains
It is possible to scrub away stubborn driveway stains using laundry detergent or soaps. All you need to do is simply mix these products together with water and then pour this soapy mixture directly onto the stain. Leave this mixture to soak onto the stain for around ten minutes, and then you can use a scrub brush to scrub up the stain. Once you have scrubbed out all of the stains on your driveway, you can then hose away the soapy mixture, leaving a nice clean driveway that is stain-free.
Pull Out Weeds
Over time, weeds can begin to grow through the cracks in your driveway. You can greatly improve the appearance of your driveway by removing all of the weeds that have started to show. Simply pull all of the weeds out that you can and use a broom to sweep away any loose weeds, leaves, and dirt. You can then treat all of the affected areas with weed killer so that weeds are less likely to appear in the same place again.
Or, you can apply the weed killer first. Afterward, it will be easier to pull out the dead weeds and sweep them away.
Use Cat Litter
If you have any stubborn stains present on your driveway, kitty litter is a great way to remove them. Simply sprinkle some kitty litter onto the stained area and leave enough time for it to soak up the stain. Then you can simply sweep the cat litter up and hose off the area to get it looking fantastically brand new. Kitty litter is great because it is easily available and doesn’t cost a whole lot, plus it is great for soaking up a variety of different stains, including gas stains, oil stains, and chemical stains.
Sweep Away Debris and Dirt
If there is a lot of loose debris and dirt present on your driveway, you could greatly improve the appearance of your driveway by simply sweeping this loose dirt up. Use a large broom to sweep away any loose dirt and debris. This will help to improve the curb appeal of your driveway as well as make it less slippery and less prone to becoming a tripping hazard – potentially preventing some accidents from occurring in the future.
No matter how dirty your driveway is, it can always be cleaned up with a good pressure wash. There are many companies and professional driveway cleaners who can complete the job for you to a high standard. If you want to, you can even perform a pressure wash on your driveway yourself.
There are many benefits to pressure washing your drive, including improved appearance and preventing potential hazards, damage, and injuries. We recommend that you have your driveway pressure washed at least once per year in order to keep it in the best condition that it can possibly be in. If your driveway is showing obvious signs of wear or has a significant amount of dirt or grime, this is also a good time to have your driveway pressure washed.