Over time, driveways tend to begin looking a little dingy. Since your driveway plays a large role in your overall landscaping and curb appeal, it is important to keep things looking fresh. Exactly how you should go about cleaning your asphalt driveway?
Tips for Cleaning Your Asphalt Driveway
Did you know that good curb appeal actually helps increase your home’s value? Not only does cleaning your asphalt make your home look better, but it also helps protect your driveway from long-term damage. To prevent wear and tear from accumulating, make sure you clean your asphalt properly by taking the following steps.
Sweep loose rubble off the driveway
The first step is to rid your driveway of any large rocks, pebbles, trash, leaves, sticks, etc. Much like you sweep before mopping, it is best to clear your driveway of clutter before going in with soap and water.
Thoroughly soak the driveway, eliminating excess dust and debris
Next, it’s time to surface-clean your driveway. This refers to the removal of dust and dirt located on the top layer of asphalt. A good spray-down with a hose should do an adequate job of removing excess debris. However, make sure the driveway is thoroughly soaked.
Pre-treat stains with dry detergent
Before scrubbing the asphalt too deeply, think of your driveway like stained laundry. The best way to remove harsh stains is to pre-treat them using a stronger solution. If your driveway is sporting stains from oil, cleaners, automobile products, etc., pour a thick layer of detergent over the affected area. You can purchase asphalt-safe detergents, use a high-quality laundry detergent, or make a homemade baking soda solution. Leave the detergent to soak for 30 minutes or so, then come back to begin the next step.
Use a long-bristled brush to gently scrub the driveway using an asphalt-safe cleaning solution
Using hot water and detergent (or an asphalt-safe cleaner), gently scrub the driveway with a long-handled, long-bristled brush. Think of this step as cleaning your carpet. You have already removed the surface layer of debris with your “vacuum” (or hose). Next, it’s time to dislodge the gunk stuck deep in the asphalt, much like a professional carpet cleaner sucks filth deep from the carpet pile. Scrub the driveway gently but firmly, doing your best to remove excess oil, gravel, or other residues.
Thoroughly rinse your driveway
After you have treated the driveway with detergent, soak it with your hose once again. It is important to thoroughly rinse after cleaning, particularly if you used a cleaner with any number of chemicals. If left unchecked, the chemicals could eat away at the asphalt, causing some long-term damage.
Engage in Preventative Maintenance!
Of course, asphalt maintenance includes more than periodic cleanings. To preserve your asphalt and see the biggest return on your investment, apply the following maintenance tips.
- Seal your asphalt to protect against stains and harsh weather.
- Make minor repairs quickly to prevent cracks or holes from getting bigger.
- Keep a paving professional on call for emergencies.
Sealcoating your driveway helps protect it against various types of wear and tear. From water to hot weather, it will limit the number of cracks and faults that appear in your driveway. When those small cracks begin to appear, you should quickly work to fill them and patch them so they don’t spread to the rest of your driveway.
While much of the work on your driveway can be done yourself, having a professional can offer advice or head up the project will help ensure that costly mistakes aren’t made that will result in your having to replace your driveway completely
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