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How to Clean an Asphalt Driveway

Maintaining a clean asphalt driveway is essential for preserving its appearance, preventing damage, and extending its lifespan. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to clean your asphalt driveway effectively.

Essential Tools and Supplies

To clean your asphalt driveway, you will need the following tools and supplies:

  1. Brooms and Brushes: Use heavy-duty brooms and brushes with stiff bristles for sweeping debris and scrubbing stains.
  2. Pressure Washer: A pressure washer can be useful for deep cleaning, but use it with caution to avoid damaging the asphalt surface.
  3. Cleaning Agents: Common agents include baking soda, commercial degreasers, biodegradable cleaners, and household items like vinegar and dish soap.
  4. Absorbent Materials: Sawdust, baking soda, or kitty litter for absorbing oil stains.
  5. Sealant: To protect your driveway after cleaning, applying a sealant can help prevent future stains and damage.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

  1. Remove Debris: Begin by sweeping the driveway to remove loose debris like leaves, dirt, and stones. A sturdy broom or leaf blower can be effective for this initial step​​.
  2. Pre-Treat Stains: For oil stains, sprinkle absorbent materials like sawdust, baking soda, or kitty litter on the stain. Let it sit for a while to absorb the oil, then sweep it up. Avoid using solvents like acetone or turpentine, as they can damage the asphalt​​.
  3. Apply Cleaning Agents: Use a mixture of water and a cleaning agent suitable for asphalt. For general dirt and grime, a simple solution of dish soap and water works well. For tougher stains, commercial degreasers or biodegradable cleaners can be more effective. Apply the cleaner and scrub with a stiff bristle brush​.
  4. Pressure Washing: If the driveway is particularly dirty, a pressure washer can be used. However, be careful with the pressure setting to avoid pushing contaminants deeper into cracks or causing damage. It’s often best to use lower pressure and follow up with scrubbing​.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the driveway thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer, ensuring all cleaning agents and debris are washed away. This step is crucial to prevent any residue from causing further damage or stains​​.
  6. Address Biological Growth: For moss, mould, or algae, use a specific moss and mould cleaner designed for outdoor use. 
  7. Dry and Inspect: Allow the driveway to dry completely. Inspect for any remaining stains or potential cracks that may need attention. Repeat cleaning steps as necessary for stubborn stains.
  8. Seal the Driveway: After cleaning, consider applying a sealant to protect the asphalt from future stains and damage. Sealcoating helps repel water and oil, and can extend the life of your driveway. Ensure the driveway is completely clean and dry before applying the sealant​.

Regular Maintenance Tips

  • Regular Sweeping: Keep your driveway clean by regularly sweeping away debris.
  • Spot Clean Spills: Address spills and stains as soon as they occur to prevent long-term damage.
  • Sealcoating: Reapply sealant every few years to maintain a protective layer.
  • Proper Drainage: Ensure your driveway has proper drainage to prevent water accumulation and damage.

By following these steps and maintaining a regular cleaning schedule, you can keep your asphalt driveway looking great and functioning well for many years​.