The Best Way to Clean a Driveway: A Look at Products and Methods

If you’re looking for the best driveway cleaner product then this no-nonsense guide is for you.

Driveways often look tired and “dirty” due to a buildup of lichen which is an organic material often seen on patio slabs, concrete and block paving.

Here is a close-up photo of the main culprit:

Add in mould, moss, algae, oil, pollution, weeds and dirt and any driveway surface will look tired and in need of a clean.

The good news is, you don’t need to use messy power washers or spend hours scrubbing and brushing the surface. There are several chemicals that’ll do the trick just as well, if not better.

The Best Driveway Cleaner

The best driveway cleaner for you will depend on the type of surface your driveway is constructed from and which contaminate is causing it to look tired and grubby.

The good news is that there are plenty of chemicals that will thoroughly clean and protect the driveway surface, they’re affordable and become inactive once allowed to dry – that means they’re safe for pets and children.

Use Different Chemicals For Each Task

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as an “all in one” product that will completely clean a driveway.

Even powerful pressure washing machines fail to remove stubborn lichen and oil stains.

We suggest you use the products listed below:

1) Driveway Weedkiller Chemical

If your driveway has weeds growing on it, perhaps through cracks in concrete and tarmac or between blocks, use the product listed below.

This chemical won’t remove oil, pollution, algae, lichen or moss but is perfect for deep-rooted weeds.

We’ve chosen this product because unlike many other chemicals on sale, it penetrates deep into the root system rather than just burning off the foliage.

Best weedkiller for driveways

Don’t confuse this product with others that only burn off the foliage. Available on Amazon.

2) Oil Grease and Pollution Cleaner

Oily and greasy compounds such as engine oil, pollution and fuel spills should be removed with a degreasing agent.

Weedkiller, moss treatment chemicals and even pressure washing methods will all fail to remove ingrained oily stains.

The only way to remove them is with a degreaser and it’s usually best to apply this first, certainly before any pressure washing or moss/lichen treatment products.

The product below is our recommended choice but as with all cleaning chemicals, do a patch test first as some aren’t designed for use on tarmac.

This item can be viewed on Amazon

3) How to Remove Driveway Moss, Lichen and Algae

Lichen is the main culprit on many driveways.

It ruins the appearance of tarmac, blocks, concrete and many other materials.

Ingrained lichen is so difficult to remove that even power washers can struggle to shift it.

Moss and algae tend to grow in cracks and in gaps between slabs and blocks.

Regardless of whether you use a power washer or not, it’s always best to treat the surface with a chemical that will kill off any moss spores and prevent its sudden regrowth.

Any product that contains a high concentration of Benzalkonium Chloride will do the trick.

I’ve previously written about how effective this chemical is when used on concrete and clay roof tiles.

Here are the key points:

  • Used by painters and decorators to prepare mouldy walls prior to painting.
  • Roofers and driveway/patio cleaners use it to prevent the regrowth of lichen, mould and algae.
  • Is even used in mastic sealants and paints to prevent mould growth.
  • Is very harmful to pets, fish and wildlife when wet but becomes inactive once dry, so just keep pets and children from the area until the product has fully dried.
  • Is used in many off-the-shelf driveway/patio cleaning products, albeit in weaker concentrations.
best driveway cleaning chemical

Available to purchase from here

Do You Need to Use a Power Washer to Clean a Driveway?

You don’t need to use a power washer to clean a driveway. The right chemicals will do the job just fine but they require time to act.

Moss, lichen and mould killing chemicals take several weeks before the material dies off and lifts from the driveway surface,

Power washers can speed up the process but there are reasons why you may want to avoid using one:

  • The tarmac is old, crumbly and likely to become damaged by a high powered water pressure washer.
  • It will blow out the sand in the joints between driveway blocks.
  • It’s messy and not an enjoyable task.
  • Is sometimes too aggressive for some surfaces such as older resin bonded driveways.
  • If the driveway looks dirty due to moss, algae, lichen etc then it’s easier to just spray some chemicals rather than power washing the surface.

You will need to use a power washer if you want to seal the driveway to protect it.

Get a Custom Price For Driveway Cleaning

The three products listed on this page are all you’ll need to clean a driveway but if you’d prefer to get a professional in to do the work for you, tap the button below to see how we can help you:

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