How to Pressure Wash a Driveway So It Looks Good As New

cleaning driveway using pressure washer

Do you want to be a viral before and after video sensation? There's nothing people love more than seeing a filthy driveway turn sparkling clean.

Video aside, the reasons to clean your driveway with pressurized water is practically as long as your dirty driveway itself.

Using a pressure washer is a better choice for the environment and for your budget. For maximum savings, you can even rent a machine instead of buying!

What about the mechanics of it all? Do you need to know how to pressure wash? It's simpler than you think. Get a step by step guide below.

How to Pressure Wash

Before you do anything with your machine, you need to secure one. You can rent a machine at most home improvement stores or equipment rental sites.

If you want to buy a pressure washing machine, you may find it has more uses than just your driveway. There are people who successfully pressure was their windows, their decks, and even their car tires.

Buying one instead of renting may cost more up front, but you'll more than recoup your costs with all the projects you can do around the house.

You'll also become everyone's favorite neighbor when they want to borrow your machine.

Step 1: Prep the Driveway

You know how you never mop unless you've swept? Pressure washing is the same way. You don't want the water pressure to move around the dirt, you want it to remove it.

There are two ways you can do this: the super thorough and the lazy man's version.

If you're feeling lazy, take your leaf blower and start at the top of the driveway. Do one walk straightforward to remove the majority of the dirt.

Then walk pointing towards one side of the driveway, then back up the other. Now, most of the small particles and dust should be gone.

If you're feeling thorough, you can follow up with a wide push broom. The push broom will dislodge extra dirt that's in the pores of the concrete.

Step 2: Prep and Protect

IF you're going to pressure wash right up to the side of your home or it's your first time - be cautious and cover doors and windows with plastic sheeting. You can use painters tape to attach so you don't peel off any siding.

Then, look for any grease stains on your driveway. You'll need to apply degreaser to the stains and follow the instructions on the package.

Usually, this means scrubbing the solvent into the stain with a stiff brush or scrubber. You can skip the part where you rinse since that comes next.

Step 3: Read the Instructions

Yes, you need to read the instructions that come with the machine. Each machine has its own personality and requires different steps. The following are general operating instructions.

Step 4: Hook Up the Machine

Now that you've officially "met" your machine, you can start getting it ready to go.

Your machine will come with an arrangement of heads, use the one labeled soap or step 1 washing. Attach that to the machine's wand.

Then, attach the pressure washer hose to the wand. Once that's done, attach your garden hose to the water supply. Turn on your garden hose so water flows freely.

Attach it to your power source, whether that's a generator or an outdoor plug.

Step 5: Detergent

Make sure you have the detergent siphon tube in place and that it's attached to the pressure washer. Crank start the washer and make sure it's not making any strange noises and there aren't any leaks.

Then, point the pressure washing want a few feet away from you and at the ground. Get a feel for the type of pressure and push back that comes from operating the wand.

Step 6: Take Pics

It's not necessary to take before and after pictures, but it may make your inner neat freak dance. To see what we're talking about, check out these viral videos that show the power of pressure washing.

Step 7: Wash

Your first step is to apply the detergent to the surface, which you want to do about a foot away from the ground. Work in sweeping motions and go back and forth in a predictable pattern you can repeat.

With the driveway covered in detergent, let it sit five minutes. This makes sure the soap can get into the pores of the concrete and maximizes the after-effect you'll get.

Step 8: Rinse

As you let the soap sit, take the soap tip off the machine and change it to the one labeled ?25 degrees. That's the one you'll need from now on.

Rinse the detergent off by working in back and forth lines, holding the wand four to six inches off the ground. It's like vacuuming, you want to cover any gaps between lines.

Go slow and steady -- that's how you win the race.

Step 9: Let Dry

After you've washed the whole driveway, it needs to dry. Leaving it out in the hot sun (P.S. You should do this on a sunny day) for an hour or two should do the trick.

Optional Step: Seal the Concrete

A concrete sealant is like a clear coat of paint -- it protects what's underneath from stains. If you choose to seal your driveway, you'll need to buy a paint roller, an extender, and a jug of sealant.

Follow the directions on the product and don't park or use the area for 24 hours.

Final Step: Enjoy!

Now that you've learned how to pressure wash, cleaned, dried, and possibly sealed your driveway, you're all done.

Your new clean driveway gives the whole house a facelift -- you'll be surprised how much nicer everything else looks. It also improves your resale value and is great to do before putting your home on the market.

Do you love learning new things? Check out this article on how to do isometric exercises for when you're all done cleaning.


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