The majority of driveways are surfaced with either concrete or asphalt to make a durable surface. As we’ve covered, concrete is an excellent driveway surface material that will last for many years. The lighter color of concrete, however, does make it susceptible to organic stains from things like leaves, acorns and pinecones that fall off trees in the autumn months. If your driveway is starting to take on some of these natural colors, there are a few things you can do to get the marks of the fall season off your driveway.
Prevention Is Best
The first step in dealing with organic stains on driveways and sidewalks is to avoid them whenever possible. Freshly fallen leaves, acorns or pinecones are unlikely to stain concrete. Instead, staining occurs as organic substances leach out of fallen plant material and seep into the concrete. Of course, this can’t happen if you remove plant material on your concrete with a blower or broom regularly. Material that is left on a driveway or sidewalk for an extended period or through rainy or snowy conditions is more likely to cause stains.
If Stains Occur
Stains that do occur are easiest to remove while they are fresh. The longer a stain remains in the concrete, the more difficult it is to remove. Staying on top of any stains that do occur this fall will mean less work for you with removal in the long term.
The first step in removing stains from your concrete driveway is to thoroughly clean the surface. You will want to start by blowing or sweeping the entire driveway. After cleaning any loose material from the driveway, use a pressure washer to remove stubborn dirt and organic material. This may also remove some light stains that are not set in to the concrete.
Next, you can lift many stains with a mixture of dish detergent and water. Simply spread the solution over the stain and scrub with a stiff, non-metallic brush. Rinse the stained area with the pressure washer again after scrubbing and see if the stain has been lifted.
If you’re still seeing staining after the detergent approach, you can treat more stubborn stains with a stronger cleaning solution. SFGate recommends a mixture of 1/2 cup of bleach and one gallon of water to lift the most difficult stains. After pouring the solution over the stained area, scrub the stained section of concrete again with a brush and then rinse with a pressure washer.
Finally, if everything else fails, you can try using a stain remover that is designed for organic stains like food and blood. These cleaners may require you to wait 24-48 hours after applying before rinsing with a pressure washer.
These treatments are often highly caustic, so be sure to wear protective clothing and cover any nearby plants before using these chemicals to clean a driveway or sidewalk to protect both yourself and any nearby plants.
Templin Concrete Construction specializes in all things concrete. Whether you need a new driveway or sidewalk, want to learn about concrete counters, or need your existing concrete cleaned or repaired, we are your source in the north metro area of Minnesota. Call us at 612-388-1945 today to learn more or to request a quote.