When most people think of spring cleaning, sprucing up the inside of the house comes to mind. Changing the curtains, scrubbing the windows to a streak free shine and hanging lighter, airier curtains and drapes are some typical spring cleaning projects. Many homeowners have a different idea of spring cleaning that includes the outdoor chores. An asphalt driveway may top your list because of it’s location. The asphalt driveway leads guests, friends and family members from the street to your front door – in others word curb appeal. A clean exterior makes your home look good and hopefully will encourage your neighbors to engage in the same upkeep and care to make your entire neighbor look good. Outside of visual appeal, asphalt driveways require a good cleaning to keep the driveway structurally sound and last for many years. Cleaning the driveway isn’t as big a project as it may sound, but it is definitely a necessary one.
Leaving your asphalt driveway dirty and in disrepair will ruin the visual appeal of your entire house. Not cleaning stains up quickly can cause your asphalt driveway to degrade and begin to fall apart.
Asphalt Driveway Cleaning
Sweep the whole driveway with a stiff broom to remove dirt, leaves and twigs.
You can also use a leaf blower to blow away much of the debris, but sweeping will remove or at least loosen the dirt.
Always start with a surface that is not blocked by debris.
Begin with Asphalt Driveway Stain Removal
Gas and oil spills are common stains on an asphalt driveway with sources such as cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers or snow blowers. While gas and oil are common stains, they certainly aren’t good for your driveway. Manufacturers make asphalt from petroleum based products and gas or oil can degrade the surface. Leaving a puddle or a few small drips of oil or gas can give the oil and gas the opportunity to eat through the asphalt, leaving behind a hole in the driveway.
As soon as the spill occurs, lay a few sheets of paper towels over it to absorb the wetness. You can also sprinkle cat litter over the spill, allow the cat litter to absorb the spill and sweep it up.
After gas has been absorbed, place the paper towels in water to prevent accidental combustion.
Pour liquid grease fighting preparation over the site of the spill to cover it entirely.
Dip a stiff scrub brush into a bucket of water and scrub the area. Rinse the soapy residue away with a garden hose.
Cleaning the Asphalt Driveway
Fill a bucket with about 1 gallon of warm water and add ½ cup of liquid laundry detergent. Stir the water to mix the laundry detergent and water.
Submerge a stiff push broom into the soap, cleaning water.
Scrub about a 6 by 6 foot section the asphalt surface to remove all dirt and surface debris.
Rinse the area with a garden hose.
Move to the next section and scrub then rinse. Work in smaller sections at a time so you can rinse before the soapy water has a chance to dry.
A Little More Asphalt Cleaning
Examine the driveway for any stubborn stains. Check around the edges and in shady areas for moss, algae or lichens. Normal scrubbing won’t rid your asphalt driveway of moss, algae or lichens.
Get a bottle of organic moss and algae cleaner from garden centers or online.
Liberally spray the moss, algae or lichens and let the algaecide remain on the surface for two to six hours or until completely dry.
Scrub the area with a dry push broom to loosen the lichens, moss or algae from the asphalt surface.
Aim a garden hose at the area and rinse away the growth.
Let the section of asphalt dry fully.
Spray the area with the moss and algae killer and leave it on the asphalt surface to prevent the growth of moss, lichens or algae in the future.
Asphalt Driveway Tips
While cleaning your asphalt driveway, check for cracks, holes, and depressions to be repaired later. Cracks and holes are a perfect place for weeds to grow or if birds and small animals drop a tree seed, before you know it, you will have a tree growing in the middle of your driveway. Leaving cracks and holes can also allow water to enter the space and freeze, which in turn causes more cracking and lifting of the asphalt.
Only use a garden hose with a standard nozzle to rinse and clean the asphalt driveway. Pressure nozzles and power washers can create holes in the driveway or loosen and lift pieces.
Never use a sandblaster to remove tough stains, as with a pressure nozzle or power washer you can ruin your driveway.
Clean your driveway once a year to keep it in tip top shape.
If you live in an area where salt, ice melt and sand are used to melt snow and ice, it is important to remove them from the asphalt.
When working on a car, lawn mower or snow blower, lay a large sheet of cardboard under the item to protect the surface from spills, splashes and drips.
Keep bushes, hedges, flowers and trees trimmed back from the edges of the driveway. Not only do they provide an area in which moss, lichens and algae can grow, but roots from larger plants and trees can lift the driveway.
Seal your asphalt driveway with a commercially available black top sealer every two years. Sealers protect the driveway from weather wear. The rule a little is good, more is better does not apply to black top driveway sealants. Resealing the driveway every year will cause a thick build up that is more susceptible to cracking than thin coats every two to three years. Sealers also slow the effects of erosion, making the time and work even more worthwhile. Applying a sealer is much less expensive than chopping out the existing driveway, removing the debris and pouring new asphalt.
If you take good care of the driveway, it will last a long time.