How to Clean a Concrete Driveway Without a Pressure Washer

Last Edited: 4/12/24

Scrubbing on a concrete surface.

There’s a quick and easy way to up your curb appeal game: clean your driveway! You’ll be amazed how a clean driveway can really spruce up your home! It’s like fresh vacuuming for the outside of your house – one that your family, neighbors, and visitors will be sure to notice. (It can also protect the surface of your driveway from long-term damage.)

Cleaning a Concrete Driveway

Keep reading and learn how to clean a driveway and remove oil stains without the use of water-guzzling, loud, and expensive equipment.

Sweep and Scrub

Clear the driveway of any weeds, grass, or other vegetation growing between slabs or through cracks in the driveway. Just pull them up and sweep them away (a leaf blower is great for clearing dirt and debris).

To scrub your driveway, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • Pole brush
    • The brush on the end should have stiff nylon bristles and be about 12 inches wide.
  • A bucket filled with hot soapy water
    • You can use regular dish soap or any commercial cleaning agent. Whatever you use, make sure it won’t harm plants or grass nearby.
  • Garden hose with handheld sprayer.

Clean the full width of the driveway in five-foot-length sections. Start on one end and work backward, just like you would mop a floor. Begin by soaking the driveway with water. Next, pre-treat tree sap, gum, or any stubborn stains with a full-strength commercial cleaner or a heavy-duty degreaser and scrub. Once the stains have soaked, dip the brush on the end of the pole into the bucket filled with soapy water and scrub away!

Keep scrubbing until you’re satisfied with the results. Once you’re finished, rinse off the section you just scrubbed and move on to the next.

How to Remove Oil Stains From Your Driveway

Oil stains require special attention. Oil-stained concrete and asphalt will yield different results, so it’s best to try a second or third technique if the first does not work. We’ve had the best luck with WD-40 and commercial stain removers.

Follow the instructions below for the best results:

  1. If the oil stain is fresh:
    1. Use paper towels to absorb as much oil as possible.
    2. Sprinkle cat litter or sawdust on top of the oil and let it sit for several hours.
    3. Sweep up this debris and continue onto step three.
  2. If the stain is old:
    1. Old oil stains can be very stubborn. You may want to consider buying a commercial oil stain remover if the steps below do not work.
  3. Pour one of the following household items on the stain. After going through all the steps below, repeat or try a different solution, if necessary:
    1. Automotive brake cleaner
    2. WD-40
    3. Baking soda
    4. A can of cola
    5. Commercial stain remover
    6. Heavy-duty degreaser
    7. Oven cleaner spray
  4. Let any of the solutions above sit for five minutes and then wipe it up with a rag.
  5. Trickle a grease-fighting dish soap over any remnants of the stain. Pour on a little hot water and scrub the area with a wire or nylon brush.
  6. Flush the entire area with boiling water.
  7. Repeat these steps as needed.

How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Driveway

  • Scrub the spot with rubbing alcohol using a clean shop cloth or scrub brush.
    • You can also use any commercial hand cleaner that contains pumice or acetone.
  • Continue to apply cleaner and scour until the sap has been scrubbed off.
  • Use paper towels to mop up the cleaner and sap.
  • Rinse the area with a hose.

Exterior Handyman Services

Now that your driveway is stain-free, how does the rest of your home look? Contact your local Mr. Handyman today for help with a range of exterior home improvement projects. Call or request an estimate online.