Yes, you can use bleach to clean your driveway. A solution of bleach and water works well for cleaning stubborn dirt, stains as well as mould and mildew on the driveway.
In this quick guide, we tell you everything you need to know about cleaning a driveway with bleach including a step by step process, how to do it safely and the best alternatives if you don’t want to use bleach.
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Is it Safe to Clean a Driveway With Bleach?
The biggest concern homeowners have about using bleach on a driveway is whether it is safe. Yes, bleach is generally safe to use on driveways and other outdoor surfaces like walkways, the patio, and pool deck.
You can safely use a bleach solution to clean a concrete, paver or asphalt driveway. This includes sealed concrete and paver driveways. Bleach will not strip away the sealing.
That said, there are situations where using bleach on the driveway could be risky. For instance, if you have a painted driveway, you need to be extra careful cleaning it with bleach. Make sure the solution is not too strong to avoid damaging the paint.
You also want to be careful not to use bleach too often. Unlike regular detergent, bleach should not be used for everyday driveway cleaning.
It may not seriously damage the concrete, but it can strip away the sealer and paint over time. Stripping away the sealer leaves the concrete underneath vulnerable to deterioration.
Save the bleach for when you need to clean an extra grimy driveway or deal with some stains or mould.
Something to remember is that bleach kills plants, so any grass or flowers the bleach solution comes into contact with could dry up and die.
Unless you have raised edging along both sides of the driveway, it’s difficult to avoid getting the bleach onto part of your lawn. To reduce the risk of killing your grass or flowers, here are three tips.
- When rinsing the bleach off the driveway, start at the highest point. This keeps the chlorinated water flowing only in one direction instead of spreading all over and damaging a larger area of the lawn.
- Just before you wash the driveway with bleach, heavily water the lawn or flowers next to the driveway to saturate the ground. This reduces how much of the chlorinated water seeps into the ground and reaches the plant roots.
- Don’t use bleach on your driveway too often. Just once in a while to remove stains and brighten it up.
Benefits of Cleaning Driveway With Bleach
- Bleach can help tackle stains from oil, grease and other chemicals.
- Bleach is great for cleaning an extra-dirty driveway that has not been cleaned in a while. It loosens the grime and stains, making it easier to scrub them away.
- Bleach kills mold and mildew growing on the driveway. In stronger concentration, bleach can also permanently kill grass and weeds growing on the driveway.
- You can brighten up an old, dull or discoloured driveway by cleaning it with bleach.
What Kind of Bleach is Best for Cleaning a Driveway?
Regular household bleach (5-6% concentration) is fine for cleaning most driveways. Just mix it with water in a sprayer and apply it on the driveway.
For extra-tough stains or if the driveway is really dirty, you can use pool chlorine. It is a more concentrated version of household bleach – usually between 10-12%. You can get this type of bleach in most pool stores.
But be super careful when using pool chlorine. Because of its high concentration, it can burn your skin if you come into contact with it. You also shouldn’t breath any of it when spraying it on the driveway. Wear complete protective gear including gloves, boots, safety glasses and a nose mask with filter.
You can also use oxygen bleach like OxiClean if you prefer something gentler.
How to Clean a Driveway With Bleach: Step by Step Guide
Remember to wear protective gear before you begin cleaning with bleach. Also remove any items on the driveway, clear away nearby potted plants, and make sure the kids stay away.
1. Prepare the Driveway
The first step is to pre-clean the driveway to get rid of loose dirt and debris. The easiest way to do this is pressure-washing it. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can also sweep the driveway or rinse it with a garden hose.
You can also use a leaf blower to remove dust and leaves from the driveway.
Mix chlorine bleach with water in a ratio of 1:10. Use a higher ratio if the driveway is really dirty or if you are dealing with some serious stains.
Add the mixture to a sprayer, a watering can or bucket and then apply it on the driveway. If you have a long driveway, you can clean a portion of it at a time. But if it’s not too large, soak all of it with the bleach solution.
Let the solution sit on the driveway for about 6 minutes, and up to 10 minutes if you have lots of mould and mildew on the driveway.
3. Scrub or Pressure Wash
Next, come in with a stiff brush and scrub the driveway, focusing on areas with stains, dirt or discolouration. Rinse the driveway with a pressure washer or garden hose.
Instead of scrubbing, you can also use a pressure washer with a surface cleaner attached (look for one with brushes). A surface cleaner is a lot easier and faster to use compared to scrubbing with a brush.
You could do one final rinse and finish your work there. But after the driveway dries, you may notice streaks left by the brush or surface cleaner.
To prevent these, a post-treatment is important. Prepare the same 1:10 bleach and water solution as before and apply it on the driveway. Leave it for 5 minutes then rinse off thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer.
This eliminates any streaks and further brightens the driveway. It also removes any remaining dirt and stains that may not have been removed in the first step.
Tip: If you notice there are still some big stains or discoloration left on the driveway, increase the bleach concentration during post-treatment. You can even do a 50:50 bleach and water mix, but make sure you rinse it off thoroughly.
For more tips on cleaning your driveway with bleach, we recommend watching this video.
Alternatives to Bleach
There are plenty of other products you can use to clean your driveway depending on the results you are looking for.
For regular everyday cleaning, an outdoor detergent works great. You can also use dish soap. For oil and grease stains, a look for a commercial degreaser. Baking soda or powdered detergent can also work for milder and recent stains.