How to Steam Clean a Driveway

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Steam cleaning your driveway removes dirt and grease.
Steam cleaning your driveway removes dirt and grease. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

While a steam cleaned driveway may evoke pictures in your head of towing your cement driveway to the local dry cleaners, it’s nothing as dramatic as that. Pressure washing with a steam-powered washer is a cost-efficient method of driveway cleaning. Whether you buy the equipment or rent it, you can quickly clean up unsightly oil stains and other marks on your driveway. If you rent the equipment, you may want to go together with several of your neighbors and share the rental costs.

Things You'll Need

  • Degreaser for concrete driveways
  • Garden hose
  • Concrete sealer
  • Paint roller

Remove all items, such as toys, from the driveway. Move your vehicle(s) away from the driveway as well.

Spray a concrete degreaser on the most heavily soiled portions of the driveway. If you don’t have any grease stains, skip this step. The steam cleaner should remove any other stains without special treatment.

Plug the steam cleaner into a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, electrical outlet. Connect one end of a garden hose to the house’s outdoor faucet and the other end to the steam cleaner. Put the appropriate tip on the cleaning wand of the steam cleaner.

Turn on the machine. Depending on the model, it may take a few minutes to produce steam. Start at the highest point of the driveway, which is usually closest to the garage or house. Compress the trigger on the cleaning wand. Slowly move the wand back and forth to steam and loosen the soil and debris accumulated on your driveway.

Work your way across the driveway and them move farther away from your start position. Give more attention to areas that have stains. Continue working your way across and down the driveway until you complete the steam cleaning.

Put a tip suitable for rinsing on the wand. Start at the highest point in the driveway again. Give the driveway a final rinse.

Use a long-handled paint roller to apply a concrete sealer, if desired, 24 to 48 hours after you steam clean the driveway.

Tips & Warnings

  • Select a steam cleaner with adequate heating capacity to heat water between 140 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Look for models that produce 600 to 1,200 pounds per square inch, or PSI, pressure. Find a model with a long electrical cord and one with a long braided hose line to enable you to complete driveway washing tasks a distance from your house's electrical source.
  • The tips you attach to the cleaning nozzle come in a variety of sizes. A 0-degree red tip has a narrow, pinpointed focus to deliver a lot of cleaning power to one location. A 15-degree yellow tip is the primary tip to use for steam cleaning a driveway. The 25-degree green tip provides less pressure and is good for rinsing. Use a 40-degree white tip on sensitive spots where the higher-pressure tips might do more damage.
  • The water that comes from a steam pressure machine is extremely hot. Keep children and pets away from the stream. Avoid getting the hot water on sensitive plants alongside the driveway.

References

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