Pressure washing your driveway can remove years of wear and tear in just a few hours. This tutorial will walk you through the process, with detailed instructions for concrete, brick and asphalt driveways (plus optional instructions for sealing after).
Tools and materials
Besides a pressure washer, you’ll need a few other tools and materials to clean your driveway. You may need everything on the list below, or you may just need some things depending on the condition of your driveway, whether it’s concrete or brick, etc.
- Pressure washer. You need high pressure to clean concrete or asphalt, but you don’t need as much for brick. Use 3,000-4,000 PSI for concrete or asphalt, or 2,000-3,000 PSI for brick.
- Cleaning solution. You can get the job done without a driveway cleaner, but it’s better to use one. Choose a product based on your conditions (if you need to remove oil stains, moss, etc.).
- Push broom. It’s important to clear the surface before pressure washing. Use a push broom if you have one, otherwise any broom (or even a leaf blower) will work.
- Safety gear. It’s important to wear safety gear (PPE) when pressure washing. Use safety glasses, gloves and hearing protection (if you’re using a gas-powered model).
- Scrub brush. If you need to remove moss, mildew, rust or oil stains, you may want a brush to scrub the surface. Use a brush with stiff, synthetic bristles.
- Surface cleaner. If you want to speed up the cleaning process, you may want a surface cleaner attachment for your pressure washer. Choose one based on your PSI.
- Plastic sheeting. If there’s anything near your driveway that shouldn’t get wet, you may want plastic sheeting for cover. Use heavy-duty sheeting, if possible.
- Garden sprayer. If your cleaning solution isn’t safe for pressure washers (if it contains acid or any other corrosive chemicals), you’ll need a garden sprayer.
- Sealer, applicator. If you want to seal your driveway after pressure washing, you’ll need a few gallons of sealer and an applicator (roller, squeegee, etc.).
If this is your first time using a pressure washer, read our guide on how to use a pressure washer to learn the basics. Then, follow the instructions below to pressure wash your driveway (each step includes what to do for concrete, brick or asphalt).
Step 1: Prepare driveway
Remove any objects that are blocking the driveway (cars, pottery, etc.), then use your plastic sheeting to cover anything that can’t be moved (doors, plants, etc.). Once the surface is clear, use your push broom to sweep away any loose dirt or debris.
Step 2: Set up pressure washer
Figure out where to set up your pressure washer (ideally, somewhere out of the way but close enough to reach every part of the driveway), then connect your garden hose, high pressure hose and spray gun. Turn on your water supply, but don’t start your pressure washer yet.
Step 3: Prepare cleaner
Prepare your cleaning solution following the manufacturer’s instructions, then fill your pressure washer (some models have an onboard detergent tank, others have a siphon tube that you put directly in your solution), or fill your garden sprayer if you have to use one. Now, start your pressure washer.
Step 4: Apply cleaner
Connect the 65° nozzle (usually black), or use your garden sprayer, and spray the cleaning solution onto the driveway. If you have a scrub brush, use it to scrub the surface, otherwise let the solution soak for a few minutes.
Step 5: Rinse driveway
Switch to the 25° nozzle (usually green), or connect your surface cleaner if you have one, and rinse the cleaning solution from the driveway. Work in sections of two or three feet at a time, rinsing from top to bottom, and make sure you don’t spray too close to cause any damage (especially if you have pavers).
Step 6: Finish up
Take down your plastic sheeting, put away your equipment and make sure you properly dispose of any leftover cleaning solution (for those who used chemicals). Wait at least 24 hours for the driveway to dry before enjoying it again (or before sealing).
Step 7: Sealing
Prepare your sealer following the manufacturer’s instructions, then use your applicator to spread the sealer onto the driveway. Work in sections of two or three feet at a time, pushing from top to bottom, and make sure you apply the recommended number of coats (two coats is standard, but again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions).
Frequently asked questions
The most common questions about pressure washing a driveway are answered below. For other questions, you can reach out to us at any time. If you have a question about a specific product, you may need to contact the manufacturer.
How much does it cost to pressure wash a driveway?
The average cost to pressure wash a driveway is between $0.25-0.50 per square foot, which includes labor and supplies. This comes out to $125-250 for the average two car driveway. Keep in mind, this doesn’t include sealer. Expect an additional $0.25-0.50 per square foot for sealing.
Should you seal your driveway after pressure washing?
There’s a lot of debate about whether it’s worth it to seal your driveway after pressure washing. Some people argue that a sealed surface will last longer, others argue that concrete and asphalt are durable enough without sealer. In our opinion, it’s worth it just for the curb appeal, if nothing else.
Can a pressure washer damage concrete, brick or asphalt?
Pressure washers can damage anything, even hard surfaces like concrete, brick and asphalt. With that said, it’s easy to prevent damage: simply use the right nozzle and don’t spray too close to the surface or hold the stream in one place for too long.