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How To Clean A Sidewalk The Right Way

When maintaining your home, it’s easy to lose sight of something as simple as your driveway and sidewalk. Let's talk about how to clean your sidewalk the right way!


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pressure washing sidewalk

How To Clean A Sidewalk The Right Way

by / Jeremy Forrest

When it comes to maintaining your home, it’s easy to lose sight of something as simple as your driveway and sidewalk. A well-maintained sidewalk not only creates a positive first impression but also contributes to the overall cleanliness and safety of your home or business.

Before you panic, just know you’re in the right place! We’re happy to help you restore the look of your sidewalk with some simple cleaning tips. Whether you’re a homeowner wanting to boost your property’s aesthetic charm or a business owner aiming to create an inviting storefront, you ought to impress!

Let’s talk about how to clean your sidewalk the right way!

Why should you clean your sidewalk?

Not only does cleaning up your sidewalk increase curb appeal, it also helps maintain the health and functionality of your home. There are a number of unsightly spills and growths on your sidewalk, so let’s lay out the most common things you’ll find.

If you’re a business owner, cleaning your sidewalk is highly recommended, if not outright required. If someone slips and falls due to negligent, dirty sidewalks, you can be sued.

Algae could be growing on your sidewalk

One of the more hazardous threats to your sidewalk is the development of algae. Due to algaes magnificent ability to retain moisture, any development of this green growth can result in a slippery and discolored sidewalk. Being proactive and regularly cleaning your sidewalks will prevent an unmanageable coating in the future.

In shaded areas, moss can grow on your sidewalks

Moss is beautiful when it grows in the right places – Unfortunately, your sidewalk is not that place. Given damp, shaded environments, moss can begin to grow from the cracks and crevices of your sidewalk and slowly overtake the solid ground. Avoid the potential of your sidewalk being eaten away by moss by facilitating routine cleanings.

Oil might have made it onto the sidewalk from your car

Did you know that concrete sidewalks are porous? Yes – even with the rough, solid exterior, there are many substances that can seep down into the foundations of your sidewalk. What homeowners will frequently see is oil, other fuels, and lubricants that escape their vehicles and find their way into the concrete, causing significant discoloration on the walkway.

Some cleaning tips for your sidewalk

If you want to remove stains, or simply remove dirt from your sidewalks, there are a few cleaning tips that we believe will help you on your way to perfectly clean concrete.

Research what cleaning solution is best for your sidewalk

Before using whatever cleaning solution you have stored under your kitchen sink, make sure to look into how that may affect the concrete, the plants, the wildlife, or if it will even be effective in the way you need it to be. Additionally, asphalt and brick sidewalks may need a separate treatment to effectively clean the surface.

Do not use bleach as it can kill your grass

We 100% recommend using bleach.  It is the most effective against mold, mildew, moss, and algae.  Used appropriately, it is used by every professional pressure washer in the US. While bleach is effective in killing off mold, weeds, and other unwanted organisms that have taken up residence, it can also kill your grass and poison the surrounding wildlife. Caution and know-how are required before utilizing bleach in your cleaning solution.

For simple cleaning, many people recommend mixing warm water, mild detergent or dish soap, and a bit of vinegar. Then, pour and let the solution sit for a minimum of 15 minutes. Begin scrubbing with a scrub brush until your stain and discoloration fades.

While this may work on small areas and spills, it’s not realistic to clean your entire sidewalk and driveway like this. For comprehensive cleaning, there’s only one solution that won’t break your back: pressure washing.

Pressure washing is the easiest way to clean your sidewalk

Let’s be honest: mixing together a solution and scrubbing down a sidewalk is labor intensive, and the results are mixed. The quickest and easiest way to clean and restore the appearance of your sidewalk is through pressure washing.

Even though sidewalks are porous, if caught early, common dirt, algae, or oil is unable to penetrate very far. Just water and pressure can be effective if you catch the very early stages of mold or mildew growth. With regular cleanings, using pressure mixed with bleach melts the algae and mold off like butter.

However, if algae and mold growth is ignored over long periods of time, it’s possible to become so embedded in concrete that it wouldn’t budge. As professionals, we never use just water. If you try to pressure wash by yourself, test an inconspicuous spot first just to be safe before committing to the entire process.

What to take into consideration when cleaning your sidewalk

We’re almost there! Before embarking on your sidewalk cleaning project, keep these factors in mind.

How much is there to clean?

Keeping track of the surface area you need to tackle is important. There may be some projects that need to be divided into multiple sessions in order to complete successfully, or certain jobs may require the assistance of more than just your household products to get the job done.

What is the total cost of cleaning a sidewalk?

Cost can be a large factor in determining what route to go down. When assessing the size of the project, as well as what materials are needed, you can weigh your opinions and choose accordingly.

When hiring a professional, you can expect to be somewhere between $0.30 to $0.50 per square foot. This depends on how much cleaning needs to be done, and the total area that will be serviced.

Tips for DIY sidewalk pressure washing

It’s recommended to wait a minimum of 1 year before pressure washing any concrete, especially by a homeowner who tends to use too much pressure. If you wash with too much pressure before 1 year of concrete curing, you risk taking off the top cream of concrete. Additionally, gallons per minute (GPM) is way more important than PSI for cleaning efficiency. A 4 to 6 GPM pressure washer is recommended for most homeowners.

Does it require calling a professional?

Some projects may need more than your garden hose, hot water, cleaning solution, and a scrubber. A pressure washer may be needed in order to tackle more difficult sidewalk cleanings. 

While renting a pressure washer may be an option, calling in a professional to expedite and efficiently remove unwanted growth and discoloration may be the best solution.

Pressure washers possess significant power, with the ability to strip siding, harm car paint, and spoil outdoor features. Even a simple cleaning project like your sidewalk can quickly spiral out of control, resulting in unexpected costs. Not to mention, you’ll be able to enjoy your weekend instead of spending it pressure washing in the sun!

Call Premier Pro Wash & Seal for all your pavement cleaning services today!

Fighting against dirty concrete? We’re happy to help! Premier Pro Wash & Seal is a family owned business that prides themselves on the work that we do. Whether you need pressure washing, soft washing, or paver sealing services, we’re here and ready to help! Give us a call or book a consultation with us online!