How to pressure wash a driveway

How to pressure wash a driveway
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Is your driveway looking a little lackluster? As a difficult space to manually hand wash, knowing how to pressure wash a driveway could be the key to quickly updating the appearance of your property. Learn how to pressure wash a driveway in simple steps and you can banish dust and dirt and debris from your driveway for good.

Here, we guide you through how to get your driveway spick and span with one of the best pressure washers (opens in new tab), including advice from a garden care expert followed by millions. Before you read on to get the lowdown on how to pressure wash a driveway like a pro, make sure you’re comfortable with how to use a pressure washer (opens in new tab). Check out our handy guide to using one and then get ready to make your driveway sparkle!

What you need to pressure wash a driveway 

You don’t need much to pressure wash a driveway, but here’s the list of all the crucial items you need before you get the job started:

• Pressure washer – Choose one that works for you and you’ll be able to use it on your driveway as well as your patios, brickwork, decking

• Plastic sheeting for any house windows in proximity to the driveway

• Pressure washer detergent

• Stiff yard brush

• Protective eyewear 

• Rain boots or work boots

• Clothing that covers the arms and legs

How much does it cost to pressure wash a driveway?

The biggest cost outlay involved in learning how to pressure wash a driveway is investing in a pressure washer to suit your particular needs and budget. From here, you will spend money on powering the pressure washer and the water to run it. 

In reality, pressure washers generally use less water than traditional hand washing; as the water is so highly pressurized you need much less to make an impact. This makes pressure washing an option that's kinder on both the planet and your wallet.

What to do before you start to pressure wash a driveway 

An important part of how to pressure wash a driveway successfully is preparing yourself and the space. Here’s what to prep: 

Step 1
First, get changed into the right clothing for the job. Wear a long-sleeved top and long-legged pants in case of water or debris spray. Protective goggles are a must because of the risk of small pieces of grit or dirt flying up at you. Wear rain boots or steel toe capped boots with high grip soles to help you stay steady in the wet surroundings.

Step 2
Move your car and any planters out of the way, as well as any decorative items that could get damaged by the force from the pressure washer. Put protective plastic sheeting over lower house windows to protect from pebbles.

Step 3
Next, sweep the driveway to get rid of any leaves, mulch, stones or loose moss and dirt. Sweeping this away will help to ensure that when you come to pressure washing the space this loose detritus does not fly up and hurt anyone or damage the exterior of your property.

How to pressure wash a driveway 

We spoke to Australian garden care guru Nathan Stafford, who is a pro at using garden power tools to get his client's yards and gardens looking their best, about his advice on how to pressure wash a driveway to a top standard. He keeps his followers up to date with videos of his work that has garnered him 1.1 followers on his TikTok channel @nathanslawnsandgardens (opens in new tab) and 442K followers on his Instagram of the same name. 

What the expert says...

Instagram and TikTok gardening expert, Nathan Stafford (opens in new tab), says, "For best results when pressure washing, always clean in the direction away from your house to prevent splashbacks or any potential water damage. Putting a sheet or plastic around glass windows also helps prevent any stones or pebbles from flying back. Be very careful working close to painted walls or furniture as it can tend to strip the paint.”

We’ve incorporated his expert advice into our easy checklist for how to pressure wash a driveway:

Step 1
Prep your pressure washer. Connect it to a water inlet then test it by letting it run through the machine for a minute to ensure there is no air in the line and pressure is consistent. Fill your detergent reservoir if you have one, if not, prepare detergent mixture in a bucket.

Step 2
Set your pressure setting to a PSI of between 1200 and 2300 at the absolute maximum. You need a strong pressure but always ensuring it doesn’t exceed the max and damage the driveway surface. Use a focussed nozzle spray, sometimes call the lance style, to blast away any weeds, moss or clumps of dirt. 

Step 3
You should angle your nozzle 45 degrees from the ground, keeping it at least 20cm away from the ground at all times. Face away from your property and focus the spray away from your home at all times to avoid small pebbles and grit flying towards it or water getting into the house.

Step 4
Next apply the detergent with a low PSI to coat the driveway, working from bottom to top. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes but not long enough to drive to avoid stains. This should be long enough to act on any heavy set in stains.

Step 5
Wash off detergent with a wider fan style nozzle spray style that distributes water more widely than the lance style. Sweep any excess run off water in the direction of a drain.

Step 6
Remember to repeat the process at intervals to maintain upkeep of your driveway. Our expert, Nathan Stafford, suggests that an annual deep clean is frequent enough. 

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Tanisha started her career in commercial retail buying for one of Amazon UK’s Top 10 revenue grossing online homeware retailers. Years spent obsessing over homeware products made it an easy career switch to writing about them. Her freelance career has seen her craft customer-focused web content for brands big and small, as well as writing articles in the health, lifestyle, home and retail sectors.

With contributions from