Looking for the best driveway cleaner?
Choose from of these 4 products
Tested by Daniel at DIY Gardening
Is your driveway looking tired and grubby?
Perhaps moss, lichen, algae or even oil stains are ruining its appearance?
Below you’ll find the best products for each surface type.
Some work best on concrete while others are more suited to tarmac.
Some remove oil while others get rid of moss, algae and lichens.
My name is Daniel Woodley, welcome to my list of the 6 strongest driveway cleaner products you can buy in the UK.
1) The Best Concrete Driveway Cleaner
Concrete driveways come in many forms, from slabs of concrete and patterned concrete to blocks and cobbles.
All of these surfaces get grubby with algae, lichen and other organic growth, ruining the appearance.
The best driveway cleaner for old, tired concrete is sodium hypochlorite at around 15% concentration.
Often found in commercial and professional cleaning products, sodium hypochlorite is a type of bleach that will dissolve lichen, algae and similar growths on hard surfaces.
This is a fast-acting cleaner, and you’ll see results in about one hour, sometimes much sooner.
For lighter infestations of lichens, mould and algae etc, you can see this product literally melting them away in front of your eyes.
- Sold in 1-litre and 5-litre bottles.
- Dilute 6 parts water to 1 part chemical.
- Works on bricks, cobbles, concrete and even roof tiles.
- Apply with a fine watering can or preferably by a pump sprayer.
- Test a patch area first.
- Apply on a dry overcast day.
Dissolves algae, lichens (those black marks on patios/concrete) and fine moss within an hour.
Liquid-based and easily dilutable.
Long shelf life.
Cheaper and more effective than household bleach.
It kills many weeds that grow on driveways too.
The most potent driveway cleaner you can buy in the UK.
Will rejuvenate your driveway surface faster than any other product.
Currently there are over 900 reviews on Amazon with 87% of reviewers rating it 4 or 5 stars.
Cannot be used on tarmac.
Cannot be mixed with other chemicals, as, like bleach, it will give off fumes.
Will stain clothing on contact so you’ll need to wear a pair of wellies, old clothes and gloves.
It will harm grass and plants so these will need to be protected.
Can cause skin burns, eye burns and is an irritant.
The first application may need to be stronger (up to 50% dilution) while further maintenance treatments can be applied at 6 parts water to 1 part chemical.
Pets and children need to be kept off the surface for 48 hours – this is twice as long as competing driveway cleaner products.
2) Cleaners For Tarmac Driveways
Tarmac is somewhat problematic in that caustic chemicals can damage the material, degrade and in some cases, discolour the surface.
I don’t recommend using strong bleaches or harsh acids on tarmac driveways; instead, use Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC).
This chemical is a broad spectrum surface fungicide and antiseptic that will kill off lichens, algae, mould and other organic matter that ruins the appearance of external hard surfaces.
Unfortunately, it won’t instantly remove the organic material; the dead matter will still be present, so you’ll need to powerwash it off or wait for it to degrade and fade away naturally, which could take weeks.
While BAC is a powerful fungicide, it’s not caustic and won’t produce instant cleaning results on your driveway.
In my experience, lichens and other surface contaminants usually lift off after about 6 weeks from the date of the treatment.
- Used in dozens of cleaning products, including the popular “Wet & Forget”.
- Dilution varies but typically 6 parts water to 1 part chemical.
- Safe for pets and children once the surface has dried.
- Slow to act but long-lasting once it’s done its job.
Children and pets only need to be kept off the surface until it’s dried.
It kills off moss spores, so they don’t grow back for months, sometimes much longer.
Safe for use on most hard surfaces, including tarmac driveways.
This driveway cleaner is very slow to act – you won’t see results for weeks, not until the dead matter has naturally degraded and faded away.
Doesn’t kill weeds; only moss, lichens, algae and mould.
More expensive than bleaching agents.
3) Oil and Fuel Spill Driveway Cleaners
The previous two products clean driveways by killing off the organic matter that grows on the surface; that’s algae, lichens, moss and mould.
Neither of these products will lift oil or fuel stains which will need a dedicated product.
Resiblock is the best fast-acting driveway oil and fuel stain remover and is liquid-based – it dissolves the greasy oil quickly so you can get on and clean your driveway.
If you have a large oil or fuel spill, perhaps from a major oil leak or accident, I suggest using absorbent granules to soak up the grease.
This product by HSD is very similar to the ones used on petrol forecourts to soak up spillages. Unfortunately, it takes weeks to work, and the granules need to be applied weekly.
4) The Strongest Weedkiller For Driveways
If your driveway is an absolute mess with large, broad weeds growing through the surface material, I would suggest treating them with a powerful weedkiller that will take out the roots as well.
Regular driveway cleaner chemicals aren’t powerful enough to get deep into the root system of persistent weeds, so I recommend the most potent chemical you can find.
Without first taking this step, the weeds will just grow back after you’ve cleaned the driveway.
Our guide to the strongest weedkillers you can buy lists some that are suitable for driveway weeds.
5) The Eco-Friendly Option
If the environment is something you’re concerned about, then using harsh bleaches and fungicides could be an issue for you.
You still have a couple of options:
1) Use a pressure washer to lift all the dirt, mould, lichens, moss etc. This is far more friendly than using chemicals but does involve more hard work and will need to be repeated periodically.
2) Once the driveway is cleaned, whether that’s by chemical or pressure washer method, apply a sealer to protect it and prevent the organic matter from growing back.
Mosses, lichens, mould and other organic matter thrive on rough, porous surfaces such as concrete driveways, blocks, cobbles and roof tiles, so getting a sealer down halts their growth and reduces your maintenance costs.
Author: Daniel Woodley
Thanks for reading our guide to the best driveway cleaners. Daniel Woodley published this here at DIY Gardening and the article was last updated in November 2021.
Discover more helpful hints and tips from Daniel over at the blog.
Daniel is a keen amateur gardener trying to reduce his reliance on harmful weed killers and other chemicals but accepts there is a place for them in some scenarios.
He also enjoys growing vegetables and fruits, as well as his herbaceous border and container garden.
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