Pressure Washing the Driveway

If you have never pressure washed anything before, you are in for a treat! There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing the immediate results of using a pressure washer; there are even online forums consisting of nothing but pressure washing videos. Quite honestly, you are going to want to ask a family member to use their cell phone to video your adventure. Or, at the very least, take before and after pictures. 


  • Stiff brush or broom 
  • Painter’s plastic or tarps if you have them 
  • Safety gloves 
  • Close-toed shoes 
  • Safety glasses  
  • Earplugs or hearing protection of some kind 
  • Pressure wash detergent 
  • Gas (if you are using a gas-powered pressure washer) 
  • Leaf blower (optional) 
  • Pressure washer 
  • Surface cleaner 
  • Paint roller and sealant (if you seal your driveway after pressure washing it) 



  1. The first thing you need to do is to remove all debris from the driveway. Yes, you could do this with a broom, but it will take a long time, and you may not be able to completely get rid of all grit, pebbles, loose dirt, and leaves. It’s far easier to use a leaf blower for this step.
  2. Take a few moments to cover any plants near your driveway with painter’s plastic or a tarp. You are doing this to make sure the plants don’t get detergent on them (or get damaged by the strong water pressure of the pressure washer). Make sure to remove the covering as soon as you can so that your plants don’t overheat.
  3. Now, beginning at the highest point of your driveway, wet down the concrete. This doesn’t have to be a strong water pressure situation. You are simply making sure that when you use the detergent, it won’t be going onto a dry surface.
  4. Place the detergent siphon tube into the detergent container or snap it onto the appropriate place on the wand. If you have any doubts about how to do this, please ask us. At Northside Tool Rental, we are more than happy to demonstrate equipment and answer any questions you may have about your DIY projects.
  5. You will also attach your water source (garden hose) to the pressure washer. We have several models to choose from with varying (2,500 to 4,000) PSIs. (PSI stands for the pounds of pressure per square inch.)
  6. Attach the low-pressure soaping nozzle (the nozzle may be labeled “soap,” but if not, a 65-degree nozzle is strong enough) to the sprayer. Make sure to let the water run for a minute after it is hooked up to get any air out of the system.
  7. You start the pressure washer much like a lawnmower, by pulling a cord. (Make sure that it has gas before you begin the job.) Spray the detergent back and forth in sweeping and overlapping arcs until the area you are working on is covered. Keep the nozzle about 8-18 inches from the surface of your driveway. If your driveway is short, you can do this in one go, as long as you keep everything wet. You need to make sure that the surface doesn’t dry out with detergent on it; that could cause white streaks or marks. If you live in a house with a driveway like the one in The Great Gatsby, you should work in sections.
  8. Allow the detergent to sit and work on any stains or mildew for 5 or 6 minutes before you begin the next step.
  9. Now you’re at the fun part! Attach the surface cleaner attachment and rinse off the driveway by moving it back and forth in overlapping waves. Don’t push it back and forth like a lawnmower because that could cause dirt to be dragged back up with your return strokes. This part of the pressure washing is mesmerizing because you can see such a difference between the areas you have covered and the areas you haven’t.  

Note: Pressure washers can gouge into concrete if they are at the wrong pressure or nozzle. Most people do a small test run in an inconspicuous area, just to make sure everything is correct.  

  1. When the entire driveway is clean, you will use the wand to give it a final rinse. Use a 25-degree tip for this. The lower the degree, the stronger the water pressure, which is why you used a 65-degree nozzle to apply the detergent and clean the driveway. One other thing to keep in mind is that you will need lower pressure (but more detergent) if your driveway is brick and not concrete.
  2. Remove any tarps you placed on plants and give them a quick spray with the hose just to rinse off any stray detergent that may have gotten to them.
  3. If you are applying a sealer, wait until the driveway is dry before applying it. Use paint rollers to cover the driveway entirely with sealant, and make sure to wait 24 hours before driving or walking on the surface.

At Northside Tool Rental, we work hands-on with our customers, and our flexible rental solutions and loyalty program mean we’re there to help you see the job through ‘til the end. Contact one of our experts today to discuss what tools you need and how we can fully equip you to get the job done. We have convenient locations in Marietta, Gwinnett, Doraville, and Buckhead. Call us at 404-233-6722 to get your project started.