Best driveway cleaners 2022

Which product sweeps its rivals aside on the drive?

As an enthusiast, you’re likely to take great pride in the appearance of your car. You carefully wash and polish it, taking care to make sure it looks its very best.

But how often do you look down past the tyres and check your driveway? Having a clean car on a filthy patch of concrete could be akin to serving gourmet food on a dirty plate, or displaying artwork in a grubby frame.

Cleaning your driveway will make a huge difference to the appearance of your house, and may help keep your car clean too, because there will be less dirt and debris bouncing up  with raindrops during very heavy downpours. 

We tested seven dedicated driveway cleaners to see which would give the best result with the minimum of scrubbing. We also tried a simple squirt of Fairy Liquid soap to see if it did the job just as well.

How we tested them

Following the makers’ instructions on the containers carefully, we applied the solutions to sections of grime-covered concrete and saw how easily they cleaned the surface using a brush and pressure washer, if suggested by the manufacturer.

We also stained sections of paving slabs with used engine oil and tested to see if the cleaners would be able to remove or lessen the staining. Finally, we factored in price.

Verdict

You need to treat the acidic Bostik Brick & Patio Cleaner with respect, but it cleans instantly with the minimum of scrubbing. It’s good value, too. 

Since you won’t be spending too much time or money on the cleaning, we’d suggest following up with a blast of the Spear & Jackson, which should inhibit regrowth of algae and moss for less than £3.

If you don’t fancy using the acidic Bostik and want a good-value all-rounder, the Swarfega needs a little more work but is great value and effective. 

  1. Bostik Brick & Patio Cleaner 
  2. Spear & Jackson Path, Patio & Decking Cleaner
  3. Swarfega Patio & Driveway Cleaner

Reviews

Bostik Cementone Brick & Patio Cleaner

Unlike the other cleaners here, Bostik is acid-based, which means it needs to be handled with much more care. Gloves and goggles are essential, plus you need to make sure it is well rinsed after use and that it doesn’t drain into a watercourse or it could harm the wildlife. 

Following the instructions, we diluted it 2:1 and used a sprayer to apply it to our concrete. You could immediately see and hear the Bostik working as it fizzed on the surface. A few strokes with the broom and the concrete was visibly cleaner. A blast with the jet wash took away the rest of the dirt. Our only complaint was the unpleasant smell.

Buy now from Toolstation

Spear & Jackson Path, Patio & Decking Cleaner

  • Price: around £3
  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Size: 2.5 litres
  • Contact: bmstores.co.uk

You can’t argue with the value of Spear & Jackson’s cleaner, which is less than £3 at B&M for a 2.5-litre bottle, or £4.99 for a 5.0-litre version. Given that it can be diluted at up to 4:1, that’s a lot of cleaner for the money. 

It’s designed to remove and kill moss and algae rather than being an instant cleaning detergent, but after being left to dwell for 20 minutes and then jet washed, it did a decent job of clearing our concrete. It claims it will inhibit further algae growth, too. The oil stain was hardly touched, though. 

Buy now from B&M

Swarfega Patio & Driveway Cleaner

  • Price: around £13
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Size: 5 litres
  • Contact: screwfix.com

The £12.99 cost of Swarfega’s product might look steep, but it buys you a big 5.0-litre 

container of fluid which creates 50 litres at the suggested dilution level. That’s probably enough to clean your entire street. 

We tried both manual and pressure washer-fed methods, leaving the solution to work for 20 minutes before scrubbing and blasting away the dirt. It wasn’t as effective as our winner on heavy soiling, but did a little better on the oil stain. It works out to be good value for money if you have a large area to clean. 

Buy now from Screwfix

Fairy Liquid

  • Price: around £2
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Size: 1.15 litres
  • Contact: tesco.com

Fairy is famously good at washing dishes, so we included it in this test as a benchmark for general cleaning. We were quite surprised that it was as good on concrete as it is on cutlery. 

We soaked the surface with a hose and then squirted the Fairy liberally around the driveway and slab before scrubbing with a broom. When followed up by a rinse with a pressure washer, we were surprised to see that it was actually more effective at shifting the dirt and oil than some dedicated driveway cleaners. 

Buy now from Tesco

Kärcher Stone and Paving Cleaner

  • Price: around £7
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Size: 1 litres
  • Contact: kaercher.com

If you have a Kärcher pressure washer, then this solution is simple to use, because it injects automatically into the flow of the jet using the detergent feed on the machine. It works well and needs no scrubbing, although you have to carefully monitor the flow of detergent to ensure it spreads evenly. 

After a few minutes of reaction time, we then blasted away the foam to reveal a reasonably clean surface. It made little difference to our oil stain, though, and needed a second treatment to get the concrete really clean. 

Buy now from B&Q

Patio Magic!

  • Price: around £10
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Size: 2.5 litres
  • Contact: amazon.co.uk

Rather than being a detergent cleaner, Patio Magic! is a mould and algae killer. This means you have to wait days for results, rather than seeing an instant improvement. On the plus side, there’s no need to scrub at all – you just soak the surface using a sprayer or watering can and then leave it to do the “magic”. 

It made no difference to the dirt or oil in our test, but after a couple of days it did improve an area near a drainpipe, which was showing algae stains. 

Buy now from Homebase

Knockout! Mould & Mildew Driveway, Decking & Patio Cleaner

The Knockout! appears to offer a combination of mould killer like Patio Magic! with the detergent cleaning effect of the other products here. Unlike every other cleaner here, the Knockout! isn’t designed to be diluted, and can just be applied directly by a sprayer or brush. 

This is certainly convenient, but makes it difficult to gauge how much fluid to use on a surface.  We followed the instructions exactly and used a brush and hose to scrub at the surface, but we noticed little difference, even after two days.

Buy now from Toolstation

PP Slush Driveway Patio Cleaner

  • Price: around £19
  • Rating: 1 star
  • Size: 2 litres
  • Contact: amazon.co.uk

The bizarrely named PP Slush is easily the most expensive cleaner here. We followed the instructions and used it diluted 1:1 in a sprayer, left it to dwell on the surface for the suggested 30 minutes and then scrubbed with a brush before rinsing. 

The result was little better than just using water, and was certainly less effective than using Fairy Liquid on both the concrete and oil stain. Our time and money would have been better spent elsewhere.

Buy now from eBay

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