pressure washing parking lots

Whether you’re running a pressure washing business yourself or you simply have a disgusting, dirty parking lot that is in dire need of cleaning – you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to discuss pressure washing parking lots. You’ll learn everything you need to know to feel confident in your next steps. By the end of this article, you’ll be well on your way to getting your parking lot or drive-thru looking brand new!

While pressure washers are a remarkable cleaning solution on their own, they typically won’t be enough for a parking lot. To remove oil stains and road grime, you’ll need to add some extra oomph to your process: and that’s where choosing the right pressure washer soap comes in.

While pressure washing parking lots sounds fairly straightforward, there’s a lot that goes into getting the job done efficiently and effectively. Pay close attention as we guide you through this process from start to finish – starting with the importance of parking lot pressure washing.

Why Parking Lot Pressure Washing is Necessary

If you manage or own a commercial property, chances are you’ve had to deal with unsightly stains in your parking lot or drive-thru. These stains can be anything from oil and grease leaks to tire marks and more. Maybe you had customers spill food and drink out there and the sun created a disgusting, hard crust in that spot. All of these messes have one thing in common: they lower the perceived value of your building or property! And thus, they lower the perceived value of your business.

Not only do they look bad, but they can also be dangerous – posing a slip hazard for employees, customers, and visitors alike. That’s where parking lot pressure washing comes in.

Doing parking lot pressure washing on a regular basis is the best way to keep them clean and safe. Beyond just preventing slipping hazards, a clean parking lot or drive-thru creates a higher sense of professionalism – and allows you to take pride in attaching your name to the location.

How Often Should Parking Lot Pressure Washing be Done?

How often you pressure wash your parking lot or drive-thru will depend on a few different factors.

For example, if you live in an area with harsh winters, the salt and sand used to melt snow and ice can quickly lead to a stained and dirty parking lot come springtime. In this case, you may need to pressure wash as soon as the weather breaks.

On the other hand, if your business is located in an area with little precipitation and light vehicle traffic, you may be able to get away with pressure washing every few months or so.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to parking lot pressure washing – better too often than not enough! You don’t want customers or employees to have to deal with a slippery, dangerous parking lot. And, it’s better to clean too frequently and maintain a sense of professionalism and quality rather than neglecting your parking lot and being known as the restaurant, shopping center, or property manager with a nasty facility.

As a general rule of thumb, every 3 months is a good starting point. After a while, you’ll be able to determine if you need to scale your parking lot pressure washing efforts up or down.

With all that said, let’s get into the main reason you came here today: to learn how to pressure wash a parking lot!

How to Pressure Wash a Parking Lot: Step by Step Guide

Pressure washing parking lots is a pretty straightforward process – but there are still some things you need to keep in mind to get the best results. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to pressure wash a parking lot like a pro.

Step One: Assess the Area & Choose Your Equipment & Detergent Accordingly

Before you start pressure washing, it’s important that you take a walk around the entire space and make note of any problem areas. This could be anything from oil stains to faded paint lines. By identifying these areas beforehand, you can make sure that you don’t miss anything during the pressure washing process.

Moreover, assessing the area allows you to optimize your cleaning solution by choosing the best pressure washer soap and best industrial pressure washer for the job.

If you see a myriad of oil stains and road grime, you can set yourself up for success by going with one of the following targeted Hotsy pressure washer detergents that specializes in the removal of these substances:

  1. Breakthrough: This ultra-concentrated pressure washer detergent is typically used for tackling crude oil and wheel grease on vehicles, but it can remove these substances from asphalt or pavement as well.
  2. Hotsy Brown: As one of our strongest formulations, this solution can quickly and thoroughly clean carbon-based deposits like road film, exhaust stains, dirt, and grease.
  3. Carbon-Ate: You can use this for both parking lots and drive-thrus. It works wonders for tough cleaning jobs – particularly for degreasing surfaces and removing road film, food & grease buildup, and more.

Of course, for tough cleaning jobs like this one, one of our heated pressure washers for sale. While our cold water pressure washer lineup has a time and place, this is not it. Learn why by reading our blog post discussing the hot water vs cold water pressure washer differences.

If you own a pressure washing business or want to take your cleaning process up a notch, buying one is a great investment. If you only plan on using the unit 2-3 times a year, though, commercial pressure washer rental may make more sense. 

Step Two: Set up Your Pressure Washer

Now it’s time to set up your pressure washer. We encourage you to read our guide on how to start a power washer if this is going to be your first time using one. You’ll learn how to get your equipment set up safely. And, you should also take the time to read our guide on how to use a pressure washer with soap. Adding detergent to your unit will be a key part of getting that efficient, effective clean we keep talking about.

When it comes to pressure washer safety, be sure you have all the proper PPE in place prior to starting work. You should also cover up glass surfaces or anything you don’t want to risk getting damaged by powerful water jets. Pressure washer accidents are very unlikely if you just follow basic safety measures.

Step Three: Begin Pressure Washing the Parking Lot

Now comes the fun part – pressure washing parking lots!

Again – if you’ve never used a pressure washer before, you may feel uncertain or overwhelmed. But it’s not all that complicated. Start with the owner’s manual. Then, read our complete guide on how to pressure wash. You’ll gain invaluable insights on not just the basics of using a pressure washing machine. But, you’ll also be provided with more advanced techniques that add an edge to your cleaning efficacy and efficiency.

However, there are a few things you should know in regard to pressure washing parking lots.  First, always start pressure washing from one edge of the parking lot and work your way in. This will prevent you from wasting time going back over your work. The actual direction in which you pressure wash doesn’t matter, just be sure you’re following a strategy that maximizes your time spent cleaning.

Second, use a wide-fan pressure washing tip to avoid any unnecessary complications (like damaging the surface you’re cleaning). Our guide on choosing the right soap tip for your pressure washer will help you identify the proper nozzle. This makes all the difference in the effectiveness and efficiency of your work.

Finally, maintaining a consistent distance from the pressure washer nozzle to the pavement – around 12 inches – is ideal. If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to pressure washing like a pro in no time! There’s just one more step…

Step Four: Rinse & Repeat as Needed

Once you’ve gone over the entire parking lot with your pressure washer and detergent solution, it’s time to rinse away all that dirt and grime. It doesn’t hurt to let the solution sit for a bit – but you don’t want to wait too long, as it can dry in the sun. At that point, you’ll have to start over – removing the same soap scum you just applied. It can help to block off sections and work on one section at a time. Otherwise, you may need to get a pressure washer with multiple hoses/operators so one person can apply detergent while another follows behind to rinse.

The rinsing step is easy. You can do this by simply running clean water through your pressure washer. Start at the beginning – where the sudsy solution has been sitting the longest. Work your way down, making sure all the soap has been removed.

It’s important that you’re aware of any environmental regulations surrounding the runoff of your pressure washing solution. Some states, cities, and counties have their own regulations as to how you should manage this runoff – preventing it from making its way into the public water system. Do some research before starting the job so you don’t run into legal trouble.

And that’s it! You’ve pressure washed your parking lot and made it look new again. Just remember to regularly pressure wash the parking lot to keep it looking good as new. The more often you do it, the less work it’ll take to restore it to a like-new condition. A pressure washer is a great investment – but only if you use it regularly!

Final Thoughts on Pressure Washing Parking Lots

That concludes our complete guide to pressure washing parking lots or drive-thrus. By now, you should feel confident in how to pressure wash a parking lot. With our advice above, the job can be done quickly and easily. And, the end result will be a stunning parking lot that looks like it was just repaved!

Remember – for the best cleaning job possible, stick with Hotsy. Our pressure washing store in San Antonio has everything you need for the toughest cleaning jobs. From industrial units to soaps, we’ve got it all. Visit us in South Texas – or reach out to us via phone or email today!