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How do I remove leaf stains from my driveway or patio?

How to remove leaf stains from your driveway.

When trees begin to change colors in the fall, we are struck by their beauty… then we’re reminded all the work they are to rake. To further make our lives harder, leaves land on driveways and patios. Then it rains and we get leaf stains.

Leaves left on surfaces will almost always leave some type of mark when they get wet on your driveway or patio. It’s ideal to sweep them off before they have that chance.

Driving over piles of leaves will squeeze all of the stain-causing-tannin from the leaf like ringing out a sponge. We advise against this!

Why do leaves stain concrete and brick?

Leaves stain concrete as it begins to decompose. Its organic pigments are washed out during rain and morning dew. Leaf pigments transfer to your concrete driveway or paver patio. Each leaf is capable of staining your driveway and patio surfaces.

These stains are referred to as tannin stains. Tannin is believed to help trees fight against insects, bacteria and fire by coating the leaf and is also found throughout the wood. It is an oily substance that gives rivers and lakes with high amounts of decomposing organic matter their brown-reddish/orangey tint. Many people believe this to be suspended dirt.

What else falls in the fall that can stain my driveway or patio?

Flower Stain Concrete

Leaves are not the only part of a plant or tree that stain concrete and brick pavers in the fall. Flower peddles, nuts, fruits, seeds and many other parts of tree’s and plants just to ramble off a few. Fall is a popular time of year for falling leaves but keeping your surface clear of all of these other items will help keep it clean and looking good year-round.

 

How do I remove the stain myself?

Leaf Tannin Stains on Concrete Driveway

Tannin stains treated on the right. Cars driving over squeeze out the tannin and force the stain deeper into the concrete requiring professional extraction with high pressure.

Cleaning light tannin leaf stains from concrete or brick can be done with a strong household detergent made to remove organic staining. Use a non-acidic solution and add a drop of soap so the solution can stay wet (active) on the stain longer. Be sure the solution and soap do not react.

  • Prewet the stain with water. Also, water down any vegetation in the area as a precaution when applying your solution.
  • Wear protective safety gear and apply the solution per manufacturers directions
  • Let the solution dwell on the stain for 5 or 10 minutes.
  • If in direct sunlight, drip a bit of water to keep it wet and the solution active during this time.
  • The stain should fade to an ugly decayed color. If it doesn’t, apply again.
  • The image above is severe and shows the tannin was not just topical, but it made its way into the pores of the concrete.
  • In this case, we had to use a pressure washer to get the solution deeper into the pores.
  • Followed with a high-pressure rinse.
  • Lastly, neutralize the detergent to be sure its inactive around your vegetation, pets and family.

Here at Lead Dog, we have the pleasure of removing some of the toughest stains for customers. For the less severe stains, we hope we can help out our community with some helpful advice!

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