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DIY Maintenance Tips for Parking Lots

If you own or manage a brick-and-mortar business, you already know how important “curb appeal” is to bring customers into your store. No matter what type of business you run – retail, insurance, real estate, etc. – people are much more likely to want to do business with you if your physical location is clean and well taken care of. That includes your parking lot. While it’s always best to contact a local paving contractor to do major maintenance and repairs, it’s important to devote a few hours a month to handle small cleaning jobs and some preventive maintenance yourself. Not only will this save some money; it will also allow you to keep your parking lot looking clean – and that’s a good reflection on your business. Here are a few maintenance tips that you can do on your own:

  • Tidiness counts – Keeping your parking lot swept clean of debris not only looks better, it actually helps to ensure that your surface stays in good shape. When debris collects, it can hold moisture on the surface and that can damage the pavement. Periodically sweeping the parking lot will remedy this situation. You can also hose off the surface if you prefer, but avoid using a pressure washer since this will actually embed any existing stains into the pavement and make them harder to remove later.
  • Remove stains promptly – The sooner you remove a stain, the easier it will be. So it’s important to look out for stains and try to take care of them right away. The first step is to sweep and hose off the stained area, then apply some type of household cleaner – such as laundry detergent or dish soap, for example – and use a scrub brush to remove as much of the stain as possible. Keep repeating this until the stain is gone, then rinse off the pavement when you’re done.
  • Alternative cleaning methods – If you see an oil stain on the pavement, but you don’t have the time to use a household cleaner and a scrub brush, there are some alternative cleaning agents you can try that work on their own over a period of several hours:
    • Cat litter – Begin by mopping up as much of the oil as you can. Then spread a layer of kitty litter over the top and allow it to sit several hours or overnight. The next day, simply use a broom to sweep away the litter and the stain. The litter absorbs oil, so if you catch the stain right after it happens, this works well.
    • Baking soda – Another good alternative cleaner is baking soda. It works much the same as kitty litter, by absorbing the oil. Simply sprinkle the baking soda onto the stain, use a scrub brush on the spot for a short time, then allow the stain to sit for 30 minutes or so. After that, you should be able to sweep the spot clean with a broom.

Doing a little DIY preventive maintenance and cleaning of your parking lot will help to give your business the curb appeal it needs to attract customers. But remember that to really extend the life of your pavement, you’ll need to have it periodically seal coated and have any cracks repaired as quickly as possible. Those are tasks that should always be done by a professional pavement company.