Independence Day and Canada Day festivities mean backyard barbeques, community celebrations, fun in the sun and fireworks. Most of us know the precautions we should take with fireworks, from keeping them away from the kids to keeping a safe distance. But how many of us know how to clean those ugly stains and scorch marks left from our fireworks show on patios, driveways and other outdoor surfaces?
Fireworks are a fun summer ritual, but something that burns at greater than 1,000 Fahrenheit is bound to leave behind residues of sulfur and carbon on our patio or any other place we choose as a launchpad. Even the best cleaning checklist probably doesn’t include how to get rid of those ugly black stains left behind after the festivities. Unique cleaning projects require a special cleaning approach. Read on to find out more about how to protect your patio and other concrete surfaces from those nasty fireworks stains.
Fire Up a Little Prevention
The best way to protect your patio, driveway and other outdoor surfaces from fireworks stains is to practice some prevention before you start igniting those rockets, smoke bombs and sparklers.
Your first order of business is to make sure your bottle rockets, cakes and candles are stable before igniting and launching. While launching fireworks from a sandy area or a patch of dirt would prevent any fireworks from staining your patio or driveway, the instability of a surface like that could lead to fireworks tipping over and creating danger for everyone around your launch area.
That typically leaves your driveway or other flat surfaces as the only safe option. Even with a firm, level footing, you’ll need to protect your patio or driveway from scorch marks and stains caused by fireworks tipping over. Especially for larger, more powerful fireworks like cake setups and rockets, you’ll still need to make sure they are stable and secure. The best solution to minimize leftover stains and the dangers of fireworks tipping over is to use a piece of plywood with supports added for the fireworks. The key here is always to wet down your plywood set up after you put it in place to create a safe, fireproof launchpad.
Launch a Cleaning Attack on Ugly Fireworks Stains
If your fourth of July celebration is coming to an end, and you didn’t take preventive measures to protect your patio or driveway from fireworks stains, here’s a plan of attack to remove even the toughest, burned-on stains. Your cleaning arsenal will include a broom, trashcan, bleach, pressure washer or hose, a bucket, latex gloves, a stiff bristle brush and good old sunshine.
Start by sweeping up any loose debris, paper remnants and anything else left behind from your fireworks festivities before you start on those black powder stains. A great plan of attack is to start with a pressure washer.
Pressure washing works well on a variety of surfaces, with or without using an additional cleaning solution. These high-powered machines are especially good at cleaning dirt, grease and even fireworks stains from concrete surfaces. Keep in mind, that once you start blasting away those fireworks stains, you’ll probably be left with several lighter-colored areas on your patio or driveway.
Be prepared to pressure clean the whole slab or patio so that you end up with a uniform (and clean!) concrete surface. Keep in mind the power of a pressure washer when you start removing the fireworks stains. CAUTION! Be sure to read the instructions before getting started.
Just like with most cleaning tasks, there are often natural cleaning solutions to get the job done right. If you’d rather skip the bleach, scrubbing and all that, you could always let mother nature handle the cleanup for you. Sunshine and rain are natural stain removers and do a good job if given enough time. If you aren’t in a rush and don’t mind seeing those ugly fireworks stains for a bit longer, just let the weather do its work. Eventually, your patio or driveway will be stain-free without lifting a finger.
No matter which method you use to get those scorch marks and stains removed from your patio or driveway, you don’t have to put up with those unsightly souvenirs of your fireworks show forever.