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Article by george@lockstep.media / June 6th, 2022

How to Clean a Patio

It’s that time of year again. You’re getting ready to fire up the grill and spend more time outdoors. You’re looking forward to spending time on the patio, and you can’t wait to entertain. 

However, after a long fall and winter, there’s a good chance you’re also wondering how to clean a patio quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly before the summer gets into full swing. 

You’ve come to the right place. Here are all our best tips for how to clean a patio and get ready for the summer season. 

Person worker cleaning the outdoors floor.

Clear It Off

Whether your patio is brick, pavers, concrete or something else, the first thing you will need to do when you’re working out how to clean a patio is remove everything you can from it. 

Cleaning around planters, patio furniture, gazebos, umbrellas and outdoor carpets is not easy, and you cannot do a proper job while they’re there. So take the time to move them off the patio completely. Not only will you make the job easier, but you’ll also protect them from water and chemicals if you need to use them. 

Sweep It Thoroughly

Once you’ve got all the stuff off your patio, the next step in the process of how to clean a patio is to sweep the whole area completely. 

You might think that you can simply get rid of dust and debris while you’re cleaning, but that’s not true. Adding water to dust makes mud, and mud is a lot harder to remove than dust! 

Before you start any kind of cleaning, you will need to sweep the whole patio area. If you have a shop vac, you could also use that to clean up dust and debris. Make sure you get into all the corners and get rid of all the visible debris on the patio. 

Soapy Water

If your patio just has normal seasonal dirt, then you probably don’t need a fancy or expensive cleaning product to get it clean. 

A bucket of soapy, luke warm water is all you need to remove normal dirt from a patio. You can use a string mop or a broom to scrub and wash the surface, and when you’re finished, hose the dirty, soapy water off the surface. 

Most mild household detergents won’t do anything to your lawn or garden, particularly when they are diluted, so you don’t have to worry about the run off if you use this method. 

Commercial Patio Cleaning Products

If you have a more challenging job cleaning your patio, you might be wondering how to clean a patio that has rust or other stains. In this case, your best bet is probably to visit a hardware store and get a commercial product. 

There are different cleaners for different types of patio and different kinds of stains, so make sure you choose the product or product that best matches your patio and your cleaning needs. 

Always ensure that when you use a commercial cleaning product, you follow all the manufacturer’s instructions, including using all the recommended safety gear. 

Using a Pressure Washer

In most cases, when you’re wondering how to clean your patio, your ordinary garden hose will do. However, if your patio is very dirty or very stained, you might also want to use a pressure washer. 

You can either buy a pressure washer to use around the house, or you might be able to rent one from a tool rental company. Either way, this is a great way to tackle very dirty patios quickly and efficiently. 

If you have a lot of dirt or stains to deal with, you can also get commercial cleaning products that work with a pressure washer, so you don’t have to do two different processes to get the job done. 

Vinegar to Clean Patios

Vinegar is actually one of the best cleaning products you have in your home. It can help to lighten and lift stains, helps to remove dirt, and is a mild disinfectant. Adding a few tablespoons of vinegar to your soapy water solution will help with all over cleaning, or you can apply white vinegar directly to tough stains to help lighten and remove them. 

Make sure you always use white vinegar when you are tackling stains. Brown vinegar and other kinds of vinegar could leave more stains of their own! 

Or Baking Soda

Baking soda is another product you have in your home that can be used to clean patios. 

In this case, you want to dissolve a cup of baking soda in a gallon of water and apply it all over the patio. Leave it for half an hour, and then rinse. 

Like vinegar, a paste of baking soda and water can also be used to clean tough stains. Use it with a scrubbing brush to lift and remove dirt that has set into the patio. 

Using Bleach to Clean Patios

Sometimes, particularly if you have green algae on your patio, the answer to the question of how to clean a patio is with bleach. 

Bleach is made from chlorine, which is the same chemical we use to kill algae in swimming pools. So it will definitely get rid of algae on your patio. However, bleach can also remove the color from your patio, so you want to be careful when you use it! 

The easiest way to do this is to make a bleach solution in a watering can or garden sprayer and apply it to the areas with algae. Leave the bleach for a while to do it’s job, and then scrub the area and rinse with water. You might need to repeat this if your patio has deep algae stains. It also might not be possible to remove all of the stains, although you can certainly lighten them! 

Use a Weed Treatment

If your patio has gaps between pavers, like a brick or slab patio, then there’s a good chance you might have weeds or plants growing between the slabs. The quickest way to get rid of these is to apply a weed killer to the area according to the manufacturer’s instructions and leave it to do it’s job. 

Once the weeds are dead, you can usually scrape or scrub them away quite easily. 

Weed killers don’t last forever though, so you can expect to repeat this process from time to time, to make sure the weeds don’t come back. 

Dry Completely

No matter which method you use to clean your patio, you will need to ensure that it is completely dry before you start moving anything back. Moisture that is trapped between the patio and outdoor rugs or furniture can cause more algae growth, and if there are any chemicals left, you want them to evaporate before you move your furniture and outdoor equipment back onto the space. 

Inspect for Damage

If you’ve had your patio for a while, the annual process of cleaning it is a good time to inspect it for damage too. 

Look for cracks or holes in the surface, or other kinds of damage that might need to be repaired. 

Sunken areas of your patio are another sign to look for – and it might indicate a bigger problem. Sometimes, water from leaking pipes or poor drainage can wash the dirt out from under your patio, and when that happens, part of it may sink. 

If that happens to your patio, you will need to call someone who specializes in patio construction and repairs, and they might advise you to get other professionals involved. 

Consider Sealing or Painting

Many patio products are porous. This includes bricks, paving slabs and concrete. This means that there is more chance you will get stains and deeply ingrained dirt that is harder to remove with normal cleaning methods. 

If you want to avoid the big patio cleanup every spring, you might want to consider sealing or painting your patio. There are many products on the market that are weather proof and hardwearing, and several that are also made with anti-slip technology. 

Once you’ve cleaned your patio for the season, and before you move everything back, you can use these products to seal the surface, and make next year’s cleanup a whole lot easier! 

Or Hire a Professional

As you can see, the answers to the question of how to clean a patio are not difficult, but they do take time and effort. 

If you don’t have the time to tackle this job yourself, or you don’t want to buy the equipment and cleaning products you need to clean your patio for the summer, you can always hire a professional. 

Outdoor cleaning companies have everything necessary to clean any kind of patio on hand, so they can get the job done quickly and efficiently. You don’t have to work up a sweat, and you can start enjoying your outdoor space earlier this year. 

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