Wondering how to clean patio slabs? We’ve put together this comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you keep your garden paving slabs in good condition.
If you’re planning on cleaning your patio slabs, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to go through a series of step-by-step processes showing you how to clean patio slabs with soapy water, how to clean patio slabs with bleach, and how to clean your patio slabs with a pressure washer.
Once you’ve read this guide, you’ll be able to get rid of all of the dirt and plant life that’s currently ruining the appearance of your patio and make it look like new. You’ll be amazed at what an enormous difference a good clean patio can make.
If you’re starting off your first patio project and need advice and tips on building a patio area, have a look at our how to lay patio guide which provides a step-by-step guide on the process.
Tools and resources you’ll need:
The first thing to do is to collect the tools you’ll need for the job. The tools you need depend on how you will clean your patio.
First, you’ll need the basics:
- A bucket
- A hard-bristled brush (the bigger, the better)
- Access to warm water
If you’re cleaning your patio with soapy water, you’ll need to some soap – liquid or powdered is preferable.
If you want to use bleach to clean your patio, you’ll need to buy some bleach – a few pence from the supermarket – and a watering can.
And if you want to pressure wash your patio, you’ll need a pressure washer and some suitable detergent.
How to clean patio slabs (without bleach or a pressure washer)
Not all people want or have the facilities to clean their patios with bleach or pressure washers. That’s okay. Take a look at our simple six step guide on how to clean patio slabs without bleach or a pressure washer – just soap and water.
Step 1: Remove any weeds
Weeds will take root and grow from time to time, especially if you haven’t had chance to brush your paving slabs regularly.
If you do find yourself with weeds, it’s important to remove them as soon as possible in order to stop them from taking root in your paving joints.
How you remove the weeds, however, may depend on the scale of the problem. It may be possible to pull up the weeds, taking up as much of the root as possible.
In more extreme cases, you may decide to use a weed killer. If you do, make sure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions fully, particularly if you have pets or children.
Step 2: Mix the soap with warm water to make your own patio cleaner
The first step and simplest way to clean your paving involves simple brushing with soapy, warm water.
For the most part, you will not need special products for cleaning paving slabs: a mild, gentle soap such as washing up liquid and water will often work just fine. Mix it for a few seconds until you see a nice foam forming on the top.
Do remember to check the contents of your cleaning products first, as some ingredients can damage paving materials.
For example, if you have concrete paving, cleaning products that contain acid are a bad idea and, regardless of material, soap that contains limestone or marble should be avoided.
Step 3: Pour some of the mixture on your dirty patio
The next step is to pour the mixture onto the affected patio slabs. You might want to do this in stages if you have a large area that you need to clean.
Before scrubbing, remember to test your solution on a small area of your paving to ensure there is no damage, and remember to wear protective gloves to protect your hands. Once you have scrubbed your paving area, use clean water to rinse away the soap avoiding garden areas.
Step 4: Start brushing
Grab your hard-bristled brush and start brushing. The easiest way to do this is to use a brush with a long broom handle.
When you start cleaning, you’ll notice the bristles tear through the scum on top of your paving stones with ease.
Keep brushing until it looks as if all the dirt has been dislodged. Don’t be afraid to put in some serious effort!
Not only does this keep your garden looking clean and tidy, but more importantly it can help prevent weeds. Regular brushing helps to prevent new seeds germinating, but it will also break off any smaller weeds that have sprouted.
Step 5: Rinse with clean water
Once you’re happy you’ve disturbed all the dirt, next rinse it all off to reveal the results. Your patio should look shiny and new. If it doesn’t, wait a few hours and then repeat the process above.
When using the pressure washer, set the nozzle so that the water is sprayed in a fan shape and not in a single jet.
Remember to hold the lance at a 45-degree angle from the body and wash across your joints, rather than up and down them.
Step 6: Remember your joints
It is important to keep the joints clean, clear and in good condition.
Joints are one of the key areas that make up your paving; they hold everything in place to create a solid structure.
Regular sweeping and removing weeds is essential but also remember to fill any gaps in joints, especially if they are filled with sand.
Regular cleaning of your paving area is a must. Not only will it ensure your patio looks good, but also maintain its condition and ensure it lasts as long as possible.
How to clean your patio with bleach
Cleaning your patio with bleach provides a little extra “oomph” over soapy water. Bleach gets into all the dirty cracks and helps to improve the appearance of your patio slabs dramatically. It can help you get rid of moss, algae and weeds.
Cleaning a patio with bleach is easy once you know how, but it can be dangerous. First, you’ll need to make sure that there’s no run-off of the bleach onto any surrounding plant life. Plants that come into contact with bleach will die.
Second, bleach isn’t suitable for man-made concrete slabs – only natural paving stones. Bleach will fade artificial slabs over time. Lastly, you’ll need to wear protective clothing to stop the bleach from getting on your skin.
Step 1: Mix the bleach with water
First, mix the bleach with water in a five-parts-water-to-one-part-bleach ratio. It’s best to mix the bleach in a suitable watering can. A watering can give you more control than a bucket when pouring the bleach.
Step 2: Pour the mixture on your paving slabs
Make sure that you get even coverage when pouring the mixture over the patio. Be careful not to get the bleach on any surrounding plant life.
Step 3: Start brushing and then leave for 15 minutes
While brushing, you should notice a white foam building up. Once you finish, give 15 minutes for the bleach to do its work.
Step 4: Rinse
Next, rinse off the cleaner with clean water.
And you’re done. All that’s left to do is replace the patio furniture.
How to clean patio slabs with a pressure washer
Pressure washes provide you with a highly convenient way to clean your patio. Pressure washers take the effort out of the whole process.
Step 1: Remove any debris from your patio
Grab a brush and sweep away any leaves or twigs from your patio area.
Step 2: Connect your pressure washer to your mains
Pressure washers need a constant supply of water to do their job.
Step 3: Fill with detergent, if using
Some pressure washers allow you to add detergent to the mix. If using detergent, spray onto your patio and leave for between five and ten minutes for it to get into all the cracks.
Step 4: Switch your variance lance to medium pressure
Twist the nozzle on your pressure washer’s variance lance to achieve a medium pressure level. Then begin sweeping across your patio area from left to right and back to front, ensuring that you get consistent coverage.
When spaying your patio, using a wide fan and keep the angle of your spray at 45 degrees as this will provide the most powerful cleaning action.
Step 5: Disconnect your pressure washer and put it away
Finally, disconnect your pressure washer and then pull the trigger until you’ve emptied it of water. Draining it will help keep it clean and prevent any water inside from freezing, expanding, and damaging the sensitive internals.
So there you have it: three ways to clean your patio slabs. How will you clean yours? With soap, bleach or a pressure washer?
If you need to buy more patio slabs, check out our range of paving slabs here.
Watch our video tutorial here: