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How to clean patio slabs with detergent, bleach and a pressure washer
Last Updated on January 16, 2020 by John
If you have patio slabs and need to keep them clean, you can do so easily with soapy water, bleach, or by using one of our favourite machines, the pressure washer. We’ve included a handful of ways to properly clean so that you can do everything from regular washing to spring cleaning. The difference between a dirty and clean patio will amaze you, the picture below shows whats possible.
What you need
Before you begin, make sure you have the right tools. That said, the right tools depends on how you want to go about cleaning your patio slabs. The basics include a bucket, bristled brush, and warm soapy water.
- If you are doing a basic cleaning with soapy water, liquid soap is preferable and you can get some very effective detergents.
- If you are doing a bleach clean, add that to the list.
- If you are doing a full, pressure wash clean, then you will need the pressure washer and detergent. – Check our some of the best affordable pressure washers in our review here
Basic Cleaning – Cleaning with warm water and detergent
Step 1 – Remove any weeds first
When you clean your patio slabs with detergent and warm water, start by removing any weeds. Every so often, weeds will find their way into the space between paving slabs especially if you haven’t scrubbed the pavers recently. So, remove them as soon as you can so that they don’t have time to establish a root structure.
If there are a lot of established weeds, use a weed killer.
Step 2: – Mixing detergent with water
Mix your detergent with a gentle liquid soap for a few seconds until it creates a nice foam layer.
Make sure to check that the detergent you use is suitable for the material used in your pavers and hard surfaces. For example, concrete paving should not be cleaned with soap that contains acid. No soap with limestone should be used. You can usually by a detergent that can be used with the material you are cleaning, in this case, patio slabs.
- Powerful and effective patio cleaner
- Remove black spot from block paving, concrete or natural stone
- With four powerful active ingredients, including a biocide to inhibit future growth
- Cleans patio often avoiding the need for pressure washing
- 5 litres of product will clean and treat approximately 40 m²
Step 3 – Applying the detergent and water
Pour the mixture onto the affected areas. While wearing protective gloves, begin scrubbing the area with a stiff-bristled brush until you have scrubbed all of the slabs. The harder the bristles on your brush, the easier it will be to tear through any hardened scum on your stones. Continue to scrub until the dirt has been dislodged and the patio slabs start to look clean.
Step 4 – Rinse the slabs to reveal the clean slabs
When you are done, rinse away the soapy mixture with a hose pipe in such a way that it doesn’t travel into any nearby garden areas.
Doing this level of cleaning regularly will go a long way toward preventing algae and moss before they take hold and keeping the garden area neat and tidy.
Note that if one cleaning doesn’t get rid of everything, you can always do this as a preliminary step and then repeat, or follow it up with bleach or pressure washing.
Clean patio slabs with bleach
If you want to conduct some more heavy-duty cleaning, you can substitute the detergent for bleach in your water mixture. Always wear protective gear, including gloves, when working with a bleach solution. It may be more environmentally friendly to use detergents than bleach.
The bleach will get into the cracks and dramatically improve the look of your patio by killing things like weeds, moss, and algae. Make sure that you don’t have any runoff into plant life, as it will kill the plants. Also, note that it is not meant for man-made concrete slabs, but natural paving stones only. If you have artificial slabs, the bleach will fade the colour with time.
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Step 1 – Mixing bleach
Mix a ratio of 5 parts warm water to 1 part bleach in a watering can. A watering can give you better pouring control compared to a bucket and reduce runoff.
Step 4 – Applying the bleach mixture
Apply the mixture onto your slabs and begin brushing. As you brush, you should see a white foam layer building up.
Step 5 – Leave the 15 minutes
Once you are done scrubbing, let it sit for 15 minutes so it can break down the dirt and grime.
Step 6 – Start rinsing
After the 15 minute mark, rinse the area clean.
Pressure Washer Cleaning
Step 1 – Clear the area to be cleaned
Remove any furniture, pots, and debris from the patio area. All loose material should be gone when you begin which you can easily remove with a leaf blower or brush.
- LED display trigger gun, guiding you to the correct pressure setting for the surface you are trying to clean
- Home kit, which includes a T350 patio cleaner and a 1 L bottle of 3-in-1 stone and facade cleaner
- Extendable plastic handle makes transporting your pressure washer simple and makes for a neat storage solution
- The stability foot at the base of the pressure washer makes for a very stable product, making working with the machine even easier
- 2 Year warranty
Step 2 – Get the pressure washer setup
Connect the pressure washer to your hose and to your electricity supply. Make sure the hose has no kinks, and if you have a large hose wheel, unwind the entire thing before you start.
Step 3 – Add detergent to the pressure washer or spray onto patio separately
If you are using detergent which we advise, mix it into the machine directly if it has a deterrent tank or sometimes they have a small hose to insert into a bottle of detergent. If the pressure washer does not take in detergent, spray it onto the patio separately with a garden sprayer for at least 10 minutes before you begin pressure washing.
Step 4 – Start cleaning the patio slabs
Start cleaning the patio with the pressure washer and change the variance of the spray as necessary to get all areas of the patio. You can use a sweeping motion from left to right, and back to front for thorough coverage. When using the pressure washer, you want the nozzle to be set so that it sprays in a fan to cover more area quickly, not in a jet stream. You also want to hold it at a 45-degree angle to wash the joints, not up and down. If you have stubborn stains try using the pencil jet spray attachment most pressure washers come with instead of the fan lance.
The pressure washer is a great way to tackle the joints because these are where most of the sand and other debris end up, and when it sits there, it becomes the perfect place for weeds.
When all is done, disconnect the pressure washer and empty it before storing it.
If you use all three methods at regular intervals, soap and water regularly followed by bleach and water every few months and pressure washing once or twice per year, your patio will look pristine all the time.
Our top recommended patio cleaners you can use without a pressure washer – Simply apply and walk away
Image credits – Shutterstock.com
Last update on 2020-10-22 at 18:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API