Two easy methods to clean your patio without a pressure washer

Patios and paving slabs usually need a good scrub following winter, and for those with a pressure washer, cleaning them for spring is an easy task. but how can you clean your patio if you don’t have a handy gadget? spoke to the patio and paving experts at Simply Paving about the best solutions and methods to clean your outdoor space. 

Washing up liquid 

The paving specialists said: “Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need any fancy products to clean a patio without a pressure washer. 

“In fact, one of the most effective patio cleaning products is good old-fashioned washing-up liquid mixed with warm tap water.

“All you need to do is squirt a little washing up liquid into the base of a bucket and fill with warm water. 

“Using this soapy mixture, start from the corners and splash a little water onto your patio. Then, grab a hard-bristled brush and scrub. Repeat this splashing and scrubbing routine until you’ve covered your whole patio.

“Clean the dirty water away with a bucket of clean water, ensuring it flows into a drainage point.

“A top tip is to scrub diagonally as this is gentler on the jointing compound and less will come out during cleaning.”

White vinegar 

White vinegar has become a popular cleaning ingredient, mainly because of it’s natural properties. 

Simply Paving explained whether it can be used to clean patios and paving: “White vinegar is safe to use as a patio cleaner – in fact, it has many benefits as it is environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and non-chemical. 

“Tailored to tough cleaning jobs, white vinegar is a good cleaning method if you are freshening up a very dirty patio.

“To clean with white vinegar, mix it with water in a one to one ratio in a bucket. Pour your vinegar and water solution over your patio and leave the vinegar to work its way into the paving slabs for 30 minutes to an hour. 

“Then, clean the dirty water away with a bucket of clean water.

“However, you shouldn’t use this to clean limestone pavers as the acid will permanently damage their surface.”

Simply Paving’s step by step giude to cleaning a patio: 

“Most paving types need little more than a bucket of warm soapy water to maintain their pristine sheen. However, there are certain pavers that need a little extra care come cleaning day. Here are our top tips for how to clean natural stone, concrete and porcelain paving slabs.” 

1. Sweep away the day-to-day dirt that builds up on your patio over a few months.

2. Scrub the pavers with warm soapy water. If you have natural stone paving, you may notice some slight discolouration after cleaning, but don’t panic; this is perfectly normal and a characteristic of natural stone.

3. If the sweep and scrub solution isn’t cutting it, then consider a specialised patio cleaner or white vinegar to tackle those tougher stains. However, we highly recommend you check the suitability of the product for use with your patio, as an overly acidic patio cleaner can cause irreversible damage to certain types of pavers, such as limestone paving.

4. If you have concrete paving, do not take a shortcut with a pressure washer to clean your patio. It may save time, but this method is too aggressive and can damage the surface and performance of your pavers.

5.Regardless of your methodology, we recommend you thoroughly wash your patio three to four times a year, rather than just at the beginning and end of the summer season.”

If you come across a broken patio slab, or one that has become unsealed over time, Simply Patio explained how you can fix it. 

The experts said: “If you have a loose paving slab, then it’s unlikely it can be lifted straight by hand. Instead, you will probably need a hammer and chisel to prise the paver free of your patio.

“To remove loose paving slabs without damaging your flagstones, carefully chip away at the mortar around the paving slab with the plugging chisel and rubber mallet until the slab comes completely loose.

“Then, slide the spade into the gap left by the mortar and prise the paver free of the patio. As you lift it up, place a short piece of timber underneath the spade to act as a lever, making it easier for you while protecting the slab underneath.

“When the paver starts to give, place the cylindrical wood underneath it and roll the slab out of the patio. You can then start the process of relaying the slab.”

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