8 Tips for Thoroughly Cleaning Paver Stones

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated February 7, 2022
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A refresh of your paver stones can boost the whole vibe of your outdoor space. With a little time and effort, your patio pavers can look as good as the day you installed them. Whether you have stone pavers, brick pavers, or concrete pavers, follow these eight tips for cleaning your paving stones.

1. Choose the Right Weather

You should only clean and seal your paver stones when the temperature is between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s any colder or hotter, the cleaner and sealer won’t work properly. You also want to avoid cleaning or sealing your pavers just before, during, or after rain. Find a spot on the calendar to do your cleaning when it’ll be moderate temperatures with dry weather. 

2. Brush and Rinse Off Loose Dirt

Dirt, branches, and leaves can pile up on your paving stones. Use an outdoor broom to sweep away dirt and debris, then rinse with a garden hose.

If your concrete pavers are in decent condition, a broom and rinse may be enough to prep your stones for a cleaning product.

3. Pressure Wash for a Deeper Clean

Pressure washing stone pavers
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If you have moss, oil, stains, or efflorescence build-up on your paving stones, a pressure washer can help remove it. You can also use a pressure washer to flush out weeds caught between your stones. Removing weeds with this tool can be a huge time saver over pulling the weeds out by hand. The cost of pressure washing varies based on if you buy or rent the equipment.  

Wear protective gear, including safety glasses, when pressure washing your paving stones in case sand or small rocks fly into the air. Don't linger in the same spot too long when pressure washing, as it could damage the pavers’ finish or too much of the sand between the stones.

If you pressure wash the cracks to remove weeds, you'll need to replace the polymeric sand between the stones.

After pressure washing, let your stones and sand dry overnight or for at least eight hours.

4. Fix Your Pavers During the Cleaning Process

Cleaning your patio pavers is a great time to fix any common paver problems. You can replace stones or bricks and level the pavers that have sunken in. If you have chipped or cracked pavers, you should replace those individually.

To level pavers, remove the paver by prying it up with a wrecking bar or screwdriver. Compress the existing dirt underneath, then add paver base or polymeric sand. Press down the new material before replacing the stone. Check to see if the pavers are flush by using a level. Add more sand beneath the stone until the area is level.

5. Replenish the Sand Filler

The sand between your paving stones keeps them in place. Over time, the sand wears down due to wind and weather. If your walkway or patio is missing sand between pavers or if you pressure washed your paving stones, you'll likely need to replace some of the sand. You should add sand when the paver stones and existing sand are completely dry.

To refill the sand across your patio or walkway, pour out polymeric sand and sweep it across the surface and into the joints. Use a leaf blower or broom to sweep off the excess. The sand should fall roughly one-eighth of an inch below the stone's surface.

With a garden hose, lightly spray the area with water to activate the sand. Usually, two rounds of watering are recommended. Wait at least 24 to 48 hours after activating the sand to perform other work on the patio.

6. Choose a Targeted Cleaner

Opt for a cleaner that pinpoints your key issue, whether it's rust, oil, or efflorescence. You can also use a mix of household dish soap and water (1:5 ratio) or white vinegar and water (1:4 ratio) to clean and remove most issues. Stay clear of darker vinegar, as it could color your pavers. 

Spread the cleaner across your paving stones with an outdoor broom or pump sprayer. Let the cleaner sit for 15 to 60 minutes, depending on your cleaning product. Scrub with a bristle brush on any stubborn spots, then rinse the entire area with water.

7. Apply Paver Sealant

You can extend the life of your paving stones by applying a sealant. A sealant offers protection against the elements. It also prevents grass and weeds from growing between your paving stones.

Apply your sealer with a pump sprayer or a roller to get even coverage across the patio. You'll likely need to wait for one to three hours before applying a second coat.

If you don’t have time to clean and inspect your pavers, you can hire a local hardscaping contractor who offers maintenance service. 

8. Clean Annually for Best Results

To reduce the build-up of dirt, mold, rust, and oil, clean your pavers at least once a year. Maintaining your pavers annually is easier long-term and keeps your pavers looking fresh and inviting.

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