How Should I Clean My Patio or Driveway Pavers?

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated May 26, 2021
child playing on outdoor patio
© Olesia Bilkei - Shutterstock

Cleaning brick pavers is a DIY project you can knock out in a day

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After so many footprints, spilled condiments, muddy paws, and rainy days, your pavers could probably use a little love. But if you’re wondering how to clean pavers, don’t worry: there are ways to restore them to their former glory. Cleaning your brick pavers is much less expensive than replacing them (the average cost to clean your pavers yourself is $375) and still offers a look that’s reminiscent of when you first installed them.

Project Difficulty: 2/5

Time: 1 day

Tools:

  • Gardening gloves

  • Stiff hand brush

  • Weed killer

  • Garden hose with power-wash attachment

  • Power or pressure washer (optional)

  • One-gallon or five-gallon bucket

  • Cleaning solution (see step four for options)

  • Stiff long-handled broom or scouring pad

1. Clear the Area

Patio chairs, potted plants, concrete cherubs, fire pits—it all needs to get moved. You want to clear the entire area of obstacles before you begin cleaning your brick pavers.

If you have any nearby decor, landscaping, appliances, or anything else that you can’t move easily, cover these up with a tarp.

2. Remove Weeds, Moss, and Other Organic Growths

Over time, the cracks of your pavers create tiny gardens for weeds and moss, as well as other natural growths. An important tip for cleaning paver stones: clear the surrounding area of these stray plants.

Don your gardening gloves and pull out the big weeds by the root, then use a stiff brush to loosen any moss. If necessary, follow up with a weed killer and wait for the recommended time period before continuing.

If you spy any tree roots that might uproot your pavers, you might want to get in touch with a local patio paver to discuss installing concrete footing as a barrier. You can also contact a local tree removal contractor to learn more about your options.

3. Hose ‘Em Down

As a preliminary method of soaking, use your garden hose to completely saturate the paved area with water. This will help clean the brick pavers and loosen any dirt and debris while also preventing them from soaking up the cleansers and forming an unsightly residue.

4. Prepare a Solution

Part of keeping your outdoor space at its best is choosing the right pavers for the area, but another major factor is cleaning those pavers with the right solution. That said, be sure to do a spot test on an inconspicuous area (maybe one usually covered by your grill?) before moving forward with your solution of choice.

Here are a few great solutions for cleaning brick pavers:

  • White (not dark) vinegar diluted with water

  • Simple Green, a gentle and chemical-free soap that is unlikely to ruin your paver stones

  • Dishwashing soap and water

"These solutions are great for cleaning pavers and are deemed environmentally safe,” says cleaning expert Asya Biddle. 

Once you’ve determined your preferred paver cleaning solution, fill up a bucket’s worth. For large areas, fill up a five-gallon bucket; for smaller areas, a one-gallon bucket should suffice.

5. Scrub and Clean

Working in one area at a time, pour out some of your paver cleaning solution. Take a stiff long-handled broom and scrub the area to clean the pavers. If your knees can take it, you can also use a scouring pad or wire hand brush to loosen up any dirt, stains, and grime.

Pro Tip: When using abrasive tools for cleaning your patio pavers, don’t go too hard on it— you don’t want to scratch or damage the surface.

6. Wash It Off

Depending on how dirty your pavers really are, you might only need to rinse the area off with your hose. But for removing stains from pavers that have set, you might want to enlist the help of a local power washing service. Alternatively, you can rent a power washer for around $70 to $300 per day. If you plan to regularly wash your pavers, exterior windows, and siding, purchasing a power washer may be the route to go. 

However, power wash with caution. “Depending on the type of paver installation you have, power washing can possibly be too aggressive, destroying polymeric joint sand that is used in-between the paver joints,” says Tara Dudley, owner of Plant Life Designs.

7. Perform Touch-Ups

Maintaining a new and elegant look for your pavers is all about cleaning them right and taking care of any necessary touch-ups afterward. If your pavers have sanded joints, you might need to budget for reapplying the sand after the power wash.

8. Reseal Your Patio Pavers

Once you’ve finished cleaning your brick pavers, it’s a good idea to reseal them to preserve that fresh-and-clean look. Consult a local deck sealing contractor for the best results. You can also buy DIY sealer for around $35 to cover 250 square feet. Most local landscape companies can also help you with cleaning and sealing your patio pavers.

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