Spruce up your outdoor space with an annual deep clean
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What you'll need:
Liquid dish soap
No matter what climate you live in, your patio can accumulate months of buildup from outdoor elements. This looks like excess dirt, algae, mold, and organic stains that can compromise not only the look of your space, but also its longevity. To combat the buildup and restore your patio’s natural beauty, you’ll need a few tools, materials, and some spare time to learn how to clean your patio.
By following the steps provided, you’ll end up with an outdoor area that’s ready for entertaining, whether that looks like a neighborhood barbecue or a family picnic.
Prepping to Clean Your Patio
Now is the time to get a good look at the shape of your patio. If you live in a fairly mild climate, your outdoor area may only need a light scrub with soapy water to return to its natural state. If you live in an area that receives more rain, you may need to hire a pressure washing company to get rid of any signs of algae or mold.
Getting a good look at your patio before you start will ensure you have the proper tools and materials to get the job done right the first time.
5 Steps to Clean a Patio
Photo: JohnnyGreig / E+ / Getty Images
Your patio is where warm weather memories are made, from al fresco dinners with friends and family under string lights to outdoor games with your kids and neighborhood friends. These steps will help you give your patio a good, deep clean so you can enjoy it year-round.
Remove Outdoor Furniture
First, store any outdoor furniture, plants, or accessories that sit on your patio in a separate area. You’ll want your entire outdoor space to be free from any obstructions or items that you don’t want to get wet.
Brush Away Debris
Once you’ve removed all of the furniture and other pots, plants, or accessories, take your broom and brush away any remaining debris to leave the surface of your patio smooth. This is also a good time to remove any weeds in the cracks or seams of your patio.
Mix Cleaning Solution and Pour Over Patio
The cleaning solution you use on your outdoor space will depend on what type of patio you have as well as what shape it’s in. You can clean concrete patios and pavers with minor stains with a simple solution of dish soap and water.
However, you can use a 50:50 vinegar and water solution to clean more intense surface stains (but use more vinegar if your patio has more difficult stains to scrub).
If you don’t have vinegar at home, you can also try a baking soda solution. Try a mixture of 1 cup baking soda and a gallon of water to lift organic stains, such as food splatter or dog urine. Once you settle on which solution is best, mix it in a bucket of warm water, then pour it over the surface of your patio or on the stains that need to be lifted.
Let your cleaning solution soak for about 20 to 30 minutes, then use a stiff brush to scrub any noticeable stains.
Rinse With Water or Pressure Washer
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When you’re done scrubbing, use a water hose to rinse the stains or entire patio with clean water. You can also opt to use a pressure washer for this step, if you have one on hand.
Start by putting it on a low setting and increase it as needed. Note that pressure washers should not be used on pavers, since that amount of pressure can compromise the material.
DIY Patio Cleaning vs. Hiring a Pro
Even though this is a fairly simple DIY, it may be worth hiring a professional who can thoroughly clean paver stones or use the best cleaning methods to prevent concrete cracks.
Plus, while they’re busy cleaning your patio, they may be able to get your patio furniture sparkling for spring at the same time. They’ll also know which solutions to use or avoid when cleaning a painted deck or patio or driveway pavers.
How often should you clean your patio?
Depending on where you live, a good rule of thumb is to clean your patio at least once a year—twice if you receive longer seasons of rain, ice, or snow. Clean it each spring, after winter weather is in the rearview mirror, and again in the fall after you’ve spent a good amount of time outdoors throughout the spring and summer.
Should you treat different patio materials with certain solutions?
You can use vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap solutions on just about any patio material, but use discretion when using bleach. Although bleach can help get rid of algae and mold, it can harm surrounding plants or grass if it comes in contact with either.
How can you prevent your patio from weathering?
You can help extend the longevity of your patio by brushing debris away frequently, especially in the fall. Loose leaves and other debris can become crushed and cause discoloration on the surface of your patio, leaving behind pesky stains. You can also consider applying a sealant to the patio, which can help preserve its color and prevent weathering.