Outdoor Cleaning : Know The Best Way To Clean Patios [Details]

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Patios are a great addition to any home, providing extra outdoor living space to relax, entertain, and enjoy the fresh air. However, patios can easily become dirty from leaves, pollen, food and drink spills, animal droppings, mold, mildew and other outdoor elements. Keeping your patio clean is important not only for aesthetic reasons but also to preserve the surface materials and prevent damage over time.

Outdoor Cleaning : Know The Best Way To Clean Patios [Details]

Outdoor Cleaning : Know The Best Way To Clean Patios

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about cleaning different types of patio surfaces, from concrete and brick to natural stone and tile. It details the most effective methods, supplies and tools to properly clean common patio stains and debris. Learn the answers to these commonly asked questions about patio cleaning:

  • What is the best way to clean a concrete patio?
  • How do I remove rust, mold and mildew from patio pavers?
  • What’s the safest way to clean delicate surfaces like travertine or marble?
  • How often should I clean my patio?
  • What supplies do I need for patio cleaning?

No matter what type of patio you have or what level of grime you’re dealing with, this guide will teach you how to leave your patio sparkling clean.

Methods for Cleaning Concrete Patios

Concrete is one of the most popular and affordable patio surface materials due to its durability and versatility. However, concrete is prone to staining, mold growth and a dull appearance over time with outdoor use. Here are the best methods for cleaning concrete patios based on the type and severity of grime:

Sweeping and Hosing For light debris like leaves, grass clippings and spiderwebs, regularly sweeping and hosing down the concrete is often adequate. Use a stiff broom to loosen and sweep debris before spraying the area with a pressurized hose on a fan setting. Allow the patio to fully dry afterward.

Pressure Washing For embedded dirt, mold, mildew and stains on concrete patios, pressure washing is the most effective cleaning method. You can rent or purchase an electric or gas-powered pressure washer capable of at least 2000 to 3000 PSI for proper cleaning power. Always start spraying from the highest point and work down methodically in overlapping paths while keeping the pressure washer wand 12-24 inches from the surface. Allow the patio to dry completely when finished.

Cleaning Products For occasional spot cleaning or whole patio maintenance cleaning, use concrete patio cleaners containing safe chemical cleaning agents like sodium metasilicate, sodium hydroxide and sodium carbonate. All-purpose cleaners, degreasers andmildecide removers also work well. Test cleaners on an inconspicuous area first before applying broadly with a stiff bristle brush, sponge or sprayer. Rinse thoroughly.

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Baking Soda, Vinegar and Dish Soap

For a non-toxic, eco-friendly option, try making a paste with baking soda and water or a cleaning solution of white vinegar and liquid dish soap. Gently scrub stains with a stiff brush or sponge, let sit briefly and rinse thoroughly with water. Repeat as necessary before allowing the concrete patio to air dry completely.

Tips for Cleaning Brick and Paver Patios Brick and paver patios require slightly different cleaning strategies than typical concrete surfaces. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Check the manufacturer’s guidelines before cleaning. Some pavers surfaces have special protective coatings that chemical cleaners can damage.
  • Use just enough cleaning solution. Too much can seep between bricks or pavers and damage the base layers or cause new stains to wick up.
  • Avoid abrasive brushing or scrubbing, which can scuff the surface and ruin a smooth appearance.
  • Always pre-wet pavers before applying any chemical patio cleaners and rinse thoroughly after.
  • Let the patio dry fully after cleaning before resuming use to prevent slipping or moisture damage.

Best Practices for Natural Stone Patios Sandstone, travertine, limestone, granite, marble and slate are examples of delicate natural stone patio materials that require more careful cleaning compared to man-made surfaces:

  • Check with the stone supplier for their recommended cleaning products and methods before using anything abrasive or highly acidic.
  • Sweep first using only soft-bristled brushes and avoid pressure washing, which can damage softer stone surfaces.
  • For most stains, mix a mild solution of pH-neutral stone soap or dish soap and warm water applied gently with a soft cloth or sponge.
  • For tougher organic stains like oil, mold or mud, use an alkaline-based stone cleaner.

How to Clean Tile Patios Tile patios combine visual appeal with easier cleaning compared to uneven brick or natural stone surfaces. Follow these tile cleaning tips:

  • Vacuum or sweep loose dirt regularly before wet cleaning.
  • Use tile cleaners and grout cleaners specifically formulated for outdoor patio tile instead of acidic bathroom cleaners.
  • Apply cleaners directly onto stains like rust or mildew before scrubbing with a stiff nylon brush. Let sit briefly before rinsing.
  • For general cleaning, use a sponge mop and cool water mixed with a pH neutral all-purpose cleaner safe for tile and grout.
  • Rinse thoroughly and soak up excess water with old towels to prevent pooling between tiles or cracking from freeze/thaw cycles in colder climates.

Essential Supplies for Cleaning Patios Having the proper patio cleaning tools and supplies on hand makes the job much easier:

  • Stiff-bristled broom – removes loose dirt, leaves, etc. before wet cleaning
  • High pressure washer – electric or gas-powered unit (rent if needed)
  • Concrete cleaners and degreasers – safe for sealed/coated patio surfaces
  • All-purpose cleaners – pH neutral is best
  • Soft cloth or sponges
  • Stiff scrub brushes – nylon or natural for delicate stone
  • Bucket, scrapper, & heavy duty scrub pads
  • Rubber gloves, eye protection, old clothes/shoes
  • Squeegee – speeds up drying after wet cleaning

How Often to Clean Patios How frequently your patio needs cleaning depends on these factors:

  • Trees and foliage – nearby trees increase debris
  • Foot traffic –high use means more dirt and stains
  • Outdoor dining – food spills attract pests if not cleaned
  • Weather – rain washes patios naturally but winter snow and ice cause salt stains and damage

As a basic guideline, thorough cleanings every year or two using pressure washing keeps most patios looking good. For high traffic dining and entertainment areas clean 2-4 times per year. Always do spot stain removal right away before they have a chance to set in and dry. Sweep up leaves and debris weekly or after windy weather. Remove snow and ice carefully using deicer products safe for the patio type to prevent pitting and cracks.

Patio Material Recommended Cleaning Method Frequency of Cleaning
Concrete Sweeping & hosing for light debris; Pressure washing for heavy stains/mold; Cleaning products/solutions for spot cleaning 1-2 times per year; Spot cleaning as needed
Brick & Pavers Check manufacturer guidelines; Use minimal cleaning solution; Avoid abrasive scrubbing; Pre-wet before using cleaners 1-2 times per year; Spot cleaning as needed
Natural Stone Sweep only; Use pH neutral stone soap and soft cloth/sponge; Avoid acidics and pressure washing 1-2 times per year; Spot cleaning as needed
Tile Sweep/vacuum; Use tile & grout cleaners; Scrub with stiff nylon brush; Rinse thoroughly 2-4 times per year; Spot cleaning as needed

In Conclusion Regular cleaning is essential to keeping outdoor patios looking their best while maximizing longevity. Avoid damage by using the right methods and products formulated specifically for concrete, natural stone, brick pavers or tile. Be extra careful with softer surfaces like marble or travertine. Deep clean annually or semi-annually to control stains using environmentally safe options whenever possible. With the proper techniques and supplies tailored to your patio type, you’ll enjoy pristine outdoor living space for decades to come.