Patio stones become dirty and discoloured easily, and should be cleaned thoroughly at least once or twice a year, preferably during spring or summer. Look no further for helpful tips on how to clean decking and patios!
- Either a dedicated patio cleaner or bleach. Although specialist patio cleaners are widely available, they are not always necessary. If your patio is made of a stone that has particular requirements, stick with a specialist cleaner, or use soda crystals rather than bleach to avoid discoloration or damage. Bleach is generally safe to use on tougher surfaces, such as concrete.
- A hose to rinse the patio before and after cleaning.
- A broom (optional) to brush down the area before and after cleaning.
- A stiff brush to give the whole area a vigorous scrub.
- A pressure washer to dislodge stubborn dirt (optional).
- Some thick gloves and eye protection. Patio cleaners and bleach are both strong chemicals, and may harm your skin and eyes if used incorrectly. If you’re using a pressure washer, eye goggles are a must.
How to Clean Your Patio
The first step in patio cleaning is preparation: remove any objects from the surface or the patio, then, mix your chosen cleaning product (check the label – generally one cup of bleach, cleaner, or soda crystals) with a bucket of hot water. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to start:
- Hose down the whole area first. Even if you haven’t secured a pressure washer, this will make the whole process somewhat easier.
- Using a stiff brush, thoroughly scrub down the entire patio area with your cleaning solution.
- Rinse. Leave for five to ten minutes and then vigorously rinse the surface with your hose, or pressure washer.
- Protect your flowerbeds. Take care not to let any of the cleaning solution spill over onto lawns or flowerbeds: many of the products suitable for this type of cleaning will kill grass and flowers – although the chemicals do help to remove weeds from between your patio stones!
How to Clean Your Decking
Decking requires specific attention, as wood often becomes discoloured and damaged much more quickly than stone. Commercial deck cleaners can generally be substituted with bleach, and this may work faster, but you need to be careful not to cause damage to either the decking or yourself.
The steps you should follow for the actual cleaning process are identical to those for the patio. Additionally:
- Safety first. Take care to realign any planks that have become dislodged, and replace those that are warped. Badly damaged wood can make a deck unsafe, and you can worsen the problem by cleaning it with corrosive chemicals.
- Treat your decking! Apply some decking stain to the wood to protect it from weather damage. To check if your deck needs to be stained, sprinkle it lightly with water. If the water is quickly absorbed by the wood, stain could be a good additional treatment.