How to clean block paving

Outdoor block paving can get dirty quickly, and then there's the weed growing between the slabs! This article explains how to tackle both.

Key Steps:

  1. Firstly, remove any weeds growing in between your paving slabs.
  2. Next, use a jet washer to quickly remove dirt and moss.
  3. If you don’t have a jet washer, then don’t worry – a scrubbing brush and a mixture of water and liquid soap will help you clean up your paving.

Block paving can transform any garden, patio, or driveway into something more structured and organised-looking, but unfortunately block paving cleaning methods are often seen as too much effort. Believe it or not, it’s actually very simple to get your block paving looking its best. You’ll need a two-pronged attack – tackling the weeds and removing dirt from the slabs themselves – but both steps are remarkably easy, and you won’t need to go out and buy costly products from the DIY store, either.

Try to clean your block paving regularly (once a month, or once a season) – this will make it much easier to maintain!

How to Clean Block Paving: the truth about weeds

Before you even start thinking about how to clean paving slabs, you’ll want to tackle the issue of weed growth. Many people think that weeds can actually grow through the paving slabs themselves, but this isn’t true (unless you’re dealing with Japanese knotweed, that is – this notorious weed can get everywhere). Instead, weeds grow up through the sand joints, and in doing so they can disturb the sand, leaving your paving slabs vulnerable to movement and tipping. To remove weeds, gently pull them, or use a hoe to gently lift them up and away from your paving.

When new weeds emerge, you may be tempted to use a weed killer to get rid of them and prevent them from growing through the joints completely. While you can do this (and weed killer is easily available in DIY stores), you may find it easier and more cost effective to try and discourage the weeds from growing at all. To do this, brush your paving regularly, which will dislodge any new growth and help keep your paving looking clear.

Does Cleaning Block Paving Require a Jet Wash?

You may have heard many people talk about how cleaning block paving is a piece of cake with a power washer – and it is – but is it really the best option? Yes, a jet washer will remove any dirt and moss covering your slabs, but it could also dislodge the sand. If you do use a power washer, it’s generally recommended that you angle it at 45 degrees, which reduces some of the pressure on the sand. You can still expect a good few inches of top sand to come off, however. Always read the manual before using a pressure washer and wear protective clothing.
Whether or not you use a jet wash is completely your decision. It’s very effective and quick at removing dirt, but it’ll take you longer to get your paving looking good afterwards, as you’ll need to replace the sand that has been dislodged. To do this, apply slightly more than you actually need, as you’ll find some of the loose particles can disappear in the wind or rain. Every few days over the next week, gently brush the sand into the joins, until it settles enough to once again hold the slabs firmly in place.

Block Paving Cleaners

Forget about special products for cleaning paving slabs – all you really need is some water and a form of mild, gentle soap such as dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent. Whether you use hot water or cold depends on your preferences, and the type of soap you’re using. Both hot and cold water work equally well, but if you’re using a powdered soap, hot water will dissolve the powder more thoroughly. Using a brush, gently scrub the slabs with the soapy solution, and rinse with clean water.

You will, however, want to keep an eye out for products that could cause damage to blocking paving. Any soap that warns against use on limestone or marble should be avoided, and, if you’ve got concrete paving, cleaning products that contain acid aren’t a good idea. You may think that you need something strong to make a difference to paving slabs, but really a regular household soap can work just fine. Always test your solution on a small area of your paving first to check there is no damage and wear rubber or gardening gloves to protect your hands.

With these tips, you should be able to get your block paving looking as smart as ever with little effort – giving you more time to relax!