There is nothing quite as satisfying as the appearance of a freshly laid patio. Over time though it can start to look grey and tired as the elements take their toll and the stones start to get dirty. To get that freshly laid appearance back, we take a look at how you should care for your Swindon patio and block paving slabs with our tips for patio cleaning and maintenance.
Clear the Area
First start by clearing the patio. Move any garden furniture, BBQs etc so that the area is clear of obstacles. Next, grab a broom and give the area a good sweep. You may have lots of weeds growing up between your patio slabs, you want to remove these two. Don’t just pull the weeds off leaving the roots behind. Make sure you get in and grab the roots too. You can get tools which are specifically designed for this task or you can lever a trowel in and manoeuvre the weeds out.
Choose the Best Cleaning Technique
Once you have a clear patio, free of weeds and debris, you can start the cleaning process. A soft washing technique is much more preferable to pressure washing. Many people think that power washing patios is the best way to clean them however, this is not the case. In fact, jet washing patio slabs and block paving can actually be damaging to the stone work. Not only that but when you start pressure washing things, the mess it can make of you and the rest of your garden can be quite significant.
There are a few techniques you can try when it comes to eco-friendly patio cleaning and maintenance without the need for harsh chemicals which can damage stones, not to mention plants and animals.
Mix washing up liquid and warm water in a bucket and pour over the slabs. You may want to do a little at a time just in case the slabs are dry by the time you reach them. Next, use a hard bristled brush to agitate the area. This will loosen most dirt and bring the stones up nice and clean. Then rinse with clean water. You can repeat this process after 24 hours if necessary. This process is great for light staining and delicate paving stones that aren’t suitable for more aggressive methods of cleaning.
If you do need a more aggressive approach you can use dilute bleach however be warned – this is not suitable for all paving stones and it can be harsh on plants. You may also want to avoid this option if you have pets.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar can be used mixed with warm water instead of washing up liquid as in the steps above. Vinegar is a great natural cleaning agent that is good on stubborn stains. We’ve also had great success using a paste of white vinegar and baking soda too. Apply the paste and wait a while for the mixture to fizz. Then use your bristle brush to scrub away the stains. This is great on small areas but if you have an entire patio to clean it won’t be cost effective given the amount of baking soda you will need. Vinegar is also great for killing off any weeds without being dangerous to you or your pets. Just be careful near your plants. Once you have cleaned the area, simply rinse with clean water.
If you do prefer to use a pressure washer or you have very stubborn stains, be very careful! Any weakness in the stones can lead to cracks and you could also discolour the stones. exercise caution and go easy! You will also discover that pressure washing throws up lots of dirt and can ruin plants and flower beds!
- Clear the area of any furniture etc.
- Sweep up and dirt and debris
- Decide on your cleaning method
- Give the stones a good clean, rinse and repeat if required
Repointing Your Patio
Once you have cleaned your patio, you may want to repoint it. You can either get a professional in to do this for you, or you can do it yourself using a dry mix of sand and cement which is brushed into the cracks and left to harden naturally. You must be sure to remove all the old pointing first and to thoroughly clean the area.
If you would like more help and advice on any of the above patio cleaning and maintenance tips, we would be happy to assist.