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Outdoor Cleaning: The Best Methods to Clean Patios

Best Methods to Clean Patios

Patios extend living space outdoors to enjoy fresh air or host gatherings. However, weathering, mildew, seasonal debris and stained surfaces require periodic deep cleaning beyond weekly tidying to refresh patio appeal. By understanding the causes and implementing the best methods to clean patios, from concrete and pavers to wood decks, homeowners keep outdoor rooms looking their best with some strategic scrubbing and the removal of grime buildup over time. This guide will recommend the top cleaning techniques for tackling patio maintenance.

Content Highlights

  • Annual pressure washing removes heavy soiling restoring patio shine best.
  • DIY cleaning solutions offer affordable and effective cleaning options using pantry staple ingredients.
  • Decking requires gentler methods avoiding excessive water damage.
  • Grout scrubbing by hand or with detail brushes returns crisp uniform joint lines between pavers envied.
  • Implementing preventions throughout the seasons minimizes cleaning requirements continually.

Putting some muscle into the occasional heavy duty patio scrubbing pays off enabling homeowners to enjoy entertaining and relaxation spaces kept pristine with easier regular upkeep stopping deterioration in its tracks before requiring extensive restorative efforts again down the road. Get outside and reclaim patio perfection this season!

Benefits of Clean PatiosBest Methods to Clean Patios

Beyond aesthetic curb appeal for hosting or enjoyment, keeping patios clear of dirt, stains or discoloration provides functional benefits:

  • Prevents slippery surfaces from becoming tripping hazards
  • Reduces chance of permanent staining setting in on stone or concrete
  • Minimizes further erosion damage from expanding cracks due to water pooling
  • Discourages weed growth in spaces between pavers
  • Removes allergens and irritants triggered by built up pollen or mold
  • Brightens dull, darkened areas improving visibility and safety
  • Provides opportunity to repair minor cracks or joints proactively

As active seasons wind down before harsh winter weather arrives, autumn proves the perfect transitional time to tackle intense patio cleanings setting the foundation for pristine space next year.

Pressure Washing

For concrete or stone patios displaying heavy grime accumulation, traffic patterns of dirt, mildew stains or moss growth between pavers, pressure washing blasts away buildup. Always test smallest inconspicuous areas first to determine ideal water pressure and nozzle distance to avoid etching damage. Then work systematically section by section. Simple Green or tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) cleaners boost efficacy too.

Pressure washers excel removing:

  • Dingy oxidation layers
  • Caked on dirt or mud
  • Pet urine stains
  • Embedded oil/grease spots
  • Tree sap smears
  • Mold or mildew growth
  • Wine or food spills
  • Soot stained areas

While power washing works wonders eliminating ground in debris, take precautions protecting surrounding grass, plants or home siding from spray scatter or overflow runoff contamination going down drains containing detergents.

DIY Cleaning Solutions

For more regular maintenance cleaning or smaller patio areas, homemade solutions provide chemical-free and budget-friendly options too. Always sweep initially with a stiff bristled broom. Then test cleaners on discrete areas first before widespread application. Popular recipes include:

  • Baking Soda: Gentle abrasiveness lifts dirt from textured stone while neutralizing odors safely with just water activating.
  • Vinegar: Acidity dissolves alkaline mineral deposits, kills weeds, cleans concrete and removes staining but requires rinsing residue avoiding lawn damage. Mix with dawn dish soap for added grease-cutting boost.
  • Oxygen Bleach: Avoiding harsh chlorine bleach, oxygen boosts stain removal powers eliminating mold or mildew growth as a eco-friendlier choice.
  • Lemon Juice: Natural acidity brightens stone and concrete while antiseptic properties clean mildew prone surfaces. Slices scrub tough spots.
  • Soap: Simple castile or dish soaps effectively cut oily grime when scrubbing with non-abrasive brushes. Avoid sulfate-heavy formulas harming surrounding plants.

Follow with hose rinsing. Supplementing elbow grease scrubbing with non-toxic store bought options like ammonia, hydrogen peroxide or OxiClean versatiles the arsenal against specific oil stains, mineral deposits or discoloration issues faced.

Wood Deck/Composite CleaningBest Methods to Clean Patios

Unlike masonry, wood or composite decking requires gentler cleaning methods avoiding excessive water pooling or abrasives scratching material integrity. Messy barbecuing, weather warping or muddy shoe prints mark boards over time requiring refreshing.

After dry deck brooming, address stains before widespread cleaning. Hand scrub or gently power wash spot treatments:

  • White Vinegar or Lemon Juice – dissolves dark tannin stains from planter drainage or metal furniture rust imprints
  • Baking Soda – cleans grease drips and oil spots
  • Oxygen Bleach – removes mold/mildew between boards or rails
  • Soft Scrub with Bleach – minimizes grey weathered areas

Then revitalize entire deck surfaces using:

  • Oxygenating Cleaners – Brightener products oxidize stained areas restoring wood graining without harsh chemicals. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Water and Dish Soap – Castile liquid soap cuts grease buildup when scrubbed without sodium lauryl sulfates harming surrounding nature.
  • Sanding – After clearing debris, light 80-100 sandpaper grit smoothing opens wood grain accepting protective treatments better.

Avoid excessive wetting leading to swelling, warping damage or mold growth in deck boards through prompt drying and resealing properly after intensive washing sessions.

Grout Cleaning

For mortar-bound paver patios, inevitable dirt deposits in porous grout lines gradually detract from aesthetics. Regaining crisp uniform joint appearances takes some elbow grease but avoids costly re-grouting expenses. Always pre-wet pavers before applying cleaners. Common stains removal recommendations include:

  • Baking Soda Paste – Acts as mild abrasive lifting dirt from grout crevices. Thickens with just enough water forming paste rubbed in working 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide & Dish Soap – Bubbly reaction helps release trapped debris better than water alone when combined with cutting suds.
  • Lime-A-Way – Diluted acidic cleaner dissolves mineral sediment buildup that water often only spreads around over top of pavers rather than removing grit inside mortar itself.
  • Bleach Pen – Narrow applicator precision targets only dark mildew lines without bleach dripping everywhere. Scrubbing pads perfect stuck-on areas. Rinse completely avoiding plant life contact.

For wider grout areas between slate, travertine or wide cement joints, utilizing stiff nylon detail brushes saves hand fatigue over finger scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly lifting all cleaner residue fully post treatment.

Preventative Care

While intensive deep cleaning tackles existing dirt, rust, mold and other built up grime annually restoring patio shine, implementing some proactive preventions minimizes gradual degradation between washes. Consider these tips extending surfaces pristine factor:

  • Install side screens or wind barriers preventing leaves, pollen debris blow in-areas staying cleaner longer. Use rain diverters preventing dripping stains.
  • Remove furniture pillows, table umbrella bases/canvases during off seasons or severe weather avoiding fabric fade or molded surfaces.
  • Reseal worn areas around posts, anchors or wall joints preventing further cracking where grime collects heavily.
  • Schedule maintenance window washing exterior house elements to include patio surfaces before substances etch or clients book events.
  • Hose rinse away spills promptly, avoiding liquid absorption or dried crusting on stonework making removal trickier.
  • Use outdoor rug protected pads under potted plants preventing soil wash out or fertilizer burn marks degrading materials.

Taking a bit more care safeguarding patio investments between intensive cleanings rewards homeowners with many more years of optimized longevity and subsequently minimizing required corrections to retain backyard functionality and style. A little prevention goes a long way keeping maintenance needs at bay.


Outdoor living spaces enhance leisure enjoyment connecting homeowners to the surrounding nature or facilitating social gatherings. However, the gradual dirt accumulation, possible mildew growth between pavers and weathering effects over seasons detract from aesthetics if surfaces become significantly dulled or grimy compared to indoor flooring simply swept daily. Getting outdoors armed with the right stiff brushes, non-toxic homemade solutions and a bit of elbow grease restores the dazzling colors stone or wood expressed when initially installed. Pressure washing handling ambitious grime also resets exteriors for installing fresh furniture cushions or accent décor too without inherited staining carrying over tainting replacements. By implementing preventions between deep cleaning sessions, families maintain backyard patios easier so focus stays on creating memories outside rather than sweating immense scrubbing efforts just to host upcoming summer barbecues again in style. Tackle that intense patio refresh today and breeze through quick tidy ups keeping the space guest ready moving forward once grime no longer has years gripping onto every pore unchallenged ever again.


How often should patio deep cleaning occur?

Patio experts often recommend scheduling intensive deep cleaning every 1-3 years based on usage, climate and weathering to remove embedded dirt accumulation restored only through abrasive scrubbing, chemical loosening and thorough rinsing certain areas build up faster than others.

What is the best homemade patio cleaning solution?

The best homemade solution varies slightly by patio surface material but often white vinegar mixed with Dawn dish soap offers natural acidity dissolving grime plus added grease-cutting surfactant power activating cleaning by water rinsing without residue risk or environmental harm. Generous scrubbing boosts effects. Baking soda, oxygen bleach and hydrogen peroxide offer gentle yet effective stain treatment too avoiding harsher store-bought chemicals.

Can pressure washing damage my patio?

Pressure washing incorrectly can etch softer stone types or splinter composite deck boards. Always test smallest discreet areas first checking ideal nozzle distance and psi ratings suitable per surface material. Consult experienced contractors for guidance to avoid harm while still cutting above DIY cleaning capacities of home methods alone restoring heavily soiled areas.

How do I clean mildew from patio pavers?

Pre-wet the area first before applying cleaner to prevent absorption sinking mildew deeper. Use protective gear avoiding skin contact with bleach solutions. Scrub targeted mildew lines with a narrow bleach pen applicator. For wider growth between pavers, spray on hydrogen peroxide with Dawn dish soap sitting 10 minutes before thorough rinsing. Avoid plant contact with runoff. Repeat addressing remaining growth fully.

What patio maintenance prevents fast re-staining?

Proactive prevention measures between deep cleanings extend patios staying fresher longer. Examples include installing side screens blocking windblown debris and pollen contributing to dirty surfaces faster, removing furniture off-season avoiding rust imprint transfer, promptly hose rinsing spills before absorption, using furniture pads protecting placement areas and sealing cracks stopping further grime collection in damaged crevices developing.

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