How To Clean Outdoor Paving & Patio Slabs

  • Looking to clean accumulated dirt from the surface of your outdoor paving?
  • We run you through the best products and equipment to use in the UK.
paving being cleaned by a pressure washer

There are plenty of ways that you can clean your paving or your patio slabs. You don’t always need to use various cleaning products to get the best results, but they can help.

Some popular pavement and patio cleaning remedies don’t include commercial products, but there are some great ones out there that can make cleaning your outdoor area (and keeping it clean) much easier than you may think.

Cleaning without products

Cleaning your paving and patio slabs without any cleaning products is going to take time, effort, and a lot of elbow grease. This method is not recommended for individuals with mobility issues or the elderly, as it requires quite a bit of scrubbing.

You will want to set aside a couple of hours on a nice, clear and warm day if you’re going to try cleaning your patio without any products. Instead of cleaning products, just arm yourself with a fresh supply of water (either a hose or a bucket) and a scrub brush.

To save your back, you might consider obtaining a long-handled scrub brush, rather than using one of the smaller handheld ones. Handheld scrub brushes are fine for small areas, but they do mean that you’ll be down on all fours for quite some time.

With just water, a little soap, and a good scrub brush, you should be able to reduce the build-up of dirt and spills on your patio or pavement. Some stains won’t come off as easily, and you aren’t going to be able to bring a lot of life back to your garden by doing this, but you can still clean the area off.

Power washing

Although this method uses no products, you will still need a power washer. Not everyone owns a power washer, which doesn’t make this the best way to clean your paving and patio slabs. However, you could hire someone with a power washer to come and clean your patio for you.

There isn’t too much more to say about this method. Power washers will usually be able to get most of the dirt and grime off of your paving and patio slabs without the assistance of cleaning products. If you do hire someone to do this for you, they may still use products or soap, too.

dirt being cleaned from patio with a pressure washer
Power washing outdoor paving with a unique design.

Products that can help

There are plenty of commercial products that are on the market for patio and pavement cleaning. These can be easily located at reputable stores like B&Q, Argos, Wilko, and plenty of others. You can even find patio cleaning products on Amazon.

Patio Magic!

A popular patio cleaning product comes under the name of “Patio Magic!”. This product comes in a large, blue bottle, and can treat up to 85 square metres of paving. It’s fairly inexpensive, considering that you get 2.5 litres of product for the price.

Patio Magic! has the ability to control and kill algae and green mould without the use of scrubbing or pressure washing. There’s no bleach in the product, and it has antibacterial properties, too. As well as patios, you can use Patio Magic! on driveways, masonry, and other hard outdoor surfaces.

Additionally, Patio Magic! can be used indoors and as a pre-paint fungicidal wash. All you have to do is follow the directions to correct dilute the product, apply it, and leave it to dry. It takes a lot of the effort out of patio cleaning.

Ultima-Plus XP Ultimate Patio Cleaner

Ultima-Plus XP’s Ultimate Patio Cleaner is suitable for all outdoor hard surfaces, including patios, decking, and driveways. It’s a bit more expensive than Patio Magic!, but you also get twice the amount of product. So, technically, the Ultimate Patio Cleaner is cheaper.

This product is super concentrated and will show results on the cleaned area in just three days. You only need one-part Ultimate Patio Cleaner to nine parts water for this product to be effective, and there’s no acid or bleach in the product’s ingredients.

Ultimate Patio Cleaner is known as one of the best outdoor hard surface cleaners on the market. It has an extremely positive reputation, with hundreds of reviews.

Built-up dirt on an outdoor paved area
This can easily happen without the right TLC

Bleach use and warnings

You may find that one of the most cost-effective ways of cleaning paving and patio slabs is bleach and water. You won’t need to use a power washer or any expensive patio cleaning products, just whatever bleach you have in your home already.

With this method, there’s no need to go out and purchase anything new. Check under your kitchen sink or in your bathroom for bleach. Whatever you have will work for this one.

When you shouldn’t use bleach

Avoid using bleach if any of your paving slabs are man-made coloured concrete. Although bleach won’t damage these slabs immediately, it will if you continue cleaning them with bleach over a long period of time.

See Also

Additionally, bleach should not be used where the solution could run off into your garden. Bleach will kill all plant life and can damage any soil it gets into. If you are cleaning with bleach, try to block off your grass and plant life areas before using the product.

If you cannot do this, and product run off is bound to happen, it would be better to avoid using bleach or risk losing your garden.

When bleach is fine to use

Natural stone paving slabs can be washed with bleach, as can man-made slabs that were made with grey concrete (but, as we’ve mentioned, not coloured concrete).

When your patio or paved area is removed from any grass, plant life, or soil that exists in your garden. The more separated these areas, the more appropriate it becomes to use bleach to clean your paving slabs.

How to clean with bleach

  1. Use a cheap bleach product.
  2. Remove any potted plants and furniture from the area.
  3. Rid the area of large weeds by hand.
  4. Sweep the loose dirt from the area.
  5. Use the watering can or a hose to wet the area and give it its first scrub with a brush, ensuring that the entire area gets wet.
  6. Dilute the bleach with one-part bleach to five parts water. A watering can is perfect to distribute the solution over a paved area.
  7. Brush this bleach-water solution over the paved area, scrubbing with a long-handled brush.
  8. Leave the bleach on the paved area for approximately 15 minutes before rinsing it off with clean water.
  9. Return pots and furniture to their original places.
woman in yellow wellies sweeping leaves outside
Sweeping is important before starting the cleaning process.

Home remedies

For patios or paved areas where the slabs are made from concrete, there are a few home remedies that can be used in place of buying products.

Baking soda

A kitchen ingredient that’s used for almost everything at this point, baking soda can be mixed with water to clean dirt and grease off of paved areas. You can also add liquid soap to the mix for a deeper clean.

Baking soda and bleach can also be used together as a cleaner. Just be cautious mixing the solution together.  

Vinegar

Something we all have in our cupboards; vinegar can be used in two different ways as an effective cleaner – either by itself or as a mixture of one-half water and one-half vinegar.

The diluted version is great for everyday cleaning, while the full vinegar version is better when a more rigorous clean is needed.

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