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Need to clean your concrete patio but don’t have (or don’t want to use) a pressure washer? Here’s how to do it without one. Read on!
A home’s outdoor patio is the perfect place for summertime BBQs and evening s’more roasting sessions. It’s a great spot to catch up with old friends, bond with new ones, or get in some much-needed family time.
That is unless it’s completely filthy and in desperate need of a cleaning. A patio is definitely prone to some wear in tear over the years, especially if it’s completely exposed to the elements. Cleaning the patio surface should be done every year (if not twice a year), but it’s a task that often goes forgotten.
Concrete is the most traditional and versatile material used to construct outdoor patios, mainly because it’s durable and fairly inexpensive. The other good news is that it’s relatively easy to clean, but only as long as you choose the right supplies and products.
Reasons to Avoid Using a Pressure Washer
Using a pressure washer is the go-to method among homeowners for cleaning a patio (and pretty much any outdoor surface), but it’s not always the best way to do it. This is good news since many homeowners don’t own pressure washers, and renting them for the day can be pricy.
Another reason to avoid using a pressure washer on concrete is that it can potentially lead to damage. This isn’t likely on low-pressure settings, but high-pressure washers can cause cracks and chips on the surface. Algae, mold, and mildew love to burrow inside these cracks, making future cleaning much more difficult.
The last reason has to do with overall safety. Although a pressure washer is generally safe when used properly, it’s still considered a power tool. If you’ve got little ones or pets running around, it’s best to just wash your patio the old-fashioned way.
There are, however, situations where turning to a pressure washer can be extremely useful. But if you don’t have one or you’re not interested in using one on your patio, the thing to remember is that you’ve got other options.
What You’ll Need to Get Started
Before getting down and dirty (or should we say, clean?), take a good long look at your patio. It’s important to know what you’re trying to clean before getting started; this will help you to choose the product that will have the best results.
Are there caked-in stains? Is there discoloration? What about leaves and debris? The answers to these questions determine what you’ll need to complete this task. Generally speaking, though, most patio cleaning jobs require these supplies:
- An outdoor broom (preferably a push broom)
- Some type of stain remover (preferably in powder form)
- A scrubbing brush
- A large bucket
- A hose and access to a water source
- A pair of rubber cleaning gloves
The stain remover is only necessary if you’re attempting to remove stains from the patio’s surface. If you are, Tide Oxi works really well, and the same goes for Oxi Clean. You’ve also got the option to use greener cleaning products – the choice is yours.
5 Steps to Cleaning Your Concrete Patio
So you’ve got the supplies you need, and the sun is shining outside, so it’s time to get started. The following steps will work well on any concrete surfaces, including driveways, porches, and of course, patios.
Step 1: Remove Everything from the Area
This might seem like an obvious first step, but you’d be surprised by how many people attempt to scrub away stains while working around the patio furniture. You’re much better off removing everything from the area so that you have a completely clear space to work around with nothing getting in your way.
Step 2: Clean Surface Level Dirt and Debris
Next, you’ll want to use your push broom to sweep away any leaves, dirt, and other debris. You can also use a powerful leaf blower if you have one at your disposal. The goal is to have the surface as clean as possible before you start scrubbing, so feel free to sweep over the space multiple times before moving to the next step.
Step 3: Prepare the Cleaning Solution
Now is when things start to get exciting. Follow the instructions provided on the cleaning product you’ve chosen to create your stain-fighting cleaning solution. Powdered detergents typically come with a scooper in the container, so just read the label to determine the proper ratio of powder to water.
Mix the solution in a large bucket, and keep in mind that you will need to lift the bucket, so avoid filling it with too much water. Once it’s mixed, pour some solution on a portion of the patio. Avoid pouring it all at once since you’ll be focusing on small areas at a time.
Step 4: Start Scrubbing!
The solution’s been mixed and poured, so now it’s time to let the real work begin. Using a handheld scrubbing brush, start scrubbing the concrete, focusing most on areas with the heaviest stains.
Use the push broom to spread the cleaning solution out evenly over the patio as you go. For faster, more effective results, feel free to recruit other members of the family or invite a few friends over to help out.
Step 5: Rinse Thoroughly and Enjoy Your Clean Patio
Once you’ve scrubbed out all of the stains, use your garden hose and rinse thoroughly. Just be careful of where you aim the water – a lot of cleaning products contain chemicals that can harm plants. The push broom comes in handy for guiding the water away from your home’s grass and plants.
To best see the results, wait for the patio to dry. That way, you’ll be able to determine if you missed a spot and need to do one more pass over with the scrubbing brush. If everything looks good, put everything back in its place and start enjoying your sparkling clean patio space.
Of course, there are other ways of getting your patio clean, but using a bit of stain remover, water, and elbow grease works as well as any other method.