TipsCleaning a concrete patio with a pressure washer

Concrete patios are a popular choice because they’re long-lasting and durable. They’re affordable and very flexible – you can design the patio to fit the needs of your yard around anything else you may already have there. They’re also low-maintenance but do need the occasional cleaning. Read on to learn how to clean your concrete patio.

Supplies You’ll Need

Before you get started on cleaning your patio, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything you’ll need to complete the job. If you have a power washer, then you may not need anything else. If you don’t, there will be a few more items you’ll need to have.

Tools

To clean your concrete patio, you’ll need a leaf blower or a broom, a mop, a scrub brush (preferably one with a long handle so you can scrub standing up), and a hose. If you have a pressure washer, you can use that instead to clean your patio.
White vinegar and baking soda as eco-friendly options to clean a patio

Cleaning Products

You’ll need a cleaning product to use on the patio. Some use an all-purpose cleaner. Others use bleach with some liquid dishwasher soap mixed in.

Eco-Friendly Options

White vinegar is an eco-friendly option that also makes for a great cleaner and disinfectant. Mix in a little bit of baking soda.

Clear the Patio

In order to clean the patio, it first needs to be cleared off of everything that’s on it. The patio should be completely clear before you get started.

Remove Furniture and Items

Move all furniture and other items, including grills, tools, toys, etc. The patio will need to be completely clear of everything so you can clean the entire thing all at once.

Sweep Away Debris

Sweep the deck to clear it of any leaves or other debris. You can also use a leaf blower to clear away the debris. If there are weeds growing along the edges of your patio or between any cracks, make sure you pull these up as well.

Rinse with a Hose

Once your patio is completely clear, rinse it with a hose. This can get rid of some of the dirt ahead of time and any remaining debris. If you have a pressure washer, you can skip this step, as the pressure washer itself will take care of the rinse job as well as the clean.

Clean the Patio

Once the patio has been cleared and rinsed, you can begin to clean it. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you’ll need to clean the patio by hand.

Prepare the Cleaner

If you’re not using a pre-made cleaner, now is the time to mix the cleaner. If you’re using white vinegar and baking soda, first put one cup of baking soda into a bucket. Then add two cups of the white vinegar slowly. There will be foam, but when you mix it together, it’ll settle into your cleaning solution.

If you have a larger patio, you’ll need to increase the amount of cleaner you have. To do this, either double or triple the amounts of baking soda and vinegar. So long as the proportions remain the same, you can increase the amount however much you need to in order to completely clean your patio.

Once you have the cleaner ready, use a mop to spread it evenly across your entire patio.

Let the Cleaner Sit

After you’ve completely covered your patio in the cleaner, let it sit for at least 30 minutes. This will give the cleaner a chance to work into any stains or dirt that’s left on your patio.

Scrubbing Technique

Scrub the patio thoroughly. A wire-bristled scrub brush is the best kind to use and if you want to save yourself the back and knee pain of scrubbing on your knees, a long-handled brush is a good investment.

Rinse the Patio

After you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse away the cleaner. If you think that any of the vinegar may have dripped over the edge of your patio, also rinse the grass and plants in those areas so that the vinegar doesn’t stay on them. Then, let your patio dry before moving all of the furniture and other items back onto it.

Remove Difficult Stains

If you see that some stains have persisted after you’ve finished cleaning, you may need to give that particular spot some extra attention. You may also need a different type of cleaner to remove the stain.

Grease Stains

Grease stains are particularly tricky. If you didn’t take care of it when the stain first occurred, it will have settled deeply into the concrete. You’ll need either kitty litter or cornstarch and then a professional cleaner that specifically has a degreaser component to it. Follow the same steps as for cleaning the patio, but let the cleaner sit for a minimum of 24 hours. If the grease stain is particularly tough, you may need to let it sit for up to three days before scrubbing and rinsing.

Mildew

To rid your deck of mildew, use chlorine bleach. You can use either a spray bottle or a sponge mop, but be careful to put a tarp or towels over nearby plants and grass so you don’t kill them with the bleach. Depending on how thick the mildew is on your patio, you may need to let it sit for only five minutes, or it may take as long as 30 minutes.

Rust

If your patio furniture or your grill has rust on it, you can use oxalic acid. The oxalic acid can be by itself or a component of a commercial cleaner. Make sure you do any rust removal before cleaning mildew because bleach will help rust set in.

Protect from Future Stains

You can protect your patio from getting future stains by sealing it with a concrete sealer. Paint rollers are a good tool to use to apply the sealer to the concrete. Just make sure to start in the middle and work your way out to the edges so you don’t trap yourself in the middle with no way to avoid stepping on your freshly-applied sealer.
Cleaning an outdoor patio with a pressure washer

Using a Pressure Washer

A pressure washer blasts water onto your patio with such force that it removes most, if not all dirt and grime from it. Most cleaning jobs can be done without any kind of cleaner at all, making them a more environmentally friendly option. Make sure to get a pressure washer that is comfortable for you to handle so you can avoid injury.

Is it Easier to Use a Pressure Washer?

A pressure washer is a very convenient tool to have. It can make the cleaning process much faster and easier. Depending on the state of your patio and whether there are stains, you may be able to just use the pressure washer by itself. For stubborn stains, you may need pressure washer detergent.

Price

The price to purchase a pressure washer depends on how much pressure you need, but can range from $90 to $200. To rent one, it can cost between $35 to $144 per day, depending on the amount of pressure involved and whether you also need hot water.

Where Can I Get a Pressure Washer?

Most home improvement stores, like Home Depot or Lowes, will carry pressure washers and may have them for rent. Alternatively, you can purchase one online.

Proper Technique

To properly use a pressure washer, hold the wand at a forty-five degree angle to what you are cleaning. Whether that’s a patio or the side of your house, spraying the desired spot at an angle (and from a distance!) will help protect what you’re cleaning as well as provide an optimal clean. It’s also important to make sure you tackle small areas at once, or you may end up missing spots.

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