How to clean a patio

Discover how to clean a patio before winter arrives by following our simple, step-by-step guide...

how to clean a patio
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Once you discover how to clean a patio, you'll realise it's a really simple job that can make a big difference to the look of your garden. The great thing about patios is that they need very little maintenance and will last for years. In fact, all they need to look as good as new is a thorough clean a few times a year to keep them in tip-top condition. 

The best way to clean your patio depends on how dirty is it. For mild dirt, take a look at our guides to using soapy water or white vinegar to clean your patio. And even if you can't remember what colour your patio used to be, don't worry as we've got advice on using the best patio cleaner or even a pressure washer for cleaning dirtier patios, too.

Whichever cleaning method you choose, make sure you clear any furniture or pots out of the way before you start so you've got an empty surface to work with.

How to clean a patio with soapy water


Give your patio a deep clean before winter arrives and check the condition of the grout. If you can see cracks, chisel out and replace it now before the frost sets in and makes the cracks any worse.

1. If your patio is relatively new or is cleaned regularly, then soapy water should be enough to get it clean.

2. Mix warm water with a tablespoon of washing-up liquid in a bucket. 

3. Pour it onto the patio and use a stiff brush or broom to give it a scrub before rinsing with clean water. 

How to clean a patio with white vinegar

1. If you’ve got more set-in stains, make up a 50:50 solution of water and white vinegar, and then apply to the paving. A watering can with a rose head attached will mean you get even coverage. 

2. Leave the solution to soak in for around 20 minutes, then use a stiff brush to remove stains. 

3. Once you’re done, rinse off with clean water. 

TOP TIP: Although vinegar is eco-friendly, bear in mind that it’s acidic, so make sure you move any furniture or pots before you start to prevent staining.

How to clean a patio with a pressure washer 

how to clean a patio

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Before you start, make sure you're protected. Even if you're using the best pressure washer it can be a messy business, so pop on some old clothes and goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.

2. If you have one, attach your patio-cleaning head to your pressure washer. This looks like a large circle and makes quick work of cleaning a big area, so use it when you clean your drive, too.

3. If you don't have a patio-cleaning head, start on a low-pressure setting and concentrate on cleaning the surface of each slab individually.

4. Then, working quickly, use the jet to spray along the grout. Don't use too much pressure or concentrate on one area for too long as this will damage it.

How to use a dedicated patio cleaner

If your patio is really dirty, you might need to use a dedicated patio cleaning liquid. These formulas can often be used on decking, sheds and fences, too, so are perfect for giving the whole garden a clean.

Most patio cleaners need to be diluted with water. Some come in a bottle that attaches directly to your garden hose and then sprays out in the correct concentration. Alternatively, mix the solution in a watering can, attach a rose head and apply to the area.

Most patio cleaners need to be left on the surface, not rinsed off, and work over the next 2-3 days. Always check before you buy to make sure your chosen patio cleaner is safe to use if you have young children or pets.

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