Best patio cleaner: 6 tested solutions to try

Our experts have tested the best patio cleaners, and here are the ones they love the most, for easy, affordable cleaning with no hose required

Best patio cleaners graphic in green with our top 3 patio cleaners
(Image credit: Future)

On the hunt for the best patio cleaner to use in your garden? Whether for your worse-for-wear patio slabs, your old driveway, some dirty decking or even to brighten a garden ornament, we can help. An easy (and affordable) way to rescue your outdoor space without having to invest in the best pressure washer, patio cleaners are super convenient with no hose connection required.

Much to our garden's pleasure, we've been working to test a range of patio cleaners to determine which one is really worth your money and the verdict is in. We had two testers, one who has a dog, test these patio cleaners for us. Annie and Lindsey each tested a few solutions as per the bottle instructions and recorded their results. 

Some patio cleaners will need to be diluted with water, and others are ready to pour straight on. Also, if you're in need of a quick fix, then go for a fast-acting patio cleaner as some solutions take weeks to work and slowly show results over months. Be sure to check the weather forecast before applying your new patio cleaner. If rain is forecast, hold off. Similarly, don't apply patio cleaner in the middle of the day if the sun is shining. Instead, wait until the evening. 

Here's our verdict to help keep your patio gleaming all year round, for a cheap price.

The best patio cleaners to buy in 2022

How to apply patio cleaner

There are a number of ways that you can apply patio cleaner, depending on the size of your patio and the tools you have at hand.

The first method, and the method that most people will go for, is to dilute your patio cleaner as recommended and into a bucket that you have laying around. Then, just pour the solution on your patio, ensuring that you cover each part from corner to corner.

Next, it could be a good idea to buy a garden sprayer (like this one from Amazon (opens in new tab)) if the space you need to cover is somewhat sizeable – or you are less able to bend over or carry a heavy bucket. With a garden sprayer, you can load the diluted solution into a tank and begin covering your outside space kind of like you would do whilst using a pressure washer, only with less... pressure!

Last but not least, some patio cleaners are safe to use with a pressure washer (always double-check) to cover more area, and for a deeper clean. There are plenty of tips on how to use a pressure washer in our guide. 

How to choose a patio cleaner?

Some patio cleaners require more effort than others and need to be scrubbed into the patio flooring and then rinsed off. Others are 'spray and walk away'. These can be applied and left to work on grime, mould and algae as it dries, leaving a protective coating that continues to keep the surface of your patio clean for months.

Check the ingredients 
Some patio cleaners are not suitable for use on materials like marble, or if they come into contact with some metals. Dilute as directed. 

If the cleaner contains acid, it may not be possible to purchase it if you are under 18. Dilute as instructed. Test on a small area of your patio paving if you are unsure how it will affect the patio materials

Safety issues
Always follow the manufacturer guidelines for use and wear protective clothing and goggles when using patio cleaners as they contain harsh chemicals. Take care in case of splashes and dispose of waste thoroughly after use to avoid harm to humans or the environment. 

Check the manufacturer's instructions carefully to find out whether your patio cleaner is safe for children and animals to play and walk on after use. Most patio cleaners are toxic to aquatic life; look for the warning on the back and avoid using near ponds.

Choose the best weather for cleaning 
If it looks like rain soon after you've finished, it may wash away your cleaner before it has dried. If the weather is scorching, it could evaporate too quickly.

Don't forget, there are tons more tips on how to clean a patio in our expert guide.  

How we tested these patio cleaners

Patio cleaner testing process with tape on floor

(Image credit: Future)

We've been hard at work this summer testing patio cleaners, and the ones that we loved made it into this guide. Yes, we've tested all of the patio cleaners above, so that you can buy online with peace of mind.

Two members of the Gardeningetc team were on patio cleaner testing duties for us, splitting the load. One of which has a pet, so we've been sure to test pet-friendly formulas, too. You can read more details on how we test products and how we curate our buying guides. See our testers just below.