How to clean a patio: tips for those with and without a pressure washer

Follow these easy cleaning tips and give your patio a refresh in time for summer

man cleaning patio
(Image credit: martin-dm / iStock)

Spring has finally arrived, meaning we're focusing on all things to do with garden maintenance. We've covered lots already, including top tips on making your lawn look perfect and how to clean your barbecue. However, one area that we’ve somewhat glossed over is that some gardens are grassless and are slabbed with concrete patios instead. 

It goes without saying but if you have a patio garden, you don’t need a cordless lawn mower to power through the thickest growths or trim around the edges. But, just because you don’t have ever-growing grass to tame, it doesn’t mean your patio doesn’t need the same level of care. In fact, patios can get extremely dirty, mouldy and grubby, especially if you have the best barbecue set up on them.

If you’re planning on spending lots of time outside this summer, a deep clean of your patio is definitely needed. To save you from any stress or confusion, we’ve put together this handy guide on how to clean your patio, with and without the best pressure washer at hand. 

Things to keep in mind when cleaning a patio

Before you start scrubbing, there are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning a patio. First, the type of cleaning you give your patio will depend on the type of patio you have. Specifically, you’ll need to look at the material of your patio. Common patio materials include concrete, porcelain tiles, brick and flagstone.

Depending on the type of patio you have, you’ll need to adjust your cleaning accordingly, as some materials are more susceptible to growth, dirt and mould compared to others. For example, patios made of paving bricks can grow mould easier than others, as the space between the bricks can absorb excess moisture.

Similarly, you’ll need to be wary of the type of patio cleaner that you use. Look for a cleaner that’s specifically designed for your type of patio. The main reason for this is that some patio materials can withstand harsh chemicals while others can’t, and you could end up staining or rubbing away the outer layer of your tiling if you use something too aggressive.

How to clean a patio with a pressure washer

The easiest way to clean a patio is by using a pressure washer. Whenever it comes to cleaning anything in or around your house and garden, you should check the suppliers’ instructions first as some patios shouldn’t be pressure washed. But if your patio can be cleaned with a pressure washer, follow these steps.

Best pressure washer 2022: image depicts pressure washer blasting decking

(Image credit: Canva)

Clear your patio

Clear your patio entirely of any plants, furniture, outdoor cooking equipment and decorations that rests on it. Not only does this prevent any of your possessions getting blasted with cleaning products, but you’ll also see all the hidden areas where dirt and mould has collected underneath your furniture.

Remove weeds

If you can see any weeds peeking out from between your patio slabs, put on a pair of the best gardening gloves and get weeding. For obvious reasons, you want to remove all of this detritus from your patio and put down some weed killer to prevent further growth. After you’ve done this, give your patio a quick sweep so it’s ready for an intense wash (and so you don’t accidentally dye it green with leftover weeds).

Set up your pressure washer

Depending on the pressure washer you own, set it up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Start on a low setting before increasing the pressure if you need to for tougher stains. Using a sweeping motion, clean section by section and take care around patio slabs that might be chipped or dented. Once your patio is clean, leave it to dry fully before putting your furniture back.

How to clean a patio without a pressure washer

For those who don’t have a pressure washer, you can still give your patio a deep clean – it just might take a little longer. Before you start, you’ll want to clear and de-weed the patio and then follow the below tutorial.

The best patio cleaner 2022

(Image credit: Canva)

Scrub with soapy water

Fill up a bucket with warm soapy water. You can use a washing up liquid and water solution or you can dilute patio cleaner in water. Using a brush or broom, pour the water on the patio a little bit at a time and section by section, and give the slabs a good scrub. This could take some time and a lot of elbow grease but it’s the best way to deep clean a patio by hand.

Use baking soda on tough stains

If your patio has tough grease or mould stains that soapy water isn’t lifting, try using a natural solution to get rid of them. Using either a vinegar or baking soda solution, put this on the stain and leave it for 20 minutes. Then scrub the solution off with a brush and wash it with clean water. Keep in mind, you’ll need to check if your patio can withstand this cleaning as the acidic properties of vinegar and baking soda can wear some tiles away.

Wash it down

To remove any stain residue or soapy water suds, finish by washing your patio down. You can do this with water in a bucket or the best garden hose. Let it completely dry before placing your décor back on the patio.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!