How to clean patio pavers without a pressure washer – 6 simple steps for an immaculate patio

Experts reveal the gentle yet effective methods to give your outdoor area a deep clean

patio area with outdoor seating
(Image credit: Future PLC)

An annual deep clean will keep patio paving in good shape, and leave it looking its best ahead of the warmer months.

Overusing your pressure washer is one of the patio cleaning mistakes to avoid – whether you have learned this the hard way or simply don't have a pressure washer, we've put together a simple step-by-step to get your patio summer-ready without the need for powerful jets.

Here's how to scrub up your stone and mortar without a pressure washer.

How to wash patio pavers without a pressure washer

The good news is it's straightforward and uses basic cleaning products you'll have lying around, it just might be a little tiring, so get all hands on deck for this backyard cleaning task.

patio area with outdoor seating

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Prepare the space

If possible, clear your patio area entirely, moving all plant pots, outdoor furniture, and your best grill – and any backyard clutter – out of the way while you clean the space and allow the paving to dry. Putting furniture back prematurely could mean moisture gathers beneath the feet, for example, leaving unsightly marks.

And while you are having an outdoor spring clean it's a really good chance to assess whether everything is earning its place, and if not, do some backyard decluttering. See if you can repair or simply get rid of anything that is damaged. If it didn't get used last year, it's probably time to let go of it.

2. Remove weeds and sweep the area

Before you get to work cleaning, it's a good idea to remove weeds and moss, so you don't accidentally rub green coloring into the stone and mortar while sweeping. Some gardening gloves, available at Amazon, will make things much more comfortable. 

Preparation is key, so take the time to get rid of weeds, and sweep up dead leaves, and debris that will have been collected while we've kept cozy indoors over winter. Even after just a quick sweep, the space will be looking so much better. 

3. Wash with soapy water

The classic and easiest method is to wash your paving slabs with warm water mixed with dish soap, rubbing it in with a brush before rinsing it with water and allowing it to dry fully. This will take some elbow grease, sure, but an afternoon of cleaning is well worth it for a summer of cookouts and outdoor lunches with your patio looking immaculate. Clean outdoor cushions and furniture ready to use over the summer, too.

Bruce Rodriguez, the owner of LAX Concrete Contractors says dish soap and water will remove any dirt, grease, or oil that has accumulated over time. 'However, don't rely on this alone. You'll need to give the patio slab a good scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush, at Amazon, afterward,' he says.

Bear in mind the weather conditions, too; a warm, overcast day is ideal, much like when cleaning windows, because the cleaning solution will dry but not so quickly that it leaves behind soapy streaks.

4. Or, make a natural cleaning solution

Your paving is one of the many things you can clean with vinegar – just make sure you have white vinegar designed for cleaning, available at Walmart, rather than distilled vinegar, or you won't get the best results. 

It's also worth noting that vinegar is highly acidic and can degrade the concrete in between slabs and the pavers themselves, so be sure to rinse afterward, and skip this step if in any doubt. Gretchen Boyd, a cleaning professional at a New York-based cleaning company says a mixture of white vinegar and water is good for particularly tough stains, so if you've tried the dish soap and water and some marks still won't budge, this might help shift them.

Dilute white vinegar with water in a bucket, at Walmart (a 50:50 solution is fine), and apply this natural, eco-friendly cleaning solution to the paving slabs with a firm brush and rinse thoroughly.

Gretchen Boyd
Gretchen Boyd

Gretchen Boyd prides herself on running a cleaning company that provides excellent house cleaning services to residents and businesses in New York including the 5 boroughs and all surrounding areas.

5. Use a specialist cleaner

Try a specialist cleaner like Wet & Forget, at Walmart, which you spray onto the surface of the paving and leave. It can also be used on steps, fountains, patio umbrellas and other smaller outdoor areas. It's bleach-free and non-acidic but will remove mold, moss and grime without any scrubbing.

6. Add a sealant

A final, optional step is to apply a protective sealant to the slabs, says Gretchen Boyd. This gives extra shine, protects slabs from future staining and weathering, and generally keeps the patio looking its best.

patio area with outdoor seating

(Image credit: Future PLC)


What is the best homemade patio cleaner?

Jason Watson Todd, the founder of Terravita, a landscape design studio in Ibiza, recommends using either a 1:1 mix of water and carbonated water or a mixture of water and baking soda, to scrub up natural stone pavers and remove some mildew.

While it might feel a little laborious, you'll be glad you took the time to clean your space ready for lots of outdoor entertaining. Soften the look and blur the distinction between your interior and outdoor space with one of the best outdoor rugs, which will instantly update your patio. 

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.