Whether you are cleaning paving slabs, patio slabs, stamped concrete, or block paving a lot of our readers have asked us how we can clean them without a pressure washer

The good news is, that there are several ways you can clean your patio without a pressure washer and this will also work with a concrete porch, driveway, sidewalk, and flooring.

You may also be interested in our other article – Will My Patio Cleaner Kill Plants? or How To Clean A Wooden Deck Without A Pressure Washer.

The main tools you will need are:

  • Stiff Brush and or/sponge.
  • Household ingredients such as baking soda and white vinegar.
  • Water hose.
  • Water bucket/can.

Let’s Have a Look At The Different Cleaning Solutions…

The very first thing you need to do is get rid of loose debris.

Getting Rid of Loose Debris

This might seem like quite an obvious solution to your problem, but if your main issue is loose dirt and debris, then I recommend using a stiff brush and a garden dustpan and brush.

In fact, if you regularly sweep your patio with a stiff brush once a week (more or less depending on how dirty and dusty it gets) and give it a quick sweep over with your garden dustpan and brush every few weeks to get rid of the big stuff, then you shouldn’t have any problems keeping your patio looking spic and span.

This is the quick and easy solution, however, if the dirt is more embedded and has been baked with the sun, then you will need to do a little more than just brushing.

For the next step, you need to produce your own homemade patio/concrete cleaner

Just remember, you can always purchase a commercial cleaner to get rid of fungal growth, moss, and dirt, but this may harm nearby plants and shrubs or can cause health issues if you breathe in the chemicals.

This is where a homemade cleaner comes in handy, which will break down the dirt and grease causing it to become easy to sweep up or vacuum away.

If you are looking at maintaining your patio, you may also be interested in – How Do I Keep My Patio From Flooding?

How to clean a concrete patio…

Use White Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the best natural cleaners you can use around the house. Not only is there a strong possibility that you will have a bottle lying around the house, but it is also safe to use (even around pets and children). This means you are not using any harsh chemicals.

Here’s how you would produce your vinegar cleaning solution:

First, you need to make sure that your patio or driveway is not damp before applying the vinegar solution.

Mix 1 part white distilled vinegar to 4 parts water (for example, if you have a small area of paving around 10 feet by 3 feet then you will need about two and a half litres of mixture).

Now use either a broom or stiff brush and scrub this into the tiles.

Then simply leave it for at least an hour – but can let it sit overnight if necessary.

Once this time has passed simply use your garden dustpan and brush (or sweeping) to remove as much of the dirt as possible. You may want to repeat this process until all dirt has been removed from the surface.

For those stubborn areas that require a little more scrubbing, mix 1 part water to 1 part white distilled vinegar and use your broom or stiff brush for this.

If you need to go over the area again, then simply use straight vinegar.

Wait for the solution to dry naturally – then sweep or hose down with water.

Related: How To Clean A Patio (Without Chemicals)

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is another household item that you probably have lying around in a cupboard somewhere. Not only is it cheap to use, but it is also environmentally friendly, especially if you are concerned about using harsh chemicals for your patio.

Here’s how to make your baking powder cleaning solution:

  1. First, you need to make sure your patio is free from any dirt or loose debris.
  2. Mix 1 part baking soda to 4 parts water (for example, if the area of paving that needs cleaning is ten feet by three feet then you will need about two and a half litres).
  3. Now use either a broom or stiff brush and scrub this into the tiles. Then simply leave it for at least an hour – but can let it sit overnight if necessary.
  4. Once this time has passed simply use your garden dustpan and brush (or sweeping) to remove as much of the dirt as possible. You may want to repeat this process until all dirt has been removed from the surface.
  5. For those stubborn areas that require a little more scrubbing, mix 1 part water to 1 part baking soda and use your broom or stiff brush for this. If you need to go over the area again, then simply use straight baking powder. Wait for the solution to dry naturally – then sweep or hose down with water.

A Vinegar and Baking Soda Combo

Did you know that when vinegar and baking soda are combined, hydrogen ions are formed in the vinegar, which react with the sodium and bicarbonate ions in the baking soda?

Carbonic acid and sodium acetate are two new chemicals produced as a result of this initial reaction.

This is great for you because it means you get two powerful elements coming together to work their magic on your patio, which you can then follow up by sweeping or hosing down.

  1. Mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water and add 3 tablespoons of baking soda.
  2. Follow the process mentioned previously and you will be sure to have a clean patio in no time at all!

Use Bleach

Using bleach on your patio is last resort measure really. You only really need to use bleach if you are dealing with a really tough stain. This is because it can be very harsh on the area surrounding your patio, so you need to really think about whether or not using bleach will do more harm than good.

If you decide to use bleach, then remember that it can spread quickly to other parts of the concrete. Make sure that you pour it into a spray bottle, so you can treat one small area of pavers at a time.

Again, give the bleach ample time to work its magic – preferably overnight if possible – before hosing down with water.

Remember that bleach will remove any natural staining on your pavers, so use this method sparingly or you may be left with an unsightly white patch!

Now That You Have Your Concrete Cleaning Solution Ready:

  1. Spray onto clean and dry pavers and leave for 1-2 hours, scrub gently using a push broom or stiff brush and rinse off with a garden hose.
  2. Wait for the surface to completely dry before walking on.
  3. Add 1 part bleach to 10 parts water (for example, if the surface of your patio is ten feet by three feet then you will need around one and a half litres).
  4. Now scrub this with either a stiff brush or broom into the tiles and leave for at least an hour – but overnight is best if your stain is particularly stubborn.
  5. Once this time has passed simply scrape away as much of the dirt as possible using heavy-duty tools like flat shovels or spades.

Bleach is also effective if you are looking for a way to get rid of mold on your paving stones. It is also effective at killing most forms of weeds and moss.

If you need to go over the area again, simply make up a fresh solution of bleach and water and use this as before (1 part bleach to 10 parts of water)

Hose down with clean water and leave the patio to dry naturally before walking on it.

Use Muriatic Acid

Most people have never heard of Muriatic Acid (also known as Hydrochloric acid) before, but it is a fairly easy product to get hold of. You can get it from hardware stores or you can get muriatic acid cleaning products online.

It works really well for breaking down dirt, oil, and algae on paving stones. It also provides an advanced clean that will not only remove any stains but also kill any mold spores that may be present on your patio paving slabs.

If you need to use this chemical then take the same precautions as you would when using bleach – i.e. make sure that your work area is well ventilated and wear protective clothing such as gloves and goggles at all times.

Just like the bleach solution mentioned earlier, take great care when using this chemical as it will strip away any natural staining that may be present on your patio paving slabs.

Use Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)

An alternative to Muriatic Acid is using TSP (tri-sodium phosphate).

It can be purchased from hardware stores and, like Muriatic acid, is quite powerful at breaking down dirt, grease, and mold.

Make sure you follow all of the guidelines provided when working with TSP.

Here’s how to use it as a cleaning solution:

1. Mix TSP with warm water, following the directions on the product you are using.

2. Prepare a second solution of clean water and dishwashing liquid (rinse aid is also beneficial but not necessary).

3. Spray or brush one section at a time with the mixture of TSP and warm water, then scrub with a stiff brush or broom until it looks clean to you. Do not let this cleaning solution dry out – re-apply as necessary.

4. Rinse this same area thoroughly with both plain warm water and the second solution of dishwashing liquid/water mix, making sure that no residue remains on the pavers after the rinsing process is complete.

5. Allow the surface to dry completely before walking on it.

Note: Some people think you need a pressure washer to get rid of dog urine on your patio. You don’t. You simply need some hot water and TSP to get rid of the urine smell.

FAQs

How do you clean a patio without a hose?

A patio may be cleaned without the use of a hose. To clean a patio without the use of a hose, you’ll need a bucket to hold your water.
A bucket can then take the place of the hose in this situation. Simply fill the bucket with the solution, pour it onto your patio without using a hose, and scrub with a brush.
Related: How To Clean Patio Slabs (Without A Pressure Washer)

How do you make concrete look new again?

There are 3 ways:
Pressure wash (the quickest and most environmentally friendly way)
Resurface (removal of old paint, coatings, etc; also the most expensive)
Add Stain or Sealing Coats (with the least expensive option being painted)
Related: How long does concrete need to cure before freezing?

Summary

There are many reasons why you don’t want to use a pressure washer when cleaning a patio. Pressure washing can remove paint and other finishes from building surfaces, damage the structural elements in concrete, and ruin vegetation in the area.

While pressure washing is effective at removing dirt, you have to take into account that it will damage the surface being cleaned in the process.

These DIY cleaning solutions are the best ways to clean a patio. They will leave the surface looking new again, without removing anything from the surface or damaging it in any way if you follow these instructions.

a woman sweeping her patio with a wooden brush with red bristles.
How To Clean Your Concrete Patio (No Pressure Washer Required)
About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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