How to clean a concrete patio (without a power washer)
- By: Ashley Saunders
- April 2021
The concrete patio is one of the most used areas within our garden. We use our patio for entertaining friends and family, BBQ on long summer days, lounging with a good book, even the kids enjoy playing on it! And so, you might wonder how to clean a concrete patio and keep it looking fresh!
For some, the easiest way to clean a concrete patio is to use a pressure washer but buying one can be expensive and requires an outdoor tap and power socket.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to keep your concrete patio well maintained and looking good. While you sheer scale of the task might frighten you a little, a clean patio is easier to enjoy for all the family!
Use a pressure washer
Before we get to several DIY methods, one of the easiest ways to clean a concrete patio is to use a pressure washer such as the affordable Kärcher 16736040. A pressure washer will clean the majority of dirt and debris off of your concrete but it will require an external tap and power socket.
As the name suggests, a pressure washer uses a high power force to remove dirt and debris that’s stuck. So, you should avoid aiming it at any plants or delicate objects which could be destroyed by the high pressure.
You might still need to clean your patio after pressure washing as it will only remove dirt and debris but not grease. But don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of solution to these issues below!
Use vinegar to remove patio stains
As a natural cleaner, Vinegar is safe to use on your patio and within your home. Mix a solution of white vinegar with equal parts water to create a superb stain remover for different surfaces.
It’s best to start cleaning your concrete patio by attacking the worst spots with a hard bristle broom. Simply spread the solution on the ground, leave for a few minutes and then scrub.
If the stain is stubborn and doesn’t move after a good scrub, then you’ll want to spray the surface with undiluted vinegar. Leave it to sit for around 10 minutes or so, then try scrubbing the area again. You should notice even the toughest stains start to shift.
Finish by using your hose to wash away both the cleaner and the loose debris created by the scrubbing.
Scrub with baking soda
Baking soda is another natural, environmentally-friendly way to clean a concrete patio. Start by mixing 90 grams of baking soda with 4 litres of water to create your natural cleaning solution. You can even add a few squirts of washing up liquid to make it a little stronger.
Take your solution and pour it into a spray bottle. Next, spray it on any stains or the entire patio surface and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Doing so allows the baking soda (and detergent) a chance to break down the dirt and grime.
You then want to give your patio a good scrub. You should see the grime begin to come off with ease. Finish the job by rinsing your patio down using a hose.
Remove crayon stains with an oil-based cleaner
It’s quite likely you have a can of WD-40 in your home. But you might not be aware that this oil-based cleaner is superb for remove stains made by non-washable crayons. Simply, spread on the area, let it soak and then scrub with a short, stiff-bristled brush. Finally, rinse the area with water.
Try laundry detergent on grease stains
If you have grease stains on your concrete patio, then try mixing a paste of laundry detergent and water. Apply the paste to the stain, cover it tightly with cling film, using parcel or gaffer tape to secure it to your concrete surface.
Let it soak for 24 hours, then remove the cling film, scrub and rinse with water. You should find your greasy stains are gone! If not, repeat as it might take a few applications to remove heavy stains.
Clean a concrete patio using bleach
As your last resort, you can use bleach to clean a concrete patio. Bleach is an extremely potent and dangerous chemical, you should keep bleach away from children and pets. You should wear gloves and a mask while working with bleach and thoroughly wash any area you’ve used it on.
That said, bleach is especially effective on really tough stains or with sticky points of grime.
Mix equal amounts of bleach and water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle as this will enable you to spread the mix more evenly. Spray the solution onto any stained area and allow it to sit for around 10 minutes.
Be careful not to spray a lot as the excess could run off the patio on to your lawn or flowers, killing both in the process. When the 10 minutes are up, use a stiff brush to scrub the stains off. You should find stains are easy to remove.
After you’ve scrubbed the area, you should adequately rinse off the area with your hose and leave it to dry before using your patio or replacing furniture and objects.
Best way to remove oil stains from a concrete patio
If you can’t seem to remove oil stains from your patio by scrubbing with a strong detergent, then you’ll need something more aggressive.
Your best option is to use a commercial concrete cleaner or degreaser. Typically these are concentrated alkaline soap. Loosen any oil stains by simply scrub the product into the concrete surface then use a strong detergent to fully remove the stain.
That said, degreasers don’t break down the oil. So they aren’t effective on concrete that is heavily contaminated or has been contaminated for a long time. Also, they are more effective on porous concrete as opposed to concrete with a hard or dense finish.
Tips when trying to clean a concrete patio
Regardless of which method you use to clean a concrete patio, it’s worth starting with a small area that isn’t obvious. If something goes wrong, then you haven’t ruined your entire patio and you can experiment with another method.
Even if you use strong chemicals to remove dirt and grime, you might need to apply the solution a few time. This is perfectly normal, so don’t give into your stains if they don’t shift straight away!