Pavers are a great alternative to concrete walkways and patios. They’re easy to install, versatile and durable.
While pavers do provide a lot of advantages, cleaning them can be slightly difficult.
You can clean pavers in many different ways. This guide will help you choose the best one for you.
Before you start
It’s important to remember that all pavers are made from different materials and each will have its own recommended cleaning method.
Some of the methods listed below may cause irreparable damage to certain types of pavers.
Your first step should always be to check with the manufacturer for their recommended cleaning steps.
Before using any cleaning method on your pavers, try a small sample area somewhere less visible, to see how the pavers hold up.
Preparing your pavers for cleaning
Before cleaning pavers, brush or sweep well to remove leaves, dirt and grime from the surface of the pavers.
If you are dealing with a large area, use a leaf blower to remove the dirt from your paver surface.
You can also use a pressure washer to spray away any loose debris from your pavers.
Cleaning pavers with a pressure washer
Using a pressure washer is the best way to clean pavers.
A pressure washer blasts away dirt, algae and other stains from your pavers. The pressure washer will also help remove weeds growing between the pavers.
Using a pressure washer is fast and will save you time compared to cleaning your pavers by hand with a brush or sponge.
What is the best PSI (pressure) setting? This depends on how dirty your paving stones are, but we recommend starting on a low setting and working up.
Keep in mind that too much water pressure can damage your pavers and weaken their structural integrity over time.
The following PSI settings should work for most surfaces:
- Concrete: 1,000-2,500 psi
- Brick: 1,000-1,500 psi
- Wood: 500-1,200 psi
Many people make the mistake of using a zero degree nozzle when they’re cleaning their stone paver walkway or patio.
The zero degree nozzle provides maximum water pressure. It can cause damage to soft surfaces like wood decking but it can also pit or etch concrete paver blocks as well as hard stone surfaces like granite or marble.
Instead of using a zero degree nozzle you want to look for one that has at least three additional degrees of spray nozzles such as 15 degrees or 25 degrees so that you have more control over where the water hits your surface without causing any damage to it.
Cleaning pavers with bleach
While there are commercial paver-cleaning products on the market, you can save money by mixing your own solution of bleach and water.
- Take a standard spray bottle that you already own, or purchase one for about $1 at a dollar store.
- Fill the spray bottle with a ratio of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
- Use rubber gloves to protect your hands from the harsh chemical, and wear protective eyewear to prevent the bleach from splashing into your eyes.
- Spray each paver with an even coating of the bleach solution, then allow it to set for 10-15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with water.
Cleaning pavers with vinegar
Vinegar is a safe, biodegradable cleaning solution that helps you easily clean your pavers without harming plants or pets or the soil beneath.
- Spray on a 50/50 vinegar and water solution.
- Scrub with a long-handled brush or broom.
- Rinse off with the garden hose.
- For limestone pavers, do not use any acid-based cleaning solutions such as vinegar. Instead, use the pressure washer method above or a product m,ade specifically for limestone pavers.
Cleaning pavers with bicarbonate soda and vinegar
Another cleaning mixture you can use to clean pavers is bicarbonate soda and vinegar.
You will need: Bicarbonate soda, white vinegar, a scrubbing brush, a bucket and some water.
Fill the bucket with lukewarm water and then add the bicarbonate soda, making sure it dissolves properly. Then add a little bit of white vinegar.
Pour the solution onto the stained areas on your paver surface and use the scrubbing brush to apply it thoroughly.
Afterwards, rinse off all the remaining residue with a hose or pressure washer.
If there are some stains leftover on your paver surface after rinsing it off, you can use more of this cleaning mixture as described above.
How to clean pavers with Napisan
Napisan is a common laundry product that contains sodium percarbonate and is used to remove stains and whiten clothes.
It works well on patio paving as it will effectively clean up biological stains like algae, moss, and lichen.
To use Napisan on pavers, simply make a mixture of Napisan and water and apply the solution using a brush or broom and leave for 20 minutes before rinsing the mixture away with clean water.
How to clean pavers with dishwashing detergent and water
Regular dishwashing detergent can make a suitable cleaning solution so long you’re not dealing with any tough stains. This method is a good option to try if you have grease stains such as those from a BBQ.
- Hose down the area with water. Pour a little detergent as needed directly onto the pavers.
- Scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. Rinse off the suds and see if you’re satisfied with your work.
- Repeat steps 2-4 if necessary to remove any stubborn grease or grime.
How to remove stains on concrete pavers
If you need to remove stubborn stains from your pavers, it takes a little more effort than washing them.
Here’s how to do it:
- For grease and oil stains, use a strong detergent or degreaser and scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. You can also use a commercial paver cleaner that contains benzalkonium chloride. Laundry detergent is not as effective on oil because it doesn’t have the same cleaning power.
- For paint stains, you can use an alkaline cleaner, which is available at most home improvement stores. The instructions will be on the back of the bottle, but in general, you should apply the product and let it soak for 15 minutes before scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush. Make sure to wear gloves during this process; alkaline cleaners can be caustic on the skin.
- To remove rust stains from brick or concrete pavers: create a paste of cream of tartar and lemon juice and spread it over the stain. Let sit overnight before rinsing away completely with water in the morning—or just leave that part to your pressure washer.
How to protect concrete pavers
If you want to keep your pavers looking as good as new, you need to protect them from the elements.
After you’ve cleaned your stone patio with a power washer it’s important to seal them with an appropriate sealer. This means they stay protected from further staining going forward from things like food spills or grease stains left behind from bbq grills because usually once those types of liquids get into porous stone materials they’re very difficult to get out.
If you follow these steps, you can maintain the aesthetic appeal of your pavers and make sure they last for years to come.
To seal concrete pavers:
- Ensure that your pavers are completely dry before sealing.
- Clean the surface of all dirt and debris using a pressure washer or a stiff brush.
- Make any repairs necessary using epoxy mortar or matching paver sand (also known as polymeric sand).
- Apply a sealer made specifically for concrete surfaces (eg: masonry sealer). Water-based products are easier to apply but not as durable as solvent-based products. Read the instructions carefully on the product packaging so you know how long it will take to cure before walking on it again, and whether it is suitable for outdoor use in cold conditions if required.