When your patio was first installed, it was a thing of beauty. You spent a great deal of time and money to lay its foundations, perfect its slope from the house, and lay the smoothest concrete finish, or chose the best of the paving stones available to you. Now, there are oils, sand, dirt, grease, and grime from dirty shoes, the barbecue, or perhaps even a car or motorcycle used the area to park on for a time. As concrete, stone, and bricks are porous, they, unfortunately, absorb stains.
With furniture on them, they are sometimes hotbed sites for mold and mildew to grow in damp and shaded areas. Rainwater just isn’t enough to clean your patio perfectly, though. You might not own or have access to a pressure washer for a fast and effort-free cleaning exercise, but using a pressure washer actually uses a lot of water that you don’t feel comfortable wasting, and using a pressure washer might even exacerbate cracks in the concrete and paving, and you don’t necessarily want to wash away the soft outer layer of the stone, bricks, and concrete with the high-pressure jets of water from a pressure washer. We have the answer for you on how to clean a patio without a hose.
If you have no access to a pressure washer or your patio doesn’t have space for a pressure washer, a brush, broom, bucket, and lots of elbow grease will get your patio back to its cleanest state. There are many solvents, detergents, and home remedies that are proven to clean patios, and each one works on a specific surface best.
But, if it is so much effort to clean a patio, and it is an outdoor area, why even try to keep it clean? As a responsible and proud homeowner, you want it to look fresh and clean. This is, after all, a relaxing space.
Before you grab your bucket, brushes, and broom, you need to first declutter your patio of any furniture and fixtures so you can reach every corner of the patio. It must also be noted that each patio surface type will have a specific and special cleaner you can use to aid in the cleaning process. A trip to your local hardware and the DIY store will result in a range of cleaning products aimed at just your patio’s surface. The right product will reduce the amount of elbow grease needed later.
For concrete patios, there are a number of specialist concrete cleaning products available from your local hardware and DIY store. These are effective at removing stains and greases from concrete and they will greatly help to reduce the intensity of the cleaning process. The same can be said of paving stones and bricks: ask your local DIY store’s expert to pint out the best cleaner. If, however, you have no access to those, there are other household products that you can use:
• Lemon juice and hot water are great at combating stains: mix one cup of lemon juice for every bucketful of hot water. Spread this solution over the affected patio areas and leave it to sit for 10 minutes before you tackle it with a scrubbing brush. Simply rinse it off to reveal how much of the dirt is lifted from your patio’s concrete and paving.
• White vinegar is great for removing rust stains from patio surfaces. As with lemon juice, mix one cup of white vinegar per quarter of your bucket’s water level. After laying that liquid mix for 10 minutes, you need to scrub the stains with a hard-bristle brush.
• Laundry detergent is another safe product you can use on your patio to remove rust stains and lift oils and greases from concrete. Mix two cups of laundry detergent into a bucket of water and then scrub it into the surface of your patio.
• You can pour baking soda over the stains to settle into the pores of the concrete, stone, or bricks. After 10 minutes, use the hard-wire brush by dipping it into a bucket of hot water to scrub the stained and dirty areas. The boaking soda will fizz when it comes into contact with water and that abrasive action will help lift the grime.
• Trisodium Phosphate is ideal for cleaning the really messy stains. This chemical is like baking soda, but it creates a stronger cleaning agent due to its chemical make-up. Trisodium phosphate is a food additive so it is safe to use.
• Bleach is a great way of staining the marks, spots, grease, and grime, and in loosening the mold and mildew on your patio. You need to be careful when working with bleach and don’t allow the bleach to run off into your grass or flower beds as it will kill plants. Also, don’t allow pets or children near the patio for 48 hours after you’ve rinsed and washed the bleach away.
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Steps on How to Clean a Patio Without a Hose:
If you have no access to a pressure washer or hose to clean your patio the tools available to you will still clean the patio as effectively, only that it will require more time and effort.
For this task, you will need a bucket; a hard-wire brush or broom; a specialized cleaning agent as mentioned above for your type of brick or stone paving, or concrete cleaner; a bag of sawdust, kitty litter or sand; and, a broom.
Remove all furniture and pot plants from your patio. Using a broom, sweep the patio clean to remove the surface dust, grime, and debris so that you can assess exactly which areas you will need to concentrate on.
Using the sawdust, kitty litter, or sand, sprinkle and spread this over the worse-affected areas of the patio. You should not be able to see your patio’s stains from beneath the sawdust, kitty litter, or sand. What these do is absorb stains, greases, and oils from your patio. It is recommended to leave the sawdust, kitty litter, or sand on your patio for 12-24 hours to give it the best possible odds of soaking up the grime.
After the sawdust, sand, and kitty litter has sat for 12-24 hours, you will need to remove that surface dirt with a broom. It is safe for your plants if you sweep the sand and sawdust onto the grass or an adjoining flower bed. For kitty litter, it is best to sweep it up and brush it into a dirtbag. If your patio is in an apartment, you should use a brush and pan to scoop up that dirt. Make sure that you thoroughly sweep the surface, even getting the dirt from the cracks in the concrete and pores of the brick or stone paving.
Fill your bucket with hot water, add your patio’s surface cleaning agent to create a detergent, and use a hard-bristle brush to deeply scrub every inch of your patio clean. The deeper you scrub, the greater the cleaning effect will be.
Rinse the area with clean water using buckets. If you have only cleaned the stained areas, make sure to rinse just those areas well and sweep the dirt off your patio. You don’t want the dirt to settle onto any clean, unaffected areas of the patio.
Assess the stains and the grime. Has this first cycle of cleaning removed all your patio’s stains, oil marks, or grease? If not, repeat steps #4 and #5.
Once your patio is clean of stains, oils, greases, and grime allow 24-48 hours for your sun to dry the patio. Once you’re certain it is dry, you can replace your furniture, pot plants, and other objects to the patio. The reason you need to make sure it dries is that you want to prevent damp areas: those are the breeding grounds for mold and mildew to grow over time.
It is always recommended to prevent stains on your patio, but if it does happen you know how to treat it. To maintain your patio looking fresh, you will need to scrub it once or twice per year. Cleaning patios with a pressure washer isn’t the only way nor it is always the best option.
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