Garden Advice

Cleaning Paving Slabs – 4 Easy Methods

A paved patio is an excellent addition to any garden and a perfect place to rest and relax in the warmer months with a sweet, refreshing drink in hand. However, a patio that’s never been cleaned can spoil the look of your green space and make your R&R far less pleasant. So, if you haven’t cleaned your paving slabs in ages, maybe it’s time.

But do you know how to clean paving slabs? Do you need a pressure washer? What if you don’t have one? Worry not! The experts at Fantastic Services have all the answers and are ready to share them with you!

Table of Contents:

So, if you:

  • Haven’t cleaned your patio slabs in a while
  • Are looking for a way to clean your paving slabs without a jet washer;
  • Want to know exactly what you will need,

Then keep reading, because this article is for you!

How to clean paving slabs

There are several ways to clean your patio, be it with or without a jet washer. In this post, we will go over exactly how to clean patio slabs, how to prepare and what tools and materials you need for each method.

Before you start

Before you get down to business, you’ll need to prepare and clear the paved area. So, here is how to do just that!

  • Move all furniture and plants away from the patio.
    Anything that can get in the way of a proper cleaning will need to be cleared away. Make sure your plants are a safe distance away from the area, especially if you opt for the bleach method.
  • Remove any weeds
    Weeds can be unsightly, but not only that, they can also cause damage to your paving or garden slabs. That’s why it’s a good idea to remove them as soon as you see them sprouting between your slabs. Or at least, take care of them as soon as possible. This will stop them from taking root in your patio, and causing further damage.
  • Sweep the area.
    Grab your trusty broom and sweep away any dust, leaves, twigs, etc. The patio should be completely free of debris to ensure the best results.
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How to clean patio slabs without a pressure washer

If you don’t have a jet washer and don’t want to rent one, don’t worry! You can still make your patio sparkling clean! So, without further ado, here are three simple ways to clean paving slabs without a pressure washer.

Cleaning paving slabs with soapy water

Soapy water and some elbow grease can often be enough to make your patio shine again. This method is suitable for light cleaning and general maintenance. Just make sure to check the soap’s ingredients before you start cleaning. Try not to use acidic soap on concrete and avoid products containing limestone altogether.

So slip on your gloves, grab your tools and let’s get to it!

What you need: bucket, large hard-bristled brush, protective gloves, warm water, liquid or powdered soap

Time needed: 1 hour.

  1. Prepare your cleaning mixture.

    Mix the soap and warm water in a bucket until it foams up.

  2. Test the solution.

    Before you start cleaning, test the mixture on a small spot to make sure it won’t damage the material.

  3. Pour the mixture on the affected areas.

    To make cleaning more manageable, you can separate the space into smaller sections. Pour some of the soapy water onto the dirty spots.

  4. Start brushing.

    Use a long-handled brush to make it easier for yourself. Keep brushing until all the dirt is dislodged and removed from your paving slabs.

  5. Rinse.

    Once you’re done, rinse the area with clean water to remove all the soap. A garden hose can come handy for this task.

And you’re done! If this method isn’t effective enough to deal with the heavy soiling on your patio, you can try a stronger solution.

How to clean patio slabs with bleach

If you decide to use bleach, you should take extra care, as the chemical can be dangerous. However, with the proper precautions taken, you can make your patio shine and get rid of weeds, too!

When using bleach, make sure no surrounding plants come in contact with the chemical, as any plant life will die otherwise. Don’t forget to wear protective clothing and check whether you can use bleach on the type of stone you have. Sodium hypochlorite is only suitable for natural paving slabs, as it will fade artificial stone over time.

What you need: protective gloves, large hard-bristled brush, warm water, bleach, watering can

  1. Prepare your cleaning mixture.
    The first step is to prepare your solution. You need to mix the bleach and the water together in a ratio of five parts water to one part bleach. Instead of using a bucket for this task, use a watering can instead, as it offers more control over where the bleach solution is poured.
  2. Pour the mixture on the slabs.
    Choose a small area first to test out the effectiveness of this solution. Once you’re satisfied with the results, you can continue to use the solution on a wider part of your patio. Just be sure to avoid getting any bleach on any surrounding plant life, as this could make them wither away and die, as mentioned above.
  3. Brush the slabs.
    You’re now ready to begin brushing the slabs with your bleach solution. Scrub until you see some foam form on the slabs.
  4. Let it sit.
    Let the bleach mixture sit and work its magic for 15 minutes.This will help the bleach work its magic and dislodge any hard grime and dirt from your slabs.
  5. Rinse.
    After waiting for 15 minutes, you’re ready to rinse off your slabs with clean water. Again though, make sure that the water run-off doesn’t go into your garden, affecting your plant life.

If you don’t want to use harsh chemicals to clean the patio slabs, you can move on to the next method.

Cleaning patio slabs with vinegar

Ah yes, white vinegar! The ultimate multifunctional cleaning ingredient. You can use it to clean pretty much anything around your home, and yes, that includes your paving slabs! It’s a great natural alternative to harsh chemicals. So, grab your supplies and let’s get to it!

What you need: bucket, protective gloves, large hard-bristled brush, warm water, white vinegar

  1. Prepare the cleaning solution.
    Make a mixture of 1:1 warm water and white vinegar.
  2. Pour onto the slabs.
    Pour the solution evenly onto the affected areas.
  3. Let it sit.
    Let the mixture sit and work for 20 minutes.
  4. Start brushing.
    Scrub the dirty spots clean with your hard-bristled brush.
  5. Rinse.
    Rinse the vinegar mixture off with clean water.

Now enjoy the great results and your spotless patio!

How to clean garden slabs with a pressure washer

If you own jet washing equipment, you’re in luck! You can clean your paving slabs with almost no effort at all! So, take out the machine and let’s begin!

What you need: Pressure washer, suitable detergent, water supply

  1. Connect the pressure washer.
    As pressure washers need a constant supply of water to ensure the job gets done effectively, you need to connect it to your main water supply, first.
  2. Fill with detergent.
    Depending on your pressure washer type, you might be able to fill it with detergent, which you can spray onto your patio, first. Leave this detergent on the patio slabs for between 5 and 10 minutes, so that it gets into all of the cracks and crevices.
  3. Spray the patio with detergent.
    Spray the cleaner onto the affected areas and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Switch the water pressure to medium.
    You’re now ready to turn on the water and spray! When doing so, twist the nozzle on the pressure washer’s variance lance to reach a medium pressure level. Once adjusted, you can begin spraying the water across your garden slabs. Use a left-to-right and back-to-front movement pattern, in order to get consistent coverage.
  5. Power wash the slabs.
    Spray the patio slabs with the jet washer, using the wide fan setting and spraying at a 45-degree angle. Go left to right and back to front, evenly covering all the stones. This will provide the most powerful cleaning action for your patio slabs.
  6. Disconnect the pressure washer.
    PAt this point, your patio should look clean and almost new! You can now disconnect the pressure washer and pull the trigger until all of the water has been emptied out. By draining your pressure washer, you’ll prevent it from getting damaged in the future. For example, water inside it might get frozen, which could lead to a contraction of your internal mechanisms, thereby getting the piece of equipment damaged. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to enjoy the fruits of your labour as you now know how to clean a patio with a pressure washer./li>
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Need help with cleaning your paving slabs?

Are you too busy to clean your patio slabs? Do you want the excellent results of a pressure washer, but don’t want to buy or rent one? Then, why not turn to the professionals? Fantastic Services offers an expert pressure washing service for your paving, decking and any areas that might need it! The specialists we work with will carefully and expertly power wash your patio and return its former glory!

Booking is easy! Just use our online booking form and choose a date and time that suits your needs!

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  • You can still clean your patio slabs well even without a pressure washer.
  • Soapy water is suitable for light cleaning and maintenance.
  • If you decide to use bleach, be careful not to get it onto the surrounding plants.
  • You can use vinegar as a good natural alternative to chemicals.
  • A jet washer is great for heavy-duty cleaning.


Did you find this article helpful? Is your patio now sparkling clean? Let us know in the comments below!

Image source: shutterstock / teekaygee

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