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Keeping patios and driveways clean

We are often encouraged to spruce up the exterior of our homes and we might concentrate on the garden and the exterior paintwork, but often forget about the patio or the driveway. Patios are always there, we walk on them, sit on them and sometimes even eat on them and all this takes its toll, and subtly over time the patio becomes discoloured and a bit shabby. So how do you go about it?

Preparation is important

The first thing to tackle is to get rid of any weeds and give the area a good sweep. It is important to get rid of any surface dirt as when you come to wash it you will just be moving the dirt around. When you have done the sweeping have a good look to see how dirty it is. If it isn’t too bad then a wash down with a garden hose may be enough. This is probably the case if you are one of those few people that do this regularly, if not then a bit more cleaning power is required.

Cleaning a patio or driveway

If the garden hose is not sufficient then it may be an option to use a pressure washer. Whilst it is appealing to blast the dirt away and get it over with, it may if used inappropriately, damage the patio surface. The pressure washer should have a high water volume and lower pressure to reduce potential damage to the concrete, block paving or tarmac. If possible an attachment can be used such as a rotawash or whirlaway which converts the spray via tubes which rotate to spread the pressurised water evenly over the surface. The tubes are contained within a cover which sometimes has a nylon skirt and the machine then operates on a similar principle to a hover mower.

The advantages of this system are that there is even cleaning and no overspray to ensure that the water goes on the patio and not on the operator! It may be that additional cleaning may be required using propriety stone cleaner, but in most cases this is not necessary. After cleaning the application of a stone sealant in paved areas could be useful to make the next clean up a little easier.

On patios, it is possible that this vigorous cleaning will disturb the sand between the paving slabs of blocks that make up the patio. In this case it will have to be replaced and brushed in. If you opt for a professional cleaner to clean the patio for you then they will do this. It may be more convenient to employ a contractor as if you don’t own a pressure washer you will have to hire one and you may not do as good a job yourself as you would like!

Once your patio or driveway is clean and tidy you will want to keep it that way, so regular cleaning one way to spread the load and keep your hard standing areas in good shape.

Do you have any helpful tips for cleaning patios or driveways?


By Martin Reece