Cleaning patio surfaces can seem like a major chore, but it doesn’t have to be. Once or twice a year is all it takes. Here are some tips to keep your outdoor living space fresh and inviting.
Empty the Area
Clean the entire surface of your deck or patio, including under the furniture. Don’t try to save time by spot cleaning. That only allows dirt to build up until it becomes a problem or an eyesore. Move furniture, grills, and appliances out of the way where they won’t obstruct or be affected by the cleaning process.
Cleaning Patio Surfaces
Always begin with a good sweep of the area. If you have a blower, it is not a bad idea to use it to dislodge dirt, leaves, and debris in corners and crevices. With the space cleared and swept, you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get down to cleaning.
Understand the Type of Surface
Before cleaning patio surfaces, it is important to understand their characteristics. Hard materials can withstand a good bit of scouring, but your cleaning method may vary depending on the texture and porousness of the material. Textured and porous surfaces tend to soak up stains and grease. Crevices can provide a place for mold to grow.
Concrete, Natural Stone, and Manufactured Pavers
Hose off and scrub surfaces with a stiff brush to loosen dirt. Water and mild detergent will usually remove mold, mildew, and stubborn dirt. Concrete and some stones are porous and susceptible to staining- and will absorb spills like grease from grills. Remove these with a mild detergent or degreaser and a stiff brush.
Decking – Wood, Vinyl, and Composite
Wood decking is particularly susceptible to mold and mildew, especially in shady, damp areas. Left untreated these can damage your deck and its structural integrity. Wash decking with water, mild detergent, and brush as you would concrete, but take care not to damage or scar wood surfaces.
Pressure washing may be necessary if the patio has not been regularly cleaned or if mold and mildew are a serious problem. Use a little mild detergent in the tank and then rinse.
Remember that misused pressure washers can cause injury. Keep pets and children out of the area and never point the pressure washer spray at your feet or another person. Water from a standard residential pressure washer at 1,500 PSI can cut through skin.
Avoid Bleach and Strong Chemicals
Avoid the temptation to treat surfaces with bleach to kill mold. It does kill mold, but it will also remove color from your surface material, especially decking. There are a number of commercially sold products that can be used to treat and remove mold and mildew safely.
Your outdoor living space is your sanctuary. Cleaning patio surfaces a couple of times a year will make it a welcoming and pleasant place to enjoy with family and guests all year long.