A pressure washer might seem like one of those tools that you never really get quality use out of, but it can be a highly valuable tool. Whether you are using it to clean dirty siding, hose down toys for the kids that have been in storage, or spray down dirt that has dried onto the sidewalk, a pressure washer is highly useful.
It can also be used to clean a backyard concrete patio in an effective way. Keeping your patio clean will make it more aesthetically pleasing, creating a great hangout space for you, your friends, and your family to enjoy.
But a pressure washer is not something that all of us have available. They can be a bit pricey and you may not wind up using it enough to justify the costs. That leaves you wondering what to do in instances where you need something deeply cleaned but don’t have a pressure washer to get the job done.
Not only that, a pressure washer can actually do damage to your home if you don’t have the skills to properly operate it. It can result in serious damage such as pitting lines or surface degradation if you leave the spray in the same place for too long. There can also be damage to the mortar that is in between the brick since the joint sand can be washed away.
So, how would you go about cleaning a concrete patio if you don’t have a pressure washer to do the job? There are other ways to keep your patio looking fresh and clean without having to invest in a pressure washer.
1 – Getting Rid of Loose Debris
If the issue is loose dirt and debris on your concrete patio, the solution is relatively easy: sweep it or spray it away. You should regularly sweep your concrete patio anyway to keep dirt and grime from building up.
You can actually sweep most dirt and debris away as long as it is loose and has not ingratiated itself into the concrete of the patio. Even if it has begun to set in initially, you can use a hose to get rid of some of that built up dirt so long as it hasn’t been there for too long.
But then there is the issue of buildup of dirt and grime on your patio. When that happens, there are a number of cleaning solutions that can be implemented to get some of that old dirt and grime up without putting it at risk through the use of a pressure washer.
When there is a buildup of grime or something such as fungal growth, you can use commercial cleaners to get the job done. Keep in mind that the harsh ingredients in these cleaners may impact how the patio looks, have a negative effect on neighboring plants, or could cause issues if they are breathed in.
Thankfully, there are also alternatives to using those household cleaners that will be much safer for all involved and better for the environment.
2 – Using Vinegar
Vinegar is actually a natural cleaner and is quite safe to use not only on your patio, but throughout your home. All you have to do is mix white vinegar with equal parts water and it can be used as a stain remover for different surfaces.
When cleaning a concrete patio, you will want to go at heavily soiled areas using something a bit stiffer, something such as a hard bristle broom. If the stain is still not coming up after a good scrub, you will want to spray it with undiluted vinegar and give it around 10 minutes or so to sit.
When the vinegar has had a chance to set, you can then scrub it again. This should pull up pretty tough stains with relative ease. Then you can simply use your hose to spray away both the cleaner and the loose debris created by the scrubbing.
3 – Using Baking Soda
Another natural, environmentally-friendly method of cleaning your concrete patio is to use baking soda. If you have a soiled hardscape, try mixing a half cup of baking soda or so into about a gallon of water to create your natural cleaning solution. If you want something a bit stronger, you can even add in about an eighth of a cup of liquid dish detergent.
When you have created your concoction, spray it on the stains (or on the entire surface of the patio if you want a total clean) and let it sit for about 20 minutes. This gives the baking soda (and detergent) a chance to break down the dirt and grime.
Finally, give the patio a good scrub. You should see the grime begin to rise with relative ease. When you have successfully scrubbed the area, you can then use the hose to rinse off the area and begin enjoying your freshly cleaned concrete patio once again.
4 – Using Bleach
Using bleach on your concrete patio should be a last resort when dealing with really tough stains or with sticky points of grime. Remember that bleach is an extremely potent and dangerous chemical and it should be kept away from both pets and children for their safety.
You will also want to take the proper protective measures. Use gloves to keep the bleach from contacting your skin and a mask to avoid having to inhale the fumes. From there, mix the bleach in with water equally and then put that solution into a spray bottle so that you can avoid a concentration of bleach in a particular area.
When you have put together your bleach mix, spray the solution onto the stained area and give it around 10 minutes or so to sit. You do not want to spray a lot because it can then begin to flow off of the patio and onto the grass or adjacent flowers. This is very, very bad for those things so avoid doing that.
After the 10 minutes have passed, use a deck brush or something stiffer to scrub the stains off. Because the bleach solution is powerful, you shouldn’t have a hard time getting the stains out. Just make sure that you adequately rinse off the area with your hose after you’ve gotten those stains out.
Bleach also has another effective use: getting rid of mold on patio stones or pavers. Your solution can also be used to kill most forms of weeds and even some unwanted plants. Just use it cautiously because bleach can be deadly for plants that you actually want.
If you do use bleach, let your concrete patio dry fully before you return any objects or furniture back to the space. Dampness actually attracts sea weeds such as green algae and moss, especially for patio stones. If the patio doesn’t have a direct source of sunlight, find a way of getting rid of that moisture because it can result in unwanted growth and result in even more cleaning or other work.
You may also find that ammonia can clean the patio concrete, too. Important note: do not, under any circumstances, mix bleach and ammonia. It creates fumes that can be extremely dangerous if inhaled, especially in a closed off space.
5 – Using Muriatic Acid
There is something called muriatic acid that is actually great to get out really tough stains, especially on surfaces such as concrete patios. If you have dried grout or rust, this is a very powerful material that can likely do the job.
Just as when using bleach, you should use extreme caution as it is a highly toxic chemical. Wear gloves and protective eyewear when you use it and be sure to follow any manufacturer instructions as well. But when used the way it is meant to be – and safely – you can have a very powerful cleaning solution for those tough stains on your concrete patio.
6 – Using Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)
TSP is mixed in with water to create an effective cleaning solution. When you have created your solution, simply scrub it onto the stained area with something such as a nylon brush or a thick bristle brush to create an effective tool for removing tough stains.
From there, continue scrubbing until the stain is fully removed. After that, all that is left is to spray the area with a hose to rinse away all of the loose debris and your cleaning solution. Best of all, you can find TSP in most home improvement stores for generally easy access.
Cleaning your concrete patio doesn’t have to be this difficult endeavor. With the right tools and ingredients, you can either purchase or create an effective cleaning solution that will keep your concrete patio looking clean and neat.
When you have a clean patio, it makes for an ideal space to hang out whether that is on your own or with friends and family. Never let a dirty, grime-covered space ruin the mood again when a quick scrub can do the job.