Your pavers take all kinds of abuse. Rain, mud, grease, bird droppings, and lots of other things find their way onto your pavers. There are many different methods and products you can use to clean all of these messes and stains off of your pavers.
In this article we want to investigate cleaning your pavers with baking soda. How effective is baking soda at cleaning pavers? Does it work by itself or should you mix it with other chemicals? When should you look for another method because baking soda just won't work for what your are trying to clean.
Baking soda as an effective cleaner
Baking soda has been used as a cleaner for a very long time. Baking soda is abrasive. It can be used to scrub stuck on gunk.
Baking soda is absorbent. It will absorb oils from the surface and below the surface of many porous objects; including pavers. It also will soak up and bind to other material that are wet and have been broken up from the surface of your pavers.
Cleaning pavers with baking soda only
Although baking soda is made by companies to sell in stores, it is a compound that occurs naturally. Being a natural product, baking soda is one of the safest cleaners you can use on your pavers.
Baking soda, by itself, is great to remove surface build up that can be scrubbed off. Put some baking soda on the surface of your pavers and add a little water. Then scrub the top of your pavers. Pay particular attention to places where you have dirt, grease, and other undesirable gunk built up on top of your pavers.
If you have oil soak into your pavers, you can put baking soda on top of the grease stain. After putting a pile of baking soda down, cover it will some plastic or a tarp. Then let it sit for a few hours to a few days. The deeper and older the stain, the longer you should leave the baking soda on the ground.
Check the baking soda every day or so to see if it has become completely soaked. If it is soaked, then clean it up with a broom and dust pan. Then put some more baking soda down if the stain is still there. Repeat this process until the stain has come out.
Cleaning pavers with baking soda and vinegar
Some people like to mix vinegar and baking soda together to clean their pavers. Vinegar causes baking soda to release carbon dioxide. This release causes a lot of bubbling. While it looks good, I don't know if it is very effective. The reaction happens very quickly. Once the reaction stops, you are basically left with water.
A better way to use baking soda and vinegar is to apply them separately. First, clean off any debris or loose particles that break off when you sweep. Then make a 1:1 mixture of water and vinegar. Pour the vinegar and water mixture on top of your pavers. Leave it to sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
If you have some lime, calcium, or other mineral buildup, you can soak some rags in the solution and place them directly on the buildup. This will help to hold a concentration of the vinegar mixture on top of the buildup so it can be dissolved.
Once you have let the vinegar mixture sit for a while, you should take a scrub brush to your pavers and scrub to help break up buildups. Then use a hose with a nozzle on it to wash away the vinegar and anything it has broken up.
After washing the vinegar mixture off of your pavers, apply a generous amount of baking soda to your pavers. Then wet the baking soda. Be sure to get it all wet, but don't over saturate it. Also, make sure you don't wash any of the baking soda away at this time.
Next, scrub your pavers with the baking soda. Because the baking soda is abrasive, it will help to remove any buildup that was weakened during the vinegar stage, but didn't come off with the first scrubbing.
After scrubbing your pavers with the baking soda, washing your pavers off with your hose. Repeat the vinegar and baking soda steps until you have removed all of the spills and buildup on the surface of your pavers.
Cleaning your pavers with baking soda and vinegar generally won't change the color of your pavers. To be sure, you should test both on a small spot, or even better, on an extra paver that is not part of your patio or walkway.
Concrete pavers and pavers made of natural stone will absorb more of the vinegar than pavers made out of synthetic materials. But all of them should be tested before cleaning with either vinegar or baking soda.
The baking soda and vinegar method of cleaning is not really meant to get stains out of your pavers. It is best used for cleaning the surface of your pavers.
Cleaning pavers with baking soda and bleach
My recommendation would be to not mix baking soda and bleach. If you do some research, you will find different opinions on mixing the two together. I am not a chemist or an expert in mixing chemicals. My approach has always been to only mix water and laundry detergent with bleach.
Bleach is good for disinfecting your pavers. It will get ride of mold and other organic matter growing on your pavers.
To clean your paver with baking soda and bleach, you should follow a similar method as cleaning with baking soda and vinegar. Mix bleach with water in a 1:16 mixture. If you are going to use one gallon of water, you would add one cup of bleach.
The best way to apply your bleach and water mixture is to use a sprayer. You could also just dump it out of the bucket and move it around with a broom or scrub brush. Wear rubber boots or some kind of protective covering on your shoes if you are going to be working with bleach. Your regular shoes are not made for walking in bleach water. You should also wear protective eye glasses when handling bleach.
Let the bleach and water mixture sit for several minutes and then scrub the surface of your pavers. When you are finished scrubbing wash the bleach off with your hose. Be mindful of where the run off is going when washing away the bleach. You don't want a large amount of bleach to end up on or around your plants. If you do get some bleach by your plants, soak that area with more water to dilute the bleach.
After washing the bleach away, pour baking soda on your pavers. Wet the baking soda and scrub the surface with your brush. Then wash the baking soda away.
The best type of stain to remove with baking soda on your pavers
Baking soda is best used to remove oil from your pavers. When oil stains your pavers it seeps down into them. Baking soda is great at absorbing oil. This includes drawing oil out of your pavers.
It is also good for scrubbing easier stains from the surface of your pavers. If you have deep stains on your pavers, baking soda is not the best choice.
A pressure washer or other chemical cleaners will work better on cleaning deep stains on your pavers.
Baking soda is a very safe and effective cleaner if used within the framework in which it works. No cleaner can do all cleaning jobs. Baking soda is best used to absorb and as a mild abrasive. Mixing any chemical with other chemicals can be dangerous. I think the best approach is to clean with multiple chemicals separately. Clean with one chemical, like bleach. Wash it away and then clean with baking soda.