Whether it’s your driveway or patio, a paver is definitely a smart option because of its aesthetic value, easy upkeep and longevity. But it’s also no secret that pavers can easily get dirty. If you don’t clean them properly, and regularly, they'll lose their beauty and become more susceptible to damage.
A lot of people use power washers to easily clean their pavers. If you don’t own one and you don’t want to spend money on hiring professionals for the job, there are some good alternatives that still get your pavers squeaky clean in no time:
Vinegar has always been known as an effective cleaning agent, especially for removing stubborn dirt, stains, and even rust. But before you use this handy household item to clean your pavers, remember to use only white vinegar because it won't stain your pavers.
You should also create the right mixture of water and vinegar to avoid causing any damages to your pavers due to a strong concentration of vinegar:
Gather your tools first
Aside from white vinegar and water, you’ll also need a spray bottle, bristle brush, and a sign.
Test your solution
Before applying your water and vinegar solution to your pavers, try to test it out in an inconspicuous spot to make sure that it doesn’t stain.
Spray the vinegar on the dirty pavers
Using a spray bottle will ensure that the solution will be distributed more evenly on your pavers. You also need to spray extra on the gaps between the pavers because they tend to have the most dirt and are the hardest to clean.
Leave the solution on your pavers for an hour to allow the vinegar to soften the dirt. Use a string to cordon off the area that you’re cleaning and make a sign so that people don’t step on them.
Clean the area with soap and water
After an hour, spray the pavers with soap and water. Then you can start to scrub those stubborn areas. You should then rinse with water and repeat the process if you need to.
Bleach is an obvious solution for cleaning dirt object, including pavers. You need to dilute it properly because too much bleach concentration can cause your pavers to lighten:
Dilute the bleach
Since bleach is such a strong chemical, you need to dilute ½ cup of bleach in 1 quarter of warm water first. You should also add 1-teaspoon liquid dish soap to make the bleach more efficient in removing stains and dirt.
Once done, pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray the pavers with it until they are completely soaked. Leave the solution for about 20 minutes to let it absorb thoroughly.
Clean the pavers
Use a nylon bristled brush to remove all the excess dirt and stains on your pavers before rinsing them off thoroughly using a garden hose.
Use baking soda
Baking soda is one of those items around your house that you can also use to clean your pavers. It is mildly abrasive and will help you remove dirt when you scrub it. Baking soda will help you clean your pavers if there is dirt built up on top. It is also good at absorbing grease that has soaked into your pavers.
Create a baking soda solution
Pour a cup of baking soda into a bucket of warm water. You also have the option to add a bit of liquid detergent to enhance the solution’s ability to clean your pavers.
Apply the solution
After mixing the solution well, you can either put it into a spray bottle or just pour the bucket onto your pavers directly.
Leave it to soak for at least 30 minutes to give time for the baking soda to soften the dirt and stains on your pavers. You can then use a bristle brush to scrub off any stubborn dirt. When you are done scrubbing, rinse your pavers off with water.
If you need to get grease out of your pavers, you can apply baking soda directly to the stain. Leave it sit there for a few days and most of the stain should come up. If it doesn't, re-apply more baking soda.
Use Simple Green
If you don’t mind spending money on a cleaning solution, Simple Green is one of the best options in the market. It’s efficient and safe for your pavers and most surfaces:
Test the cleaner first
If it’s your first time using Simple Green, test it out first on a hidden area of your pavers to make sure that it won’t cause damage to them.
Apply the solution
If you’re dealing with a very dirty surface, it’s best to rinse it first with water to soften the dirt and allow Simple Green to really penetrate the pavers. After applying the solution, leave it for a few minutes before scrubbing if needed.
Once all the dirt has been removed, rinse the pavers thoroughly with water before allowing anyone to use the space again. It’s also very important to remove all traces of the solution if you have pets since they could ingest any residue.
Use muriatic acid
Although it’s a very strong chemical, muriatic acid is still used to clean a lot of surfaces because it can stand up to even the most stubborn dirt and stains. Warning, if your pavers are sealed, muriatic acid will remove the sealer. You should reseal your pavers when you have finished cleaning them.
Create the right solution
Depending on the square footage of your pavers, you need to create the right solution to ensure that you can use muriatic acid safely. For instance, 1 gallon of acid mixed with 5 gallons of water is enough to cover 200 square feet. You should also consider adding more muriatic acid if the surface is very dirty.
Use the proper tools
Muriatic acid can be harsh on the skin, so it’s best to use a pair of gloves when dealing with it. You should also buy a good acid brush to use for scrubbing the surface.
Apply the solution and scrub
Wet the area with water first and pour the solution onto it. You can then scrub any stubborn dirt and stains using your acid brush. After, you need to rinse the pavers thoroughly with water using your garden hose for more pressure.
Use pool chlorine
Finally, you can use pool chlorine, which is also a very effective cleaning agent for pavers. Since this can be a very strong solution, it’s best to use a spray bottle and wear safety gloves when applying pool chlorine on your pavers.
The standard cleaning ratio should be 10:90, which means 90% water with 10% of pool chlorine. Just spray the solution onto the surface, scrub any excess dirt and rinse the pavers thoroughly with water.
Power washers are nice to have and can work really well. Sometime they are a bit much for the job. And in some cases, you may not have one available for you to use.
Whatever your situation, there are several option available for cleaning your pavers that don't involve a pressure washer. If you want a natural solution, use vinegar or baking soda. If you want an effective, but generally mild cleaner, use bleach. If you have some tough stains, you may want to try muriatic acid or pool chlorine.
No matter which paver cleaning solution you decide to use, make sure to read and follow all labels and instructions. If you are unsure about how one of these cleaners will work or how you should apply it, contact a professional.