How to Clean a Brick Patio

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A clean brick patio is a great surface for an outdoor fire pit. (Photo: @JessicaKaplanPhotography via Twenty20)
A brick patio can look great for years when cared for properly. The bricks or pavers are durable, hold the heat of the sun at night, and are non-combustible, making them suitable for an outdoor fireplace or grill. In order to make them last, you need to keep them clean, including removing any plants or moss between the bricks and washing the brick surface with soap and water.

Prepare the Patio Area

Materials Needed
Before you can get down to the business of cleaning your brick patio, you need to do some prep work first.
Step 1: Clear the patio. Start by clearing the patio of any furniture or other objects.
If you need to move your plants, carefully set them in a safe, out-of-the-way area. In addition, cover any plants, shrubs, and surrounding landscaping beside your patio with a tarp to protect them from any of chemicals you use.
Step 2: Remove weeds. Next, use a long-handled V-groove cleaner, also called a paver cleaner, to remove any plant or moss growth from between the paver stones.
If necessary, spray a weed killer on thicker vegetation and let it sit for at least two weeks before proceeding.
Step 3: Saturate the brick surface. Finally, saturate the pavers with water from a water hose.
This saturates the pavers and keeps them from absorbing any of the soap you use to clean them.

Use a Pressure Washer to Clean the Brick

Materials Needed
Once you have removed all of the weeds and moss and have saturated the pavers, it is time to clean them using a pressure washer.
Step 1: Set up the pressure washer. This part of the cleaning process includes:
  • Connecting the washer to a water source
  • Testing out the pressure washer to get a feel for its use
  • Adding the pressure washing solution
Step 2: Spray the patio. Start by spraying the surface of the patio.
Clean from the house outwards to prevent dirt and other debris from getting on the walls of your home.
Use gentle, consistent strokes when spraying to prevent stripe markings from forming on your patio’s surface.
Step 3: Repeat the process. If necessary, repeat the process, especially if the surface of the bricks still looks dirty after your initial cleaning attempt.
Step 4: Allow for drying. Finally, allow the surface of the patio to dry completely before replacing your patio furniture and plants.
Step 5: Sweep up any efflorescence residue. In addition, if you notice a white powdery residue on the surface of your patio, you need to remove it.
The easiest way to do this is by scrubbing the surface with a stiff-bristled brush and soapy water.
Rinse the patio off with a garden hose after scrubbing it clean with the brush.

How to Handle Hard-to-Remove Stains on Bricks

Materials Needed
  • Bucket (with warm water)
  • Clean cloth
  • Mild detergent (such as dishwashing liquid)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Small stiff-bristled brush
  • Table salt
  • Trisodium phosphate
Sometimes you might encounter hard-to-remove stains while cleaning. When this happens, you need to take more extreme measures when cleaning your brick patio.
Make sure to wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands from the soap and other chemicals that this process requires.
Step 1: Apply soap, salt, and water. Mix 2 tablespoons of mild detergent and a teaspoon of salt in a small bucket with some warm water.
Dip a clean cloth into the mixture and wring it out. Apply it to the surface of the stained bricks by rubbing the solution onto the surface.
Let the solution sit on the bricks for at least 10 minutes.
Step 2: Scrub the brick surface. Next, scrub the brick surface using a small stiff-bristled brush.
Step 3: Rinse with clean water. Finally, rinse the area with a clean cloth and water.
Step 4: Use trisodium phosphate if necessary. If the stain still won’t come out, mix half a cup of trisodium phosphate in a bucket of hot water.
Make sure to wear a pair of rubber gloves and safety glasses when handling the chemical in this step. In addition, make sure to keep pets and children away from the patio area while using this product.
Use a small stiff-bristled brush to scrub the area of the stain.
Rinse the area completely using warm water.
Step 5: Allow for drying. Finally, allow the area to dry before replacing the patio furniture, plants, and any other items.
Keeping your brick patio clean can make your backyard area look great. Just remember to take the appropriate safety precautions when using a pressure washer or harsh chemicals, and allow the brick surface to dry completely before replacing any of your patio items.