Best Tricks & Tips for Cleaning Pavers (Without Power Washing)

May 11, 2023

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If you’re searching for how to clean pavers without power washing, it’s vital that you note some precautions and pro tips about the best materials and equipment to use. Patio and walkway pavers might seem durable but can crack or chip when exposed to harsh chemicals, and the wrong tools and techniques can mean wasting hours on ineffective cleaning!

To clean pavers without power washing, use everyday dish soap diluted in water, Simple Green cleaner, white vinegar in water, or just a stiff outdoor broom. Letting pavers soak in your cleaning solution is also suggested for dissolving thick dirt and grime.

power washing a paver patio

Clean and presentable outdoor pavers offer a welcoming look while also providing a safe surface underfoot! Dust, mold, mildew, and other residues tend to become slick and unsafe for walking, so it’s vital you clean those pavers as needed throughout the year.

Check out some pro tips for how to clean pavers without power washing so you know your property is always clean and pristine, and ready for relaxing or entertaining. It’s also good to call a power washing company near you if these tips don’t work as expected, so they can clean those pavers properly and as often as needed.

How To Clean Pavers Without Power Washing?

To clean patio pavers without power washing, first start with a good sweeping. If you have a leaf blower, it’s also helpful to use that blower on the pavers, to remove as much dirt, dust, leaves, and other debris as possible. You might also invest in an outdoor scrubbing brush meant for patio pavers, as a high-quality brush allows for a deep clean.

  • Regular dish soap dissolved in water is often enough to clean away everyday dirt and grime. Dissolve the soap in the same ratio as you would when washing dishes and then pour it along those outside pavers. Let it sit for several minutes and then scrub with your brush, and then rinse clean.
  • Simple Green is a cleaner and degreaser used to remove oily stains, food stains, and other such debris from outside paver stones. If you have a grill or picnic table on your patio and notice greasy or oily stains, pet waste stains, or food residues, mix and apply Simple Green according to the package directions. Scrub those stains and rinse thoroughly.
  • White vinegar is also an excellent choice for removing stains, especially salt and rust stains. Dilute white vinegar in a 50-50 water solution and pour it on the paver stones; let the mixture sit for a full hour so it can penetrate those stains and then rinse without scrubbing.
  • An outdoor, stiff-bristled broom is also an excellent choice for removing layers of dirt, mud, dust, and other grime, and can often reach into paver pits and pores your standard broom can’t reach. Use an outdoor broom on your paver stones every week, to clean away residues trapped in stone and keep them clean.

If these simple solutions don’t clean pavers as expected, it’s time to use a pressure washer. A bit of pressure along with some commercial-grade cleaners can remove thick salt, lawn care chemicals, ground-in dirt, and other debris you can’t get clean with other simple solutions.

Should You Power Wash Pavers?

Power washing pavers isn’t damaging as long as it’s done properly. If you want to tackle this job yourself, first note that you should start with a low-pressure machine, as too much pressure can chip and etch brick, stone, and other outdoor materials. Using too much pressure between pavers can even dislodge them altogether!

To power wash pavers properly, you also want to ensure that you hold the washing wand at a 45-degree angle rather than aiming it directly onto the stone surface. Aiming pressurized water directly onto any surface can lead to cracks and etching. A slight angle also helps to loosen dirt, dust, and other grime.

Before adding detergent to your power washing equipment, try cleaning your patio pavers with plain water first. Pressurized water is often very effective at loosening and removing thick layers of dirt and grime, so that you might not need to use detergent to get those pavers clean. It’s also vital to note that pressure washing can strip paver sealants, so be prepared to add a fresh coat of sealant after using a pressure washer on your paver stones.

If DIY pressure washing doesn’t get those paver stones clean, it’s time to schedule a professional visit. Commercial grade detergents and soft wash cleaning are excellent choices for removing thick dirt and grime without damaging those pavers. Soft wash pressure washing also cleans away mold, pollen, dust, and other irritants, for improved outdoor air quality!

Cleaning Pavers Without Killing Grass, Is it Possible?!

To avoid killing grass, try oxygenated bleach, which is not harmful to most outdoor vegetation. Oxygenated bleach also helps remove rust stains, oily residues, and other tough dirt and grime from outdoor pavers. Biodegradable solutions, available at most hardware and home improvement stores, are also relatively safe for grass and landscaping features.

It’s also helpful to use low water pressure and direct rinse water toward the street or a nearby drain as you work. Clean your patio pavers in small increments, giving the water time to run off the pavement and toward the street, which will reduce the amount of dirty water that ends up on the lawn.

If you have landscaping features that border the pavers you’ll be cleaning, you might cover them with a tarp while you work. Secure the tarp with bricks or rocks, to keep as much water away from those delicate flowers and borders. If you have someone who can assist you during cleaning, have them brush or broom the water away from the grass while you use the pressure washer or hose!

attempting to use a power wash machine for pool deck pavers

How Do You Clean Sealed Pavers?

Sealing adds a layer of protection between pavers and sunlight, foot traffic, and harsh weather conditions. In many cases, just sweeping or rinsing pavers with a garden hose is all that’s needed to keep them clean and neat.

However, if your sealed pavers need a bit more cleaning than usual, ensure that you use non-acidic cleaners, as acids can damage that sealer. A degreasing dishwasher soap diluted with water is usually sufficient, or you can shop for a cleanser meant for sealed pavers in particular and follow the package directions. Ensure you rinse well, to remove all traces of the cleanser, and keep the pavers in good condition.

Soft wash pressure washing is also an excellent choice for sealed pavers. Soft wash cleaning is not abrasive or harsh, so it can keep those pavers clean without damaging the sealant or any paints, stains, and coatings.

Making Your Pavers Look New Again!

If heavy-duty cleaning isn’t enough to restore the look of your outdoor pavers, it might be time for new polymeric sand. Polymeric sand is similar to grout for indoor tile; this sand has a substance added to it so that it becomes somewhat sticky, providing adhesion and a solid surface between paver stones.

Over time, that sand can wear away so that it looks worn out and faded, or chunks of it might get dislodged so that gaps then form. Adding fresh sand between paver stones is an excellent choice for keeping them looking like new.

To add new polymeric sand, sweep the area thoroughly or use a leaf blower to remove loose debris. Wash the paver stones down with a garden hose and sweep again, to remove more dirt and other debris.

Ensure you choose a clear day without the threat of rain, and mix polymeric sand with water if instructed on the package. Pour the sand between the pavers and then sweep away any excess. Using the broom handle, tap on the pavers; this causes the sand to settle and create adhesion. If needed, add another layer of sand and repeat this process.

Once you’ve added enough sand between paver stones, sweep away any excess and then water down the pavers. Ensure you use enough water to saturate the sand without allowing it to float away! Once you’ve watered down the paver stones, let the surface dry completely before allowing foot traffic.

When Is It Time to Replace Paver Stones?

Over time, paver stones simply wear out and need replacing. They might develop a patina or faded color, or might suffer unsightly etching and scratching. Chipped and cracked stones are also dangerous underfoot and can allow weeds to grow through those cracks, creating a rundown look on your property.

A homeowner might consider replacing paver stones if pressure washing doesn’t restore their color and vibrancy, or if they’re so damaged that they become uneven or present tripping hazards. New stones can also improve the look of your outdoor space instantly; upgrading to slate, flagstone, or brick can offer added appeal, versus plain concrete walkways.

power washing pavers to clean them

How to Keep Paver Stones Looking Their Best

Maintaining paver stones throughout the year is an excellent way to ensure they always look their best and to avoid otherwise unavoidable stains and discoloration. Note a few tips for keeping your home’s paver stones looking good in between professional cleaning:

  • Rinse off your paver stones with the garden hose regularly. This will help prevent dirt and grime buildup while also removing dust, pollen, and other debris.
  • Be careful about anything that might rust while on top of patio pavers. Ensure that your patio furniture, barbecue or grill, and other such items have rubber feet or stoppers underneath them so as to avoid bare metal sitting directly on those pavers.
  • Use weed killer and other chemicals safe for patio pavers, especially if you’re applying them to the areas directly adjacent to those stones.
  • Rinse your patio pavers immediately after winter snow has melted to remove corrosive salt, sand, and other snow-clearing chemicals.
  • Use a bagged mower to keep grass clippings off the patio pavers. If you don’t have a bagged mower, ensure you sweep or rinse any clippings off paver stones so they don’t put tough stains on those surfaces.
  • Spot clean stains with a mild detergent or dish soap as soon as they appear, rather than waiting to pressure wash all the pavers at once. This can reduce the risk of those stains becoming permanent.

What Are the Best Paver Stone Materials?

Your landscaping contractor can help you decide the best paver stone materials for your property, but note some added details about the most popular choices:

  • Concrete pavers are a favorite choice because they’re available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and color tones. You can install concrete paver stones in just about any pattern, to add visual interest to your property or to pull the eye in one direction or another. Concrete is also rather lightweight, so you can install these yourself.
  • Poured, stamped concrete offers the look of individual stones. Since concrete can be stained or painted in just about any color, you can match poured concrete to your home’s overall style. The downside of poured concrete is that you should rely on a professional for installation.
  • Brick pavers are a favorite choice for patio pavers because of their uniform appearance. Their consistent cut also makes them the right option for building outdoor fire pits, as you can create level and even sides when working with brick.
  • Flagstone is prized for its variation in color and appearance! Flagstone is also cooler underfoot, making it an excellent option for warmer climates. However, flagstone is rather heavy, so you’ll need assistance for installation or the services of a professional.
  • Slate also offers some variation in color and appearance, and its bumpy texture also provides added traction underfoot. Slate is also much cheaper than flagstone while still offering a high-end stone appearance.
  • Decomposed granite is reclaimed from granite that has weathered so much that it cannot hold a solid form and has broken down into larger chips. Reclaiming decomposed granite is an eco-friendly choice, as it keeps this material out of landfills.

contractor completing power washing services

Remember to consider installation and paver sealing costs when choosing concrete paver stones, and be sure to purchase more than needed for your patio or walkways so you have some replacement stones on hand. This will allow you to replace damaged or severely stained stones as needed, so your outdoor area always looks clean and pristine.

Need Help Getting Clean Patio Pavers? That's What We're Here For!

At Southington Power Washers, we hope this information answers the question of how to clean pavers without power washing and that you find it useful in keeping your outdoor area attractive and welcoming. If you need pressure washing in Southington or surrounding areas, give us a call! We offer FREE quotes and a full catalog of power washing services for virtually every surface of your property’s exterior. To find out more, call us today!

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