How to Clean Your Deck, Pavers and Outdoor Tiles
The outdoor area of your home is a wonderful place to relax, entertain, and enjoy as an extension of your general living space. Most outdoor areas have some kind of decking, tiles, and/or pavers, and if you follow these tips to keep them clean, you’ll be rewarded with an outdoor space that is always welcoming and attractive.
Cleaning your deck
Most decks are made of wood or composite materials, and require regular cleaning to keep them in tip top shape and appearance. Here’s how to keep your deck clean:
- Make sure you prepare the deck by removing all furniture and debris, such as plant material. Remember if you’re cleaning a wooden deck to scrap any stubborn debris from between the slats. Use a screwdriver or knife to get into the cracks
- Sweep the entire area
- Mix a bucket of water with an environmentally friendly cleaner (safe for pets, plants, and yourself). Be sure you choose a cleaner that is appropriate for your deck material and the kinds of stains you are attempting to remove. Alternatively, you can use oxygen bleach being sure to note the recommended ratio of water to bleach on the bottle. Unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is environmentally friendly and comes as a powder
- Scrub the deck with a scrubbing brush and make sure it has a long handle to reach all the spots you want to scrub. For a faster alternative, use a high pressure machine and simply add your cleaner to the tank
- Leave the cleaner or bleach mixture on the deck for 15 minutes to remove stains. Do not allow the mixture to dry on the deck as it will leave behind a soapy residue
- Rinse the deck with a spray hose or pressure washer. Remember if you’re using a pressure washer to use a pressure suitable for your deck (1500 psi or 105.460 kg/cm2). Too much pressure or washing too close to the deck can cause damage. A metre is usually the best distance from which to use a pressure washer
- Repeat the deck cleaning if stubborn stains remain
- Allow the deck to dry thoroughly before you restore furniture, barbecues, and plants to their original positions
- It’s worth considering sealing your wooden deck to guarantee it remains waterproof and attractive, while ensuring its lifespan is prolonged. An added benefit for you is that a well sealed deck usually only requires cleaning twice a year.
Paving stones or pavers are an attractive addition to any outdoor area, but over time they will lose their sheen from daily use and normal wear and tear. Pavers are also subject to the elements, which can create a muddied or mossy look, and pavers used in a driveway can suffer oil stains over time. To keep your pavers looking good as new, follow these easy steps:
- Wash your pavers regularly by hosing them with a spray attachment. Regular cleaning will prevent grime and dirt from accumulating in the grout
- For more stubborn stains, hire or buy a high powered pressure cleaner, and make sure you use a fan spray rather than a small nozzle, that may damage the stone service
- Sweep the paved area with a broom and return any sand that has been removed by the pressure
- If you see stains or embedded and ingrained dirt marks, apply an environmentally friendly cleaner to the paved area. Avoid detergents and cleaners that may fade or change the colour of your pavers. Do a spot clean on an area first to ensure that the cleaner is suitable for your particular pavers
- Leave the cleaner on the pavers for 5 minutes
- Wash the pavers using a hard scrubbing brush or stiff broom, or with the cleaner in your pressure hose
- Rinse the pavers with a garden hose and allow them to dry before placing anything on them
- Sealing your pavers after they are dry will protect them and ensure they remain good as new, with less regular cleaning required.
Cleaning outdoor tiles
Most outdoor tiles have been sealed to protect them from rain and intense sunlight, and it is therefore important to choose the right cleaner to ensure the protective coating is not damaged or removed. Try these easy steps to maintain glistening, clean tiles that enhance your outdoor areas.
- Sweep the floor area with a broom to remove all dirt, dust, and debris. If the tiles are in a vertical position then simply wipe them down
- Hose the tiles down with fresh water, applying extra water to soiled areas
- If you see stains or embedded and ingrained dirt marks, apply an environmentally friendly cleaner to the tiled area
- Using a scrubbing brush, scrub the tiles one section at a time and keep the floor and wall areas wet to avoid dust gathering from the cleaner
- Finally, simply hose off all the tiles with clean water and use a squeegee mop to remove any standing pools of water that may leave a dull finish if left to dry naturally.
Once you have cleaned your outdoor areas and allowed them to dry, go ahead and inspect your work. The finished product will look clean and fresh with no areas left unwashed or stained. Well done! Your deck, pavers, or tiled areas are renewed, revitalised, and ready to enhance you and your family’s outdoor living.