It’s patio season in Indiana! These warm, long summer days provide the perfect opportunity for gathering outside. Whether you’re having a cookout, hosting a garden party or just enjoying an evening outside with family and friends, you want your masonry patio to look its best. Chances are your patio has accumulated some dirt, mildew or other build-up over the winter months. The following are a few tips for cleaning your masonry patio so that it’s ready to shine this summer.

Spot Cleaning

If your patio has just a few stained bricks, you don’t have to invest in a full deep clean. You can easily spot treat those bricks with cleaning materials you already have at home. Follow these simple steps:

  • Make a cleaning solution. Add 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and 1 tablespoon of salt to a bucket of warm water. Mix until combined.
  • Use a cloth or rag to apply the solution to the stained bricks. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes.
  • Scrub the brick thoroughly with a stiff bristle brush. Then rinse with water and let dry.

Power Washing

If you are dealing with more widespread staining or mildew, you may want to consider power washing your patio. Power washers are available for rent or purchase at hardware stores and cleaning equipment companies. Rental prices can range anywhere from $50 to $200 a day, so be sure to call around. If you have the money to invest, you may want to consider purchasing a power washer for the long-term maintenance of your patio. To power wash your patio:

  • Be sure to wear older clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and a pair of gloves. You will also want a pair of shoes with rubber soles to avoid slipping.
  • Connect your garden hose to your water source and the hose of your pressure washer. Attach the nozzle and pull the trigger to release excess air before turning on the water.
  • Test the pressure washer with a quick spray to the corner of your patio. Make sure the pressure is appropriate. Switch nozzles if necessary.
  • Spray the patio down, moving the stream of water away from your home. If your patio has severe buildup, you may need to wash it more than once or add an acceptable detergent to the water.
  • Scrub off efflorescence residue. This is a white residue that sometimes remains after power washing. It can be easily removed with a cleaning brush.

Stubborn Stains

If either spot cleaning or power washing has failed to remove some stubborn stains from your patio, you may need to use trisodium phosphate. Trisodium phosphate is a heavy duty cleaner found at hardware stores or online. When cleaning with trisodium phosphate:

  • Be sure to wear rubber or latex gloves, safety eyewear and protective clothing.
  • Mix ½ cup of the cleaner into a bucket of warm water. Use a stiff bristle brush to scrub the cleaner onto the stains and then rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  • Keep pets and children away from the area, as harsh chemicals are hazardous.

Hopefully this guide helps you to get your masonry patio looking spotless for the summer. A beautiful brick patio is sure to impress your guests. If your patio is experiencing more severe damage — like cracks, mortar crumbling or missing bricks — be sure call your local Brick + Ember Outfitters. We’d be happy to assess the damage, offer a free quote and help you get your patio in pristine condition.