Person wearing bright yellow rubber boots using a pressure washer to clean a brick patio, demonstrating effective outdoor cleaning techniques for decks and patios.

Having an outdoor area like a deck or a patio is one of the reasons I’ve always preferred houses to flats. Flats definitely have some advantages (easier cleaning, anyone), but nothing beats a nice evening with friends on the patio.

However, this also extends your cleaning responsibilities outside your house. Being the middle ground between your house and your garden (have we mentioned we’re branching out into gardening?), decks and patios also require regular cleaning.

Fortunately, with the right approach to deep cleaning, you can transform these areas into the inviting sanctuaries they were meant to be.

This guide will arm you with the knowledge to not only clean but also rejuvenate your patio or deck. Better looks, increased longevity, what’s not to like?

In this article:

  • Why deep clean your patio or deck?
  • Preparing your outdoor space for deep cleaning
    • Essential cleaning tools and supplies
    • Initial steps
  • Step-by-step guide to deep cleaning patios
    • Step 1: Gather your tools and supplies
    • Step 2: Sweep the surface
    • Step 3: Mix your cleaning solution
    • Step 4: Scrub
    • Step 5: Rinse
    • Step 6: Addressing stubborn stains
    • Step 7: Drying
    • Step 8: Final touches
  • Step-by-step guide to deep cleaning decks
    • Step 1: Gather your tools and supplies
    • Step 2: Remove debris
    • Step 3: Wet the deck
    • Step 4: Apply cleaner
    • Step 5: Scrub
    • Step 6: Rinse
    • Step 7: Check for stubborn stains
    • Step 8: Drying
    • Step 9: Sealing or staining (optional but recommended)
    • Step 10: Return furniture and decorations
  • Common mistakes to avoid when cleaning your patio and deck
    • Using the wrong cleaning products
    • Over-pressurizing when using a pressure washer
    • Ignoring weather conditions
    • Not rinsing thoroughly
    • Inadequate pre-cleaning preparation
    • Neglecting immediate clean-up after spills
  • Conclusion

Why deep clean your patio or deck?

Deep cleaning your patio or deck is a serious time investment, so why do it? Maintaining your outdoor areas extends beyond just aesthetics. It also impacts their durability and your health.

Removing accumulated grime and mould prevents the degradation of materials. Not enough? It also rids your space of allergens that can affect your family’s health.

Think back—when was the last time you gave these spaces a thorough clean? Now might be the perfect moment to give these essential areas of your home a deep clean.

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Preparing your outdoor space for deep cleaning

Like with spring cleaning, deep patio cleaning requires preparation. It’s not something you pick up Sunday afternoon and think you’ll be done by dinner time.

Essential cleaning tools and supplies

Before you begin, ensure you have the necessary tools on hand.

  • Pressure washer – effective for removing tough grime and available for rent if you don’t own one.
  • Stiff brushes and brooms – essential for scrubbing hard surfaces.
  • Eco-friendly cleaners – to safeguard your plants and pets. Since this is outside, you have to think about your garden, too.
  • Buckets, sponges, and garden hoses – for applying cleaners and rinsing surfaces.
  • Safety supplies – goggles, gloves, boots, all important to make sure your patio deep cleaning goes without a hitch.

Initial steps

Start by clearing all movable objects such as furniture, planters, and outdoor decor from the area. They’ll just be in the way. This not only gives you unobstructed access to the surface but also allows you to inspect for any damage or wear that needs attention. Spoiler alert: there probably is, especially if you’re doing this in the spring.

Step-by-step guide to deep cleaning patios

Done moving things around? Great, the easy part is over. Here’s a detailed guide on how to effectively deep clean various types of patio materials such as concrete, wood, and tiles.

Close-up view of a patterned brick patio highlighting the types of materials that can be deep cleaned, ideal for a guide on cleaning concrete, wood, and tile patios.

Step 1: Gather your tools and supplies

All the things we talked about above should be close at hand and ready for deployment. You don’t want to run around the house looking for your goggles in the middle of the patio cleaning.

Step 2: Sweep the surface

Use a broom to sweep away all loose dirt, leaves, and debris from the patio. This prepares the surface for a more thorough cleaning and prevents washing debris into the cracks and crevices. This is a good first move lest they become impossible to remove.

Step 3: Mix your cleaning solution

Prepare your cleaning solution according to the type of patio surface. For example:

  • Concrete – use a cleaner specifically designed for concrete, or create a mix of water and dish soap.
  • Wood – use a cleaner suitable for wood to avoid damaging the surface. Also, make sure you’ve identified the correct type of wood. Softwood is not the same as hardwood.
  • Tiles – a mild detergent or a vinegar and water mixture works well for cleaning tiles without harming the grout.

Pour your cleaning solution into a bucket and apply it over the surface with a sponge or a mop. I’m usually a fan of using a spray mop indoors, but outdoor cleaning is a bit different so it’s probably best you use a mop and bucket. It’s old-school but it works.

Step 4: Scrub

Use a brush to thoroughly scrub the patio surface. Pay special attention to stained areas and spots with mildew or mould. For wood surfaces, ensure you scrub in the direction of the wood grain to avoid damage.

Step 5: Rinse

Use a garden hose or a pressure washer set to a moderate setting to rinse off the cleaner from the patio. Make sure all soap and debris are washed away. For wooden patios, use a lower-pressure setting to avoid damaging the wood.

Step 6: Addressing stubborn stains

For oil stains, sprinkle baking soda or cat litter over the area, let it sit for a few hours to absorb the oil, then sweep it up and rinse.

For organic stains like leaves or berries, a paste of baking soda and water to break down the stain before scrubbing.

Step 7: Drying

Let the patio dry completely. This not only helps you spot any remaining dirty areas that may need a touch-up but also prevents mould and mildew from developing on damp surfaces.

Step 8: Final touches

Once the patio is dry, inspect it for any spots that might have been missed or need additional cleaning. Touch up these areas with the appropriate cleaner and rinse again if necessary.

Once you’re satisfied with the cleanliness of the patio, you can begin returning furniture, grills, and other items to their places. Consider adding protective pads to the bottoms of furniture to prevent scratches and wear on your newly cleaned patio.

That’s it – you’re done! Enjoy your newly cleaned patio.

Step-by-step guide to deep cleaning decks

Decks add a lot of value to your home. Maintaining your deck not only improves its looks but also prolongs its life. Here’s a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to deep clean your deck.

Wide-angle view of a weathered wooden deck, illustrating the texture and condition before deep cleaning, suitable for a guide on maintaining and cleaning wood and composite deck materials.

We’ll especially focus on wood and composite materials since they’re more delicate and easier to damage. This guide will help ensure your deck is not only clean but maintained in a way that maximises its durability.

Step 1: Gather your tools and supplies

If you’ve read the patio guide above, you might get a sense of deja vu here and there. That’s because most of the processes are pretty similar but this is will not be a one-to-one retelling.

So like before, gather your materials and remove all furniture, grills, planters, and other items from the deck. Ensure every spot is accessible for your deep deck cleaning.

Step 2: Remove debris

Use a broom or leaf blower to clear all loose debris such as leaves, twigs, and dirt. This helps prevent scratching the wood or composite material during the cleaning process.

Step 3: Wet the deck

Before applying any cleaning solution, lightly wet the deck with a garden hose. This helps the cleaner to spread evenly and prevents the wood from absorbing too much cleaner which could cause staining.

Step 4: Apply cleaner

Select a cleaner appropriate for your deck’s material. For wood, a wood deck cleaner can help remove mildew and stains without damaging the wood fibers. For composite, use a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.

Dilute the cleaner as directed on the product label in a bucket of water. Apply the cleaning solution liberally over the deck using a mop.

Allow the solution to sit on the surface for the time specified by the manufacturer (usually around 10-15 minutes). Perfect time to go and make yourself a cup of tea. You’ve earned it!

Step 5: Scrub

Use a stiff brush or non-metallic scrubbing pad to scrub the deck. Pay special attention to areas with noticeable stains or mildew.

For wood decks, always scrub in the direction of the wood grain to avoid damaging the surface, same as the patio.

Step 6: Rinse

Use a garden hose or a pressure washer on a low setting to thoroughly rinse the cleaner from the deck. Ensure all residue is washed away. Leftover cleaners can attract dirt and lead to surface damage.

Step 7: Check for stubborn stains

After the deck dries, check for any remaining stains or areas that may need more cleaning. Apply spot treatments as necessary using the same cleaner and rinse thoroughly.

Step 8: Drying

Let the deck dry fully. A dry deck will reveal its true cleanliness. It’s essential for the next steps if you plan to seal or stain the deck.

Step 9: Sealing or staining (optional but recommended)

Once your deck is clean and dry, consider applying a sealant or stain to protect the wood from moisture and UV damage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and choose a day with clear weather to ensure proper drying.

Step 10: Return furniture and decorations

Once the deck is dry and (if applicable) sealed, you can begin returning furniture and other items to their places. Consider using furniture pads to protect the deck’s surface.

That’s it. The process is very similar to cleaning a patio with slight variations.

Common mistakes to avoid when cleaning your patio and deck

Cleaning your patio or deck can greatly extend its life and enhance its beauty. However, certain common mistakes can actually damage these spaces or make your job harder.

Stylish outdoor patio setup with modern furniture on a well-maintained deck, illustrating the importance of proper cleaning techniques to avoid common maintenance mistakes.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of these mistakes and how to avoid them to ensure your cleaning efforts are effective and safe.

Using the wrong cleaning products

What to avoid:

  • Using bleach on wood decks can lead to discolouration and weaken the wood fibers.
  • Applying harsh chemicals on composite materials might degrade the composite mix.
  • Using abrasive cleaners on softer materials like soft stone or painted surfaces which can scratch or strip finishes.

How to avoid:

  • Always choose cleaners specifically designed for the material of your patio or deck.
  • Use mild, eco-friendly solutions whenever possible. This helps you to minimise environmental impact and potential damage to your surfaces and landscaping.

Over-pressurizing when using a pressure washer

What to avoid:

  • Applying too much pressure on softwood can etch, splinter, or strip the surface.
  • Using a high-pressure setting on composite decking can damage the surface or void warranties.

How to avoid:

  • Always start with the lowest pressure setting and gradually increase if necessary.
  • Use a fan tip nozzle. It spreads out the pressure over a wider area, reducing the likelihood of damage.
  • Keep the nozzle moving and at least 30 cm away from the surface to avoid focusing the pressure in one spot.

Ignoring weather conditions

What to avoid:

Starting your cleaning project when rain is expected is a huge mistake. Rain can wash away cleaners before they have had a chance to work and throw your efforts down the drain.

How to avoid:

Check the weather forecast before starting your project to ensure enough dry weather for cleaning and drying.

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Not rinsing thoroughly

What to avoid:

  • Leaving cleaner residue on the deck or patio, which can attract more dirt and may be harmful if it comes into contact with pets and children.

How to avoid:

  • Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water, ensuring all soap suds and cleaning residues are washed away.
  • Consider a second rinse for areas where the cleaner might pool or collect.

Inadequate pre-cleaning preparation

What to avoid:

Starting the deep cleaning process without first removing debris and dirt. This can lead to scratching the surface during scrubbing and ineffective cleaning.

How to avoid:

  • Sweep or blow all debris off your patio or deck before applying any water or cleaner.
  • Pay special attention to the gaps between boards or tiles where dirt and debris tend to accumulate.

Neglecting immediate clean-up after spills

What to avoid:

  • Allowing spills to sit on the surface (especially oily substances or acidic liquids like wine or fruit juices) can stain or damage the finish.

How to avoid:

  • Clean spills immediately with a gentle cleaner or soap and water to prevent them from setting and staining the surface.

Regular maintenance (when done correctly) can extend the life of your outdoor spaces. It also makes them safer and more enjoyable to use.

Conclusion

Deep cleaning your patio or deck is not just a spring cleaning chore. It’s about creating a pleasant and healthy environment for enjoying the outdoor areas of your home.It’s true that they require some maintenance but at the end of the day, it’s totally worth it to have one. And, hey, if you don’t feel like cleaning your deck or patio, you can always give us a call.

Samyx Cleaning - Branding Consultant, Author - Atanas
Author: Atanas Dzhingarov

Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.