How to Clean Patio Stone

A beautiful stone patio adds so much to an outdoor space.

We’re not just talking about aesthetically, either – though stone patios are always gorgeous to look at and dramatically upgrade the look of your outdoor entertainment spaces.

No, properly cleaned and regularly maintained patios are also going to extend the amount of living space and entertainment options you have outdoors. There’s a reason they are so popular with homeowners, after all.

At the same time, cleaning patio stone isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world to figure out for some folks.

A lot more goes into it than just spraying things down with your garden hose, after all.

Let’s run through (almost) everything you need to know about keeping your patio stones clean and clear up dirt and debris right now!

Start Simple and Get Rid of Surface Crud

The first thing you’ll want to do when getting ready to deep clean your patio stone space is to get rid of all the surface crud you can.

Breakout a broom (hopefully one you don’t mind using outdoors) and just sort of gently scrub the surface without any water and without any cleaner.

The idea here is to get rid of the bigger chunks of dirt, dust, mud, and mock that can accumulate. You want to do the bulk of the heavy lifting by getting rid of all this “big stuff” before you introduce any water or liquid cleaners.

Breakout the Stiff Bristle Brush

The next step is to wet down your patio stone using your garden hose (or a bucket of water) and then tackle your stones with a stiff bristle brush.

The stiff brush here should be used to deeper clean the surfaces, making sure that the porous areas are cleaned out as deeply as you can manage. Blast jets of water from your hose (as much as you can) to free up any gunk that just doesn’t want to come out, even after you hit it with your bristle brush.

Whatever you do, though, DO NOT use wire brushes on your patio stone.

That’s the fastest way to scratch and disfigure your patio stone permanently, scratches that you aren’t ever going to be able to get rid of afterwards. You also don’t want to be using any commercial cleaners that aren’t rated for cleaning patio stone.

Some of those cleaners are far too acidic and far too caustic to use on something like patio stone. You might end up removing all the dirt and muck you wanted to remove, but you’ll end up destroying the stones themselves as well.

Soak Stubborn Spots and Stains with Vinegar

Let’s say that you do have some stubborn spots and stains on your patio stones that just don’t want to come free.

You’ve used warm water and a little bit of dish soap, you’ve hit though spots with a high-pressure garden hose, and you’ve used a bristle brush to try and clear those areas away as well – but nothing seems to work.

Well, it may be time to break out the “big guns” and go with a little bit of vinegar and water.

Mix up equal parts of vinegar and equal parts warm water in a spray bottle and shake it for at least a minute or two. Then go out and spray down all of those stubborn spots and stains with the vinegar mixture, really soaking those areas as much as you can.

Give the mixture about an hour or so to work its magic and then come back with your nylon bristle brush.

Hit though spots again with just a little bit of elbow grease and watch as all of those previously stubborn spots and stains lift up completely!

All you have to do after that is gently spray down the area with some garden hose water and you should be rocking and rolling.

Use a Commercial Stone Cleaner for Anything Still Stuck Behind

Let’s say, for the sake of argument though, that there are still some spots you haven’t been able to remove effectively.

It may be time to upgrade to a commercial stone cleaner specifically engineered for the kind of patio stone you are working with.

Just make sure that the cleaner you are using is 100% safe for the material you’ll be cleaning (limestone reacts horribly with pretty much any cleaner out there, aside from a handful of options) and that it’s safe for use around your pets and your plants.

As soon as you confirm those details, though, you’ll be good to go!

Oxygenated Bleach May Be Necessary, Too

In the event of some really, really stubborn stains and spots that just won’t come clear of your patio stones you might need to use oxygenated bleach.

Combine four scoops of oxygenated bleach with a 5 gallon bucket of water and then allow enough time for that oxygenated bleach compound to fully dissolve throughout. Keep mixing and stirring the concoction for a couple of minutes and you’ll be able to speed things up a bit.

Usually you’ll only have to wait about 10 minutes or so for everything to be completely mixed, and then you are ready to spread this concoction all over those stubborn areas.

You can use an old mop or that nylon bristle brush we’ve mentioned a handful of times right now to improve the effectiveness of this cleaner, too.

Don’t worry about having to scrub too hard to free things up, though. The bleach does the bulk of the heavy lifting for you.

Gently Power Washing Can Bring Your Patio Stone Back to Better Than Brand New Condition

Finally, it’s never a bad idea to gently power wash your patio stone just to give it a final “once over” and guarantee that everything is just as clean as can be.

This is especially important if you are using any soaps, any solvents, but especially that oxygenated bleach solution we mentioned a moment ago.

You want to be sure that all of those substances have been washed completely off of your stone so that it doesn’t sit and cause erosion, pitting, or staining all on its own.

Don’t dial the pressure washer up to a million, either.

Just a gentle spray down to get everything clean and clear is enough until next time!