Things to Know Before Buying Patio Cleaner
Despite living in the unpredictable UK climate, we still spend a lot of time in the garden – even when the weather isn’t great!
Of course, one thing that can put us off fully enjoying our patio is an ugly layer of mould. Mould, grime, algae can all make an appearance, and they can be quite slippery and dangerous too!
You might be hosting a summer party and wanting your garden to be on top form for the event. Or, your elderly in-laws might be visiting, and you’ll want the slippery patio to be made safe.
Luckily, giving your patio a spruce up with a specially-designed patio cleaning solution is a fast and effective way to get your garden looking great before the sun comes out.
There’s a huge range of patio cleaners on the market, which can make it tricky to find the best one. Some are more suited to cleaning different types of mould and algae, and some require different application methods. Some promise longer lasting results, and products can vary in volume and value.
These are all factors and features that could be important to you. If you’re looking to purchase patio cleaner, but aren’t sure what to go for, the following tips will help you make an informed choice:
Patio Cleaner Vs. Pressure Washer
While a pressure washer is a good option when it comes to cleaning your patio, they are far more expensive than patio cleaners and certainly require you to put more work in. Jet washers can also damage your patio if used too often.
Areas that are grouted can be dislodged by vigorous scrubbing or jet washing, so for grouted patios it’s especially recommendable to use a patio cleaner over other cleaning methods.
Patio cleaners don’t require fierce scrubbing or hard work. In fact, they often require next to no work from you at all. With most patio cleaners you simply have to mix the solution and spread/spray it over the patio – that’s it! The best patio cleaners don’t even require you to rinse the area. Plus, these products won’t damage the surface or affect the colour of your patio.
While jet washers are great for deep cleans every so often, a patio cleaner is really all that’s needed for a quick spruce up which will really have lasting results.
Look for a Safe Patio Cleaner
Patio cleaners can contain a range of chemicals, both safe and unsafe for humans.
When looking to buy a patio cleaner, it’s advisable to look for an eco-friendly patio cleaner that won’t harm children, pets or wildlife. There are plenty out there, and it’s a good way to give you peace of mind when using it – there’s no need to use chemicals that are harsher than necessary to get the job done!
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to let your patio dry before you allow your kids or pets back outside.
Ease of Use and Versatility
Patio cleaning solution is generally very easy to use. Different brands require different levels of dilution, but it’s not difficult to measure out the formula into a separate container.
Patio cleaners can also be very versatile, with some solutions not only able to clean patios but other hard surfaces which also attract algae and mould, such as caravans and window frames. The Pro-Kleen Patio Cleaner, for example, can be used to clean roofs, fending, uPVC windows and motor homes! Having a versatile product can make it even better value for money, as well as make your life easier by not requiring you to buy separate cleaning products.
Lastly, there are products which don’t need rinsing. These can really save time and are so simple to use. After applying the solution, you simply wait for it to dry, and that’s it! No need to return to wash it off. This can be a great help if you’ve got other jobs to get on with.
Cleaners with Long-Lasting Results
Patio cleaners can vary in terms of how long they keep delivering results for.
Most products are long lasting, with some able to keep mould and algae at bay for up to 12 months after the initial application.
As seen in the product reviews on this page, some patio cleaners ‘reactivate’ when it rains. These tend to be the products with the longest-lasting effects because there’s no need to re-apply manually, they’ll just get back to work when there’s precipitation.
You’ll also find that there are some cleaners which are better suited to giving longer-lasting results when treating different types of mould. If you’re having a particular problem with black spot mould, for example, the Smartseal Patio Clean Xtreme states it can be used neat to specifically target this type of issue, keeping it effectively at bay.
Size of the Bottle and Dilution
As mentioned, patio cleaners generally require dilution. It’s good practise to check the dilution of the patio cleaner you’re looking at – some smaller bottles may be better value for money than larger bottles if they are more concentrated.
If you have a very large patio, look for a patio cleaner that covers a wider area. Most bottles of patio cleaner will list the coverage area in square metres, so you can check how many cleans each bottle will give you.
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Patio Cleaner FAQs
How can I properly clean my patio?
Routine brushing will keep it free from leaves and debris but removing stubborn dirt will require the use of a patio cleaner. You can use a pressure washer or patio cleaning product. Be careful as pressure washers may damage grouting.
Using a pressure washer: Make sure your patio is swept clear, and always start with a low setting. Increase the pressure gradually. Remember that whilst very high pressure might be the most effective, it can damage the surface of your patio. Work from a shallow angle and from a good distance to prevent putting exerting too much pressure on your patio slabs.
Using chemical cleaner: Ensure your patio is swept clear. Remove any plants or furniture. Create your cleaning mix (most solutions will need diluting). Use a watering can to distribute the cleaner evenly all over your patio. Leave to soak according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse if necessary.
How do I use patio cleaner?
- Apply your patio cleaner on a day when rain is not expected.
- Check the directions on your patio cleaner to see if it needs diluting and what ratio of water to add.
- Keep children and pets from the area until the product is dry.
- Apply your patio cleaner with a low-pressure spray if possible. Alternatively, you can use a bucket and broom, or watering can.
- Leave the product to get to work. Bear in mind that the active ingredients in patio cleaners can take a few days to work. On very badly affected patios it may even take a few weeks before all the stains are completely removed.
Use a patio cleaner regularly on hard surfaces to remove mould and algae as these can make your paths and patios slippery and unsafe.
How do I remove black stains from patio slabs?
Black spots that grow on your patio are spores from black lichen. They are carried by the wind onto your patio, and they can be frustratingly difficult to get rid of!
Use a patio cleaner that specifically targets this type of mould. You may have to use the product neat. It will also inhibit the mould from returning.
Be prepared that patio cleaners designed to remove black spot are often very chemically strong and must be handled with caution.
How often should I clean my patio?
If you are pressure washing your patio, only do so once a year. However, you should still regularly sweep your patio to keep it looking good.
If you are using a simple patio cleaning solution, you can use it up to 4 times a year, or whenever you feel your patio needs a spruce up!
What is causing algae and mould to grow on my patio?
Green algae and mould grow in shady and wet areas. They thrive on shaded patios as these areas often have minimal drainage and hardly any sunlight. Sunshine will evaporate water, preventing the growth of algae better than in shaded areas.
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