Everyone needs to clean house sometimes, especially rooms that get the most traffic, like a bathroom or kitchen. One place that gets a lot of traffic that many forget about cleaning is the patio. If you want to clean your patio without using harsh chemicals, there are plenty of natural ingredients that can be used. If you hadn’t thought much about what the difference is, chemicals can be harmful, especially to animals and kids. They can also be harmful to the dirt and groundwater; most cleaning chemicals are biodegradable, which means they are going to be in your soil for a long time. If you believe in taking care of the world we live in, you can start helping by using natural ingredients to clean your patio.
Now that you’ve decided to clean your patio, you’re going to need the right tools to clean it with. The best tool for this job is a stiff-bristled outdoor broom. You can find heavy-duty versions specifically made for outdoor use at any hardware store. (Or maybe even Walmart.) You will also need a soft scrub brush, or several, depending on how big your patio is. Don’t get anything too stiff or with hard bristles; you could scratch the tile. If you have a power washer, you can use it, too. If you don’t, just use a regular water hose, or a mop and bucket. Last, if you’re going to clean your grout, you’re going to need a small, soft-bristled brush. A soft or medium toothbrush will do just fine. You will also need an empty spray bottle(s). Now that you’ve got your cleaning tools together, you can get your natural cleaner. There are several natural cleaners to choose from.
Vinegar is an excellent cleaner, and because of its acidic nature, is powerful enough to dislodge the toughest dirt. For a basic concrete patio cleaner, mix distilled vinegar and water in the squirt bottle. The stronger you need it, the more vinegar you add. If you need it super strong, just use straight vinegar. You can use two bottles and make one half and a half and the other pure vinegar. That way you have both general and deep cleaning detergent ready. Spray the vinegar bottle over the entire surface. If you want to make it smell better, add 40-75 drops of your favorite essential oils. Wait about 20 minutes, then scrub it with the broom. If you have a power washer, use it, spray it off with the hose, or mop it up with clean water. As an added bonus, vinegar also works well as a weed killer.
Baking soda is a more abrasive choice, making it great for cleaning the rough surface of your patio. There are several ways of using baking soda. You can make a paste for smaller stains by mixing the baking soda with vinegar until it becomes consistent. Spread it over the stain; let it set for a few minutes and then scrub it with the brush or broom, whichever one is easiest. For bigger stains and high traffic areas, mix equal parts baking soda, salt, and water. Spread mixture over the entire area; let it sit for a few minutes and then spritz it with vinegar. This increases the effectiveness of all ingredients. Then just scrub it with the broom. The third way of using baking soda is for general cleaning. For that, you mix a half cup of baking soda in a gallon of water. Rinse all of these when finished.
Hydrogen peroxide is a gentler choice for cleaning your patio. Just replace the screw top lid with a spray top and spritz the entire area of patio, paying extra attention to high traffic areas. You can now clean the patio as is or spritz over with vinegar to supercharge the cleaning power. Either way, let it set for several minutes and then use the scrub brush or broom. Rinse when finished.
Bleach is a cleaning standard as it can literally be used to clean anything. In addition, its whitening power proves a plus. Bleach can be used if you have any mold or mildew. Just mix one cup of bleach in a gallon of water. Scrub the solution in with either a brush or broom. You can make a bleach mixture with baking soda to clean heavy stains. Add two parts bleach to three parts baking soda to make a paste. Spread it on the stain and let it set for several minutes. Scrub it with either a brush or broom. This mixture can be harmful to your grass, though, so be very careful if you decide to use it. As with the other natural cleaners, rinse with water when finished, either with a power washer, hose, or mop and bucket.
The grout tends to get the dirtiest because it’s more porous than the tile. Choose any of the stain methods described and spread it on the grout. Using a small brush or toothbrush, scrub it after letting it sit for several minutes. Rinse when finished. If you spread your chosen stain method in the grout and on any other tough stains first, it will make it easier. Then you can finish by cleaning the rest of the area with a less strong choice of cleaners. Then rinse with water.
You and your family spend time on your patio. Now you can keep it clean without having to worry about chemicals.