Paver driveways, patios, and pool decks are beloved for their beauty and durability. However, they can slowly take on stains over time due to weathering, spills, and dirt. If your pavers are looking worse for wear, know that you can easily remove the stains using a bit of elbow grease or by blasting the grime away with a pressure washer.
By using the right cleaners and techniques, you can make your pavers look like new again in no time. To start, sweep away any loose dirt and then, mix a solution of soap and water. Use it to scrub away any remaining dirt. If the stains are still visible, use a stronger cleaner, such as bleach or muriatic acid. For larger areas, we recommend using a pressure washer.
Pavers are an investment in both the beauty and functionality of your home. To guarantee that they last a lifetime, be sure to regularly maintain them and clean away any stains that build up over time. In this guide, we’ll explain what tools you can use, discuss the best cleaning solutions, and guide you through how to use a pressure washer for more extreme jobs.
Why Do Pavers Take on Stains?
When homeowners choose to install pavers over concrete, they may not realize that they’re purchasing a material that’s porous and susceptible to staining. Whereas concrete is made from a more resilient mix of sand, gravel, and water, pavers are made from natural clay or stone that’s been kiln-fired.
This firing process gives pavers their unique colors and shapes but also makes them more vulnerable to the elements. So, although paver driveways, patios, and pool decks can last for decades, they will eventually take on stains due to:
- Dirt: Over time, dirt can work its way into the pores of the pavers, causing them to appear dull and discolored.
- Mold and mildew: If there’s too much moisture in the air or if the pavers are constantly exposed to water, mold and mildew will start to grow, leading to dark spots on the pavers.
- Spills: If you spill something on your pavers, the liquid will seep into the pores of the material, leaving a stain.
- Weathering: Pavers can also take on a dull, chalky appearance due to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Fortunately, you can remove most stains from pavers using a few simple household cleaners and a bit of elbow grease. For more difficult stains, you may need to rent or purchase a pressure washer.
Tools You’ll Need to Clean Your Pavers
Depending on the severity of your situation, we recommend picking up a few essential tools to help ease the cleaning process. By picking the right tool for the job, you’ll finish faster and end up with a better result. Head to your nearest hardware or pool store and look for the following items:
- A stiff-bristled brush with a long handle
- A bucket
- Industrial strength soap
- Muriatic acid (for more difficult stains)
- A garden hose
- A pressure washer (optional)
If you do not already own a pressure washer and are hesitant to invest in one, most hardware stores rent them out by the day.
When working with any type of acid or bleach, it’s important to take the necessary safety precautions to protect your skin, eyes, and lungs. Be sure to wear gloves, goggles, and a mask when handling these chemicals. In addition, always add acid or bleach to the water, rather than the other way around.
How to Clean Your Pavers?
Once you’ve gathered your materials, you’re ready to start cleaning your pavers. Begin by sweeping away any loose dirt, leaves, or debris. Next, mix a solution of soap and water in your bucket and use it to scrub away any remaining dirt. If the soap and water solution doesn’t remove the stains, you can try using a stronger cleaner, such as bleach or muriatic acid.
To use bleach, mix one part bleach with 10 parts of water. For muriatic acid, mix one-part acid with 20 parts of water. Be sure to add the acid or bleach to the water, rather than the other way around, as it can cause a chemical reaction if you mix the two incorrectly.
Once you’ve mixed your solution, use your stiff-bristled brush to scrub away the stains. You may need to apply pressure to remove tough stains. Be sure to rinse the area with clean water when you’re finished. If the stains are still visible, you can try using a pressure washer.
How to Use a Pressure Washer?
Before you start blasting away at your pavers, first begin by rinsing the area with clean water to remove any loose dirt. Next, hold the pressure washer nozzle about two feet from the pavers and move it back and forth as you work your way across the surface. Be sure to hold the nozzle at a 45-degree angle to avoid etching the pavers.
After you’ve finished pressure washing the pavers, rinse the area with clean water to remove any remaining dirt or cleaner. Additionally, be sure to set the pressure washer to low or medium pressure to avoid damaging your pavers. This should be plenty strong enough to remove unwanted stains.
How to Prevent Future Stains?
With just a few simple steps, you can prevent stains from coming back in the future. First, be sure to sweep away any loose dirt or debris on a regular basis. This will help to prevent the dirt from working its way into the pores of the pavers.
In addition, we recommend applying a sealer to your pavers every one to three years. This will create an invisible barrier that will repel water, dirt, and stains. When applying the sealer, be sure to use a brush with synthetic bristles to avoid damaging the pavers.
Finally, try to avoid spilling any liquids on your pavers. If you do spill something, be sure to clean it up right away. The sooner you remove the spill, the less likely it is to leave a stain. By taking these simple steps, you can keep your pavers looking like new for years to come.
The Bottom Line
Pavers make for a beautiful patio, driveway, or pool deck but they can take on stains over time. To keep your pavers looking their best, we recommend sweeping away any loose dirt, using a soap and water solution to scrub away remaining dirt, and using a pressure washer for more difficult stains. You can also prevent stains by regularly sweeping the area and applying a sealer to the pavers.