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Cleaning Paving Stones: How to Make Them Gleam Like New

Cleaning paving stones
With the correct tools you can clean paving stones in next to no time. And make them gleam like new again.

Cleaning Paving Stones: Why Is It Important?

Some gardening jobs come up again and again. Some plants need to be pruned at certain times, with others you have to remember to fertilise regularly. But there are other things in garden that are important if it should look beautiful and well maintained.

Cleaning paving stones, for example, should also be a regularly planned event. The stones laid on pathways and patios or on drives ultimately get a lot of use.

The are also exposed to the weather outside which also leaves its marks on the paving stones. Paving stones are susceptible to pollen, leaves, algae, lichens, moss and many other things that rob them of their attractive appearance over time. Cleaning is essential if you want a well maintained looking garden.

Paved patio in the garden
Clean your paving stones regularly. Then you can enjoy your relaxing spot in the garden. ©Flora Press/BIOSPHOTO/Frédéric Didillon

Which Paving Stones Need to Be Cleaned Particularly often?

The frequency with which you should clean paving stones depends on two factors:

  1. The paving stone material
  2. The location of the paving stones

Both points are decisive for how intensively algae takes hold on the paving stones and how quickly discolouration occurs, for example. Light and even stone coatings can often hide dirt better than dark and structured paving stones.

Algae hardly appears in sunny locations. In shady, sheltered and damper corners however, it can be a real problem. If algae and certain fungi come together, they can cause a coating that sticks to the paving stones.

So you will have to clean paving stones in problematic areas that are also dark and structured more frequently than light stones in more favourable positions in your garden.

Cleaning Paving Stones: Basic Cleaning

Always keep paving stones free of leaves, soil and plant debris. Sweep up regularly or make the job easier with a leaf blower. The ALB 18 LI from Bosch, for example, is particularly handy and does the job in next to no time. The leaf vacuum UniversalGardenTidy from Bosch is also perfect for paving stones in particular. Its blowing power can be regulated to take into consideration everything which is lying, creeping and crawling about. And vacuumed leaves can be directly chopped up.

Basic cleaning is important. As when this dirt comes into contact with water, it can dissolve and penetrate into the porous paving stone surface. Discolouration is then frequent. You will have a tough job getting rid of this later.

Leaves on paving stones
First, get rid of the coarse dirt. Blow or sweep up leaves and small branches. ©iStock/Rainer Lesniewski

Cleaning the Joints Between the Paving Stones

Weeds often appear in the joints between paving stones. This is also unattractive. So you should remove these regularly.

You can get rid of weeds and moss in joints with a weed burner, weed scraper or a strong brush. Do not use weed killer on paving stones. You’ll pay a big price. Our short tutorial shows you how this works in practice. ( Link to YT film )

Removing Spots, Coatings and Discolouration

If a green coating forms on your paving stones, the best thing to do is reach for a pressure cleaner, such as the Fontus low pressure cleaner from Bosch. It has no power or water connection so it is particularly flexible to use and reliably removes dirt with four different spray types.

Make sure that the paving stones can tolerate the use of a high pressure cleaner before you get started. It’s best to be sure by checking with the manufacturer. With some products you may need to reduce the pressure of the water jet.

Alternatively, you can work the paving stones with a brush and scrub away the coating. It’s quite a lot of effort by hand, but it’s much easier with the compact brush from Bosch. Its powerful water jet takes care of the laborious part of the work for you.

Cleaning paving stones with Bosch equipment
Check whether your paving stones tolerate being treated with water pressure. If they do, the Fontus low pressure cleaner from Bosch does an excellent cleaning job

Cleaning the Paving Stones with High Pressure

If your paving stones are suitable for treatment with a high pressure cleaner, be happy! Because it’s an extremely fast and effective, not to mention back saving, option to clean the stones. What’s more, you’ll also save water.

Take care when using it that you direct the jet of the high pressure cleaner away from buildings and windows. In this way, the dirt will be carried off in the correct direction. Regulate the pressure of the water jet so that the dirt comes away easily and the stones are not unnecessarily worn.

Granite, basalt, quartzite paving stones are particularly hard. You don’t generally need to worry about the water pressure used on these. But you should still do a tolerance test. Alternatively, you can ask the manufacturer what treatment stones made from these materials tolerate.

Cleaning Paving Stones: the Correct Cleaning Agent

You can buy a special cleaning agent for paving stones in a specialist trade shop. There are generally different products for natural stone and cement. Acidic cleaners and those with detergents are not suitable for natural stone such as marble, granite or sandstone. They attack the surface. Use a special natural stone cleaner here or rock oil.

Cleaners with solvents work well on resin spots as well as grease, alkaline, rust and paint spots. You can use a special cleaner for lichens. Test an inconspicuous area to see if the stones tolerate the agent.

Apply these cleaners to the stones and work them in with a brush or a surface cleaner such as the Aquasurf 280 from Bosch.

Allow the agent to work in or dry according to the use recommendations and then remove it.

Only use these cleaning agents if you don’t expect any rain during the working in period. Otherwise, it could impede the cleaning effect. In addition, only use products which are biodegradable. They will be rinsed into your garden with the rain and could otherwise cause environmental damage.

Alternatively, just use warm water with a neutral soap.

Aquasurf 280 from Bosch
Glide effortlessly over paving stones with the Aquasurf 280 from Bosch. The stones are easily cleaned.

Cleaning Paving Stones with Household Remedies

You can either use the cleaning agents mentioned to clean paving stones, or household remedies. Soda (sodium carbonate) is particularly suitable for this. You can also use it to clean acid-sensitive paving stones.

Add 100 g of soda to 10 l of water and distribute the mixture on your paving stones. This works best with a broom. Wear protective glasses when working as the liquid could irritate eyes.

Leave the cleaning mixture to work for about six hours and then wash it with fresh water or with the compact brush from Bosch mentioned above.

Baking soda on a spoon
Backing soda is a household remedy for cleaning paving stones. Mix it with water and pour the mixture over the area to be cleaned.

Cleaning Sealed Paving Stones

If the paving stones are sealed then cleaning is much easier. Because the dirt finds it much harder to stick to sealed paving stones. Clean the surface with water and a neutral cleaner. You should not use a high pressure cleaner here as it could attack the sealant. The safer variant is therefore to clean with the surface cleaner Aquasurf 280 from Bosch.

Cleaning Paving Stones: How to Make Them Gleam Like New
Paving stones put up with a lot. So it’s important to give them a clean now and again. You can find out the best approach, which household agents help, and which tools can make your job easier here.