How to clean a patio with a pressure washer

Cleaning a patio is one of the hardest jobs around the house, which is probably why many of us avoid doing so in the first place! Ironically though, the longer you delay giving your patio the good scrubbing it needs, the harder it’ll be to clean it afterward as the dirt and grime build-up. 

Unless you have a pressure washer by your side, that is. Whether it’s been a week, a couple of months, or even a year since you last washed the patio, a pressure washer can do quick work of the dirtiest of patios. And to make sure you get every bit of dirt and congealed mud off, we’re going to do you the courtesy of guiding you every step of the way.  

Before you get started….

There are a couple of things you need to gather before you can start cleaning your patio:

  • Pressure washer (or a power washer, but that’s an entirely different debate)
  • Broom – to sweep away objects and small stones on your patio before cleaning
  • Detergent – some soap will definitely go a long way in restoring your dirty patio to its former glory
  • Hose – to connect the pressure washer to your home’s water supply
  • Hose adaptors – for connecting the hose to your tap
  • Safety goggles – protects your eyes from the spray and flying dirt
  • RCD Adaptors – for connecting your pressure washer to the mains power supply

Having all of these things at hand before you get down to cleaning your patio is recommended, since it’ll let you achieve the best of results, and you won’t have to stop working in the middle to go find something later on.

Step 1: Clearing your patio

Before you can start blasting dirt away from your patio, you need to first clear off any leaves or other loose objects like stones and trash. Simply pick up your broom and sweep these objects off of your patio, ideally collecting them in one place far from the patio.

Clearing out your patio like this not only lets you focus the power of the pressure washer solely on the layers of dirt stuck to the patio, but also lets you use a pressure washer safely.

Not taking the time to clear off any tiny objects like this can work against your favor, since the high pressure from the water stream can send small objects flying in all kinds of directions, including right back at you. This is also why wearing a pair of goggles before you start is especially important.

Step 2: Prepping your pressure washer

Now that you’ve cleared your patio, it’s time to prep your washer so that you’re ready to start cleaning. Connect your water tap to on end of your hose (you may need a hose adapter for this part) and the other to the pressure washer itself. Open the tap (without switching on the pressure washer!) and squeeze the nozzle to let water flow out by its own pressure. This lets air in the hose clear out before the motor starts running. (For a more detailed explanation on how to set up your pressure washer, click here).

Another proactive measure you can take is to set up your electric cables in such a way that they don’t come in contact with water. After all, exposing sockets and electric connections to water can never have a good outcome, so it’s best you take this precaution before plugging in your pressure washer and switching it on.

Step 3: Using detergent

Using detergent to assist you in cleaning your patio is a great idea since it’ll leave your patio cleaner and even looking fresher than if you chose not to use it. And you don’t even have to use too much soap in the first place; the high pressure from the spray of water will take care of the rest.

Though there are a few exceptions, most pressure washers come with the ability to use detergent and often include their own mechanism for mixing the soap directly into the stream of water they spray. These mechanisms differ from model to model (with some even having a dedicated detergent bottle attached to the end of the nozzle), so you have no choice but to browse your product manual for the proper way to use your pressure washer with detergent.

Step 4: Start spraying

To begin cleaning your patio, set your spray to medium pressure, wide-fan spray setting, and aim the spray gun at a far corner of the patio. Squeeze the trigger (or turn the nozzle etc.) and begin by sweeping the patio from side to side. Go over each section at least 2-3 times before moving down on the next patch, repeating the sweeping motion from one side to the other.

Make sure to keep your spray at an angle of around 45 degrees and take care not to follow the joining lines on your patio, lest you force your paving stones apart. Consider using a patio cleaner attachment, since those are designed to give you the best possible cleaning results when dealing with a dirty patio.

Step 5: Finishing up

Remove your detergent from the pressure washer setup and expel any soap left inside onto the patio. Using just water, give your entire patio the final two sprays, washing off any residue dirt or soap on its surface. Give your patio a thorough look-over before you finish up; it’s quite possible you may have missed a spot or were unable to target some especially tough areas. Switching over to the high pressure, jet spray setting, eliminate the grime stuck in these places and wash off the dirt they release.

Step 6: Safely turning off the machine

First, turn off your pressure washer and remove the water supply. Turn the pressure washer back on again and squeeze the nozzle to expel any residual water from inside the pressure washer. Leaving water inside could put your motor at risk of damage through expansion as water freezes. Once the water has been expelled, you’re free to remove the pressure washer from the mains power supply, clean it, and store it away for future use.

And that’s about it. Happy Washing!