How to clean a patio without a pressure washer - 5 quick and easy ways to rid of dirt and grime

Spruce up your patio without the need for a pressure washer

Metal outdoor dining set with parasol in terraced patio srea
(Image credit: Future PLC/Photoworld Ltd)

If your patio has taken a beating over the winter months and you’re looking to spruce it up before the sun comes out again, you might be interested in knowing how to clean a patio without a pressure washer. 

While there’s no doubt that the best pressure washer can make cleaning a patio a breeze, what can you do if you don’t have one of these heavy-duty appliances to hand? Well, if you’ve let your envious neighbour borrow your pressure washer or you just don’t have the kind of cash to splash on such an appliance, there are so many ways to clean a patio without a pressure washer. 

From cupboard essentials to more bespoke cleaners, all of these patio cleaning options below will do the trick and breathe new life into your old patio. In fact, you might not even recognise it by the time you’re done! 

How to clean a patio without a pressure washer 

‘Wetter weather creates a breeding ground for algae and other organic growth, which can damage your patio. Using a power washer will visibly reduce its appearance temporarily, but it will soon return, plus this method exposes your stone surface, making it vulnerable to the elements, causing further damage - and it can also blast away your render,’ explains Martin Beaumont of Monty Miracle. So, check out these alternatives if you want to clean a patio without a pressure washer. 

Metal outdoor dining set with parasol in terraced patio srea

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

1. Use a dedicated patio cleaner

It’s not hard to find the best patio cleaners out there. So many products are specifically designed for this task, and almost all of them can be used without the help of a pressure washer. Usually, these are liquid chemicals that target the algae and black spots on your patio. 

Talking about his patio cleaner (Monty Miracle Fast Patio Cleaner, which can be found on Amazon), Martin says, ‘The chemical liquid solution is simply applied to the surface and then left for ten minutes before rinsing - its unique formulation cleans away grime and grit without an invasive jetwash. A garden hose rinses away the solution with no need to apply any brute force or scrubbing.’

As they are specifically designed to clean a patio without a pressure washer, these chemical cleaners will make your patio look as good as new in no time. However, chemical cleaners aren’t the only option on the market - especially if you’re looking for something a little more natural. 

Kitchen extension with corner glazed doors and steps down to patio area

(Image credit: Future PLC / Chun Yue Chiu Photography)

2. Use washing-up liquid and water

You should never underestimate the power of washing-up liquid and water. Sometimes, the simplest of products can make the biggest difference, and that’s why some experts swear by using washing-up liquid and warm water to clean a patio without a pressure washer. 

Steven Bell, the managing director of Paving Shopper, explains, 'Washing up liquid mixed with warm water makes an excellent patio cleaner because it is designed to dissolve oil and grease. Create your own soap solution by adding a few squeezes of lemon-scented dish soap or washing up liquid to a bucket of warm water. The citrus smell is an added bonus! Scrub the sudsy mixture over the entire area with a stiff brush, then rinse clean.'

When doing this, aim to scrub diagonally when you do this, so you don’t disrupt the jointing compound. Of course, this option will require a lot of manual labour, but it’ll definitely be worth it. 

Patio area outside extension with sliding glass doors and bistro set table and chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC / James Balston)

3. Use white vinegar

Let’s be honest; cleaning with vinegar has revolutionised our lives. And while there are some things that you should never clean with vinegar, your patio is not one of them. This acidic ingredient is perfect for cutting through the algae and moss on your patio, and it can clean even the dirtiest of slabs. 

'For an eco-friendly route, white vinegar naturally breaks down residue because its acetic acid cuts through mineral deposits and grease. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a watering can, spritz liberally over the patio, let sit for 30 minutes, then scrub. Vinegar also helps kill weeds between pavers organically as you clean,' says Steven.

If you want to, you can then give it a wash and a slight scrub with warm soapy water, and then rinse. However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t attempt to clean limestone patio slabs with vinegar, as this acidic ingredient may damage them in the process. 

White vinegar, lemons and bicarb for cleaning

(Image credit: Future PLC)

4. Use baking soda

As is the case with vinegar, there are certain things that you should never clean with baking soda. But once again, your discoloured patio doesn’t make the cut! Thanks to its mildly abrasive nature, baking soda is a great option for those looking for a natural way to clean their patio. 

That’s because the baking soda will tackle the stubborn stains and dirt without damaging the patio slabs in the process, and to successfully do this you’ll need to make a paste of baking soda and water. 

Then, scrub the mixture into the patio with a hard-bristled brush. You can then rinse the whole thing with water and repeat as many times as you need to. 

5. Use Cif

It might not be a designated patio cleaner, but Cif is certainly a popular household cleaner. Of course, most people use it for the hobs in their kitchen or the sinks in their bathrooms, but it seems as though Cif can also work wonders outside of the house. 

Laura Mountford, Cleaning Expert and Author of Live Laugh Laundry, explains, ‘For a deep clean, I like to use a cream cleaner like Cif and then scrub using a long-handled garden broom. This will help to remove stubborn stains.’

Of course, we’d also suggest rinsing your patio with soapy water after using a product like this. And if you’re interested in this option, you can buy this Cif Pack of 4 Lemon Cream Cleaner from Amazon.


How do you clean an outdoor patio without a pressure washer?

Cleaning a patio without a pressure washer will require more manual labour on your part, but it’s easy to find the tools to help you with this. As well as buying specific patio cleaners, you could also opt for more natural cleaners, such as white vinegar, baking soda, and washing-up liquid. 

In these cases, you simply need to create a water-based solution with these ingredients and then scrub them into the patio. You should then rinse them with fresh water. 

What can I use instead of power washing my patio?

While a pressure washer allows you to clean a patio without using any cleaners, you can also use cleaners without the pressure from the pressure washer. If you’re cleaning a patio by hand, think about using a designated patio cleaner, washing-up liquid and water, vinegar and water, baking soda and water, or Cif. 

Happy cleaning! 

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.