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How to Clean Pavers

Paving stones, also called pavers, add a decorative element to any setting. Whether your pavers are used as a walkway through your garden, a patio, or driveway, your pavers are bound to lose their luster over time. Luckily, you can restore your pavers with a mild cleaning solution, stiff-bristled broom, replacement sand, and sealer.

1. Remove furniture and plants. Depending on where your pavers are located, remove any potted plants or furniture that can get in the way of cleaning. You want a clear surface free of obstacles while cleaning.

  • At this point, cover any surrounding landscaping with tarp that may be damaged by water or chemicals in the cleaning products. Be sure to also cover metal objects.

2. Clear moss and weed growth. Use a stiff-bristled handheld brush or brush broom to agitate and brush away any moss growth on or in between pavers. Gently pull weeds out in between paver joints. When all of the organic growth has been loosened, brush the debris off of your paved surface.

  • If the growth is too heavy to remove by hand, spray a vegetation killer and wait at least two weeks before cleaning the pavers.

3. Saturate the paver surface. Before you start cleaning the paver surface with soap or any other type of cleanser, hose down the entire area with water. You don’t need to power wash the area at this point; the pavers merely need to be wet so they don’t soak up the cleanser and form a murky film.

4.  Prepare a mild cleaning solution. The safest and easiest cleanse to start with is a mixture of warm water and a mild degreaser detergent. Fill up a gallon sized bucket with water and add about 16oz of dish detergent. Mix the soap into the water thoroughly. Once your cleaning solution is ready, gently pour some onto your paver surface, working in small areas at a time

5. Brush the pavers with a stiff brush. Use a stiff bristled broom to scrub the cleaning solution into the paver surface.] The harsh scrubbing from the broom bristles will loosen ingrained dirt and stains. Scrub in different directions to avoid wearing out the same spot.

  • You may use a wire brush or scouring pad instead. Don’t overdo it, as these tools can scratch the paver surface.

6. Rinse down the area. Once you are finished scrubbing and cleaning your paver surface, gently rinse off the cleaning solution with clean water and into a nearby drain.[7] You can use a regular garden hose to rinse off the cleanser or use a power washer to blast off harsh stains.

  • However, power washers can sometimes cause more harm than good (by excavating sand in between paver joints), so be careful if you decide to use a power washer.

7. Use more powerful treatments cautiously. If detergent doesn’t do the job, visit a home improvement store and look for a specialized cleaning product for your material (concrete, travertine, etc.). Many of these are highly corrosive and/or toxic, including TSP (trisodium phosphate) and muriatic acid. Read the warning label and make sure everyone in the area follows safety precautions. This may include wearing rubber boots, protective clothing, rubber gloves, mask, and safety glasses. Strong treatments can be a risk to children, pets, and vegetation, and may damage your pavers if used incorrectly.

8. Re-sand your pavers once dry. In most cases, the sand between the pavers is running low and needs a touch-up. Once the pavers are dry, pour a small mound of polymeric sand onto them. Sweep the sand all over on the paved surface with a dry, stiff-bristled broom. Brush in multiple directions for more even coverage. Keep pouring on more sand and sweeping until the joints are filled.

  • Polymeric sand locks the pavers together more effectively than regular sand.

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