Nothing beats hanging out with your family and friends in your backyard. However, it doesn’t feel quite as fun if you sit on dirty furniture sipping drinks or look at stained concrete while you enjoy food hot off the barbecue.
A patio adds a great perk for any home, but they do require continual care. Incorporate routine patio maintenance into your cleaning schedule to retain an inviting outdoor atmosphere.
Remove the Clutter
Before you start cleaning, move everything off of your deck or patio. This includes tables and chairs, the barbecue and flowerpots. Once you’ve done that, decide what goes and what stays. Only keep the essentials.
Clean the Furniture
The weather can be harsh on outdoor furniture. For cushions, follow care instructions. If you don’t know how to clean them, shake them off to remove loose dirt and spot-treat stains. Leave them out in the sun to dry. If the fabric can come off the cushions, put the covers in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Do not put them in the dryer. Once they look clean, put the covers back on the cushions so they don’t lose their shape.
For furniture, brush or vacuum loose dust and dirt. If you have plastic furniture, use a combination of bleach and warm water, then rinse it off with a hose. Warm water works better than cold for getting rid of grime.
Like plastic, if your wood furniture has become dirty, use the same cleaning combination. Consider staining the piece if you notice significant fading. If you have metal furniture, you may notice a rust build-up if the furniture hasn’t been correctly treated.
Treat the Floor
Use a broom to sweep off dirt and debris. If your patio is made from slabs, rocks or wood, you’ll need to weed between the cracks or use weed killer to get rid of these plant pests for good. Then use a garden hose to spray off debris. You may feel tempted to use a pressure washer, but it can damage the grout between stones or ruin softer wood.
The products you use to clean your patio or deck will vary depending on the specific patio material. Here are the most common options.
- Concrete. Concrete floors need regular cleaning to avoid dirt build up. After you sweep concrete to remove dirt, a degreaser will help get out marks left behind from the barbecue. If you notice significant stains, combine clear dish soap and water and scrub your floor to brighten things up. Never use a wire brush as it can leave rust stains and scratch surfaces.
- Clay. Similar to concrete in terms of durability and thickness, clay is an attractive patio option because it doesn’t fade over time. You’ll need to clean a clay patio a few times a year depending on the weather conditions. Use a special cleaning solution or a mix of water and detergent.
- Stone. Granite, limestone, slate and sandstone are all popular patio materials that require little maintenance. Sweep up the dirt on your stone floor and rinse with a hose. If you see mould, combine bleach with water, scrub and rinse with more water.
- Wood. Wood requires special attention because it often becomes discoloured and damaged from the sun, rain, or whatever else nature throws at it. Cleaning it with chemicals worsens badly damaged wood. Apply deck stain to protect it from weather damage. To determine if your deck needs staining, sprinkle it with water. If the wood quickly absorbs the water, stain could be a good additional treatment.
If you use a specially formulate cleaning solution, make sure to carefully follow the direction on the bottle. Wear protective clothing, gloves and glasses. Make sure to cover all areas of your patio, and leave the cleaner to absorb as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.