The best patio cleaners will make your patio look as good as new, removing algae and stains and revealing the original colour of your slabs - which can sometimes be quite a surprise depending on when it was last cleaned!
We've all been spending a lot more time in our gardens over the past year, and with the warm weather now on its way again - hurray! - making a few simple updates will ensure your outdoor space is ready to enjoy when the sun hits.
How engrained the dirt on your patio is - and whether it's in sun or shade - can all affect how much work your patio cleaner will need to do. But fear not, the best patio cleaners are up to the task!
And the best bit? Many of the best patio cleaners can simply be applied and then left to dissolve the dirt whilst you sit back and relax, so no more scrubbing on your hands and knees!
Read on to find the best patio cleaners to get your outside space ship-shape for summer - and if you're in need of some inspiration for furnishing your patio once it's in tip-top condition, be sure to check out our guide to 2021's best garden furniture so you can lounge outdoors in style this summer.
The best patio cleaners for 2021
If you have a large patio or paved area to clean then this concentrated patio cleaner offers great value for money. It needs diluting with water before use, but that means a 5 litre bottle can cover up to a 200 square metre area.
There's also no need to scrub with this energy-efficient option as the formula is designed to be sprayed on with a garden sprayer (not included) and then left to do its thing over a few days.
Because you don't wash this patio cleaner off it also helps to prevent the regrowth of moss and algae for up to 6 months, leaving your patio with a protective barrier that resists greening over.
Want a patio cleaner that can also be used to disinfect? Jeyes outdoor cleaner for patio and decking both removes grime and can be used to hygienically clean, killing 99.9% of germs according to the brand.
Once diluted the spray and leave-on formula works to dissolve mould, mildew, algae and dirt without you having to scrub, although you will need to rinse this formula off after it's had a chance to work for a few hours.
This patio cleaner doesn't claim to remove moss, but when we tested it we found it did a great job of cleaning up grimey patio paving - read our Jeyes Patio & Decking Power Outdoor Cleaner review to see it in action.
As long as you already have a hosepipe, then this ready-to-use patio cleaner couldn't be simpler to apply. Just attach your outdoor hosepipe to the top of the bottle and it will automatically mix the patio cleaner with the water, allowing you to spray up to 200m2 in just 10 minutes by using its fan nozzle.
It can also spray distances up to 8 metres making it easier to reach those hard to get to areas.
The downside is that you will pay a fair bit more for this convenience, with this option coming in as the most expensive on our list. Worth it for the ease of use? Personally, we think so.
If you don't want the faff of having to dilute your patio cleaner before it can be used, then this option comes ready mixed for hassle-free spraying.
The spray and leave on formula means there's no need for scrubbing, and you don't need to rinse this option off - simply leave to dry and it will dissolve dirt, mould and algae over a couple of days.
The downside is that you get a lot less coverage with this pre-diluted 5 litre bottle, which is fine for a small patio area, but if you have a big area to cover then a concentrated mix may work out better value depending on what deals are currently on.
There's nothing more annoying than buying a patio cleaner, only to read the instructions and find a garden sprayer is recommended for best results.
This Patio Magic! ready-to-use formula solves that problem by coming with a battery-operated sprayer included with the purchase, plus 4 Duracell AA batteries to get you off to a good start.
The idea is a good one, and the design requires no pumping, unlike a usual sprayer, although it does leave something to be desired performance-wise. If you're looking for a one-off patio blitz and don't want to invest (or have to store) a separate sprayer then this makes an easy and convenient option though.
How to clean your patio
Check out our full guide on how to clean a patio on our dedicated page, but for a quick glimpse of one of the best patio cleaners on our list - the Wet and Forget Rapid with Sniper Nozzle - in action watch Real Home's Laura Crombie blitz her patio with this super easy spray on our YouTube channel:
Patio cleaners and pressure washers: does one need the other?
The truth is that the days when using a patio cleaner needed a pressure washer as standard are over. Most modern patio cleaners can simply be applied and left to do their work, and the next rain will take care of the rest. The only situation where a pressure washer is required is where the patio cleaner is quite strong and you don't like the smell lingering (or the idea of your pets walking over it). Sometimes there's also so much of an algae buildup that you will need two applications of the cleaner to see results. Other than that, an application with a brush or stiff broom is enough for most patios.
Biodegradable vs. eco-friendly patio cleaner: what's the difference?
Patio cleaners are often made from strong stuff, so it's important to know what you're using in your garden. Most patio cleaners sold nowadays are biodegradable: this simply means that you don't need to do anything extra to make them safe once dry. It is important to know that this does not mean they're eco-friendly: most are harmful to aquatic life and shouldn't come into contact with live plants.
How to prevent algae from growing on your patio
If you feel like you're fighting a losing battle with algae on your patio, you will need to up your cleaning regime. You don't need to use a cleaner every time, though: what you really need is a stiff brush or broom, and to brush away dead leaves very thoroughly. Algae feed on decomposing organic matter, so keep your patio debris free.