The best patio cleaners will make your patio tiles look as good as new, removing algae and stains and revealing the original color of your slabs - which can sometimes be quite a pleasant surprise (or shock) depending on when it was last cleaned!
We've all been spending a lot more time in our gardens over the past year, and so, making a few simple updates will ensure your outdoor space is ready to enjoy when the sun hits and the guests gather around your terrace, veranda, deck or porch.
How ingrained the dirt on your paving is - and whether it's in the 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. So you can get back to sunbathing in the summer on your best garden furniture and won't be shivering outside in the colder months.
Some don't even require much manual labor. Simply use the nozzle or quirky attachment provided, and see aesthetically-pleasing results in almost an instant.
The best patio cleaners
If you've invested in one of the best pressure washers, you'll know how pleasing it is to see the dirt quite literally vanish in front of your eyes. While filling up the appliance with water can achieve adequate results, using a dedicated patio and deck cleaner is optimal.
This concentrated formula means you can dilute the solution to suit your needs and size of your space. And, of course, with a machine like the Kärcher K 3 Power Control high pressure washer, available from Amazon, you'll even have intelligent app support so you can be smart with your cleaning too!
The formula is safe to use on a multitude of different floor surfaces including wooden and stone balconies and terraces, stone floors, wooden floors, glass surfaces and metal. It can be used to dissolve typical stains such as oil, grease, mineral stains, emissions stains, green growth and rust. An all-round winner for the garden design in our eyes.
If you have a large patio or paved area to clean then this concentrated Ultima-Plus XP Green Mold & Algae Remover patio cleaner offers great value for money. It needs diluting with water before use, but that means a 5-liter bottle can cover up to a 200 square meter 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 six 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, available from Amazon, 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 mold, 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 grimy 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. No expert knowledge on how to clean a patio is needed here.
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 ten minutes by using its fan nozzle.
It can also spray distances up to eight meters 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 on your covered patio or open spaces.
The Pro-Kleen spray and leave on formula, available at Amazon, 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, mold and algae over a couple of days.
The downside is that you get a lot less coverage with this pre-diluted 5 liter 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, available on Amazon solves that problem by coming with a battery-operated sprayer included with the purchase, plus four 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 or garden paving 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 with Wet and Forget Rapid
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:
How to clean your patio without a chemical cleaner
'Non-toxic and environmentally friendly, white vinegar offers one of the best ways to clean your patio and is perfect for those wondering how to clean a patio without chemicals,' says Darius Negahbani, digital marketing manager, Marshalls.
'If an eco-friendly patio cleaning solution is your number one priority, look for white vinegar that is made from grain, as this means it’s not distilled from petroleum.'
'Before you begin, make sure to clear and sweep the area. Due to the acidic nature of white vinegar, it’s important you remove plant pots, furniture, or ornaments so that they aren’t affected by the vinegar water. If there are any items you can’t remove, cover them with a sheet. Before you begin the cleaning process, use a weeding tool to uproot any weeds among the jointing.'
'Your water/vinegar mix should be in equal parts or, if your paving is particularly dirty, mixed with more vinegar than water. When you have your mix, pour it into a watering can. Use the watering can to generously and evenly distribute the mixture across the paved area, making sure the entire surface is covered. Once you’re happy with the coverage, leave it to soak in for 20 minutes.'
'In that time, the solution should have lifted the dirt and grime, meaning a brush should be enough to clean effectively. Make sure to get in among the cracks in the cement point between slabs, as the vinegar will also attack any remaining weeds.'
'Once you’ve finished, mop the area clean with cold water. Your vinegar mix should have succeeded in both removing any stains and killing off any remaining weeds.'
'Finally, don’t worry about the smell. Once you’ve mopped up and the water/vinegar mix has died, any odor will disappear. Remember only to replace your furniture and ornaments once the surface is completely dry.'
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 build up 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.
'Using a stone cleaner rather than just water to clean the patio will help ensure an outstanding cleaning performance,' says James Mokler, product marketing coordinator at Kärcher.
'Stone cleaning detergent has an active dirt remover, a protective formula to keep stone cleaner for longer, and wind and weather protection, offering outstanding cleaning efficiency, care, and protection in one step. Most cleaners can be used on stone patios, walls, and facades all around the house and garden.'
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.