How to buy outdoor cleaners

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This article, How to buy outdoor cleaners, was last updated on 21 May 2010 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Home & garden articles.

man relaxing on patio

Use our guide to help you make the most of your patio.

All the products we tested are easily available in DIY sheds and gardening stores. Most are available in a range of sizes: buying larger sizes can work out cheaper but you might prefer to test a smaller version at home first to check you're satisfied with the results. You may also want to take into account the following factors:

Check how quickly the product works

The application method and time needed for the job varies. Some products say you should apply and scrub off straight away, others need to be left on and rinsed off up to two days later (unless the rain does it for you). 

We found in general that the longer it’s left on, the better the end result, but you may want to get the job over and done with in an afternoon. If so, check instructions to see if the product works within your timeframe.

Check any safety recommendations

child and dog in the garden

Check products are safe to use around kids and pets

Consider what’s practical if you have pets or children. Some say the product is safe once it has dried, so you may not have to restrict the area for very long. Many state keep away from grass, plant life and/or water butts and ponds – this could be tricky depending on where the area to be cleaned is in your garden.

Do you need a dual purpose cleaner?

If you have a patio AND decking, we recommend our Best Buy dual purpose cleaner, which is equally good at cleaning both. If that’s not suitable for you, go for one of the general cleaners that cleaned our test patio reasonably well and is also suitable for use on wood. We found that decking is easier to clean than patios.

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