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Home & garden.

Updated: 30 Mar 2022

Cleaning your patio with a pressure washer

Tips for using a pressure washer to make your patio look as good as new.
Verity Mann
Cleaning a path with a pressure washer

Using a pressure washer to clean your patio and paths will make them look much better and stop them becoming dangerously slippery to walk on. 

A pressure washer is far quicker, easier and more effective than using a scrubbing brush and hose, but only if you know how to get the job done properly. You'll also need to make sure you're using the right washer - too powerful and you'll damage the surface, too weak and the grime won't budge. 

Watch our video below to find out how to tackle the job effectively.

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Video: how to clean your patio with a pressure washer

How to clean your patio with a pressure washer

  1. Make sure your hose is firmly attached to the tap. 
  2. Turn the hose on then release the lance trigger until water runs freely before you switch on the power.
  3. Fit the appropriate lance – most have a simple bayonet fitting. The pump will not operate until you squeeze the trigger.
  4. Make sure all connectors are tight and there are no leaks.
  5. Work from one edge or corner of the patio, blasting the dirt away from you in a sweeping motion. 
  6. If necessary, use the most powerful setting or the rotary lance to shift ground-in dirt and grime. 
  7. Rinse off using a lower pressure.

Take a look at our picks of the best pressure washers and expert buying advice including the best one for patios.

How can I clean my patio without a pressure washer?

Sweeping a patio

You can clean your patio by applying patio cleaning liquid and scrubbing with a firm broom.

The result might be not as good and it takes a bit more muscle power, but it costs a lot less than buying a pressure washer.

How do I get rid of weeds in my patio cracks?

If you’re happy to use chemicals, there are path weed killers available that, as well as killing the existing weeds in your patio cracks, will prevent others from coming up for several months afterwards.

Alternatively, if you prefer to avoid them because of their environmental impact, then you may prefer to remove them by hand. Long-handled wire brushes make the job of removing weeds from between the narrow gaps less backbreaking.

Make sure you keep the mortar between the slabs in good shape and replace any that gets removed over time as this will reduce the space available for weeds to grow.

Useful pressure washer features for patio cleaning

Pressure washing a patio
  • Variable jet nozzle: this will make it much safer to clean different parts of the patio without causing any damage.
  • Long hose: so you don't have to move it around as you clean. 
  • Wheels: to make it easier if you do need to move it.

Can I use my pressure washer with a water butt?

Some expensive pressure washers can use water from a water butt (or rain tank), but most are only designed to use mains water.

Karcher sells a special suction hose with a filter as an optional extra for many of its models. Costing about £34, this filter enables the washer to use water from a rain tank.

You'll find information about the features each pressure washer has in our pressure washer reviews.

Using your pressure washer safely

  • Watch out for the initial burst of water that comes out of the pressure washer when you first turn it on. There can be a strong initial spray, so point the nozzle at the ground first.
  • Don't ever use a rotary (or tornado) nozzle attachment when cleaning block paving or between slabs as it will be too strong and could damage the pointing between them.
  • Don't use a strong spray on areas where paving is chipped as it could cause more damage. 

Is your pressure washer ready for an upgrade? Head straight to our round-up of the best pressure washers.