Patios and paving slabs can get dirty throughout the year but they can get especially mucky at the end of the summer months after weeks of barbecues and alfresco dinner parties.
Paw prints, mucky shoe prints, outdoor furniture scuffs and spillages can all contribute to a dirty patio.
While it may be tempting to use standard tools and routines to clean patios, an expert has warned that these could be the most damaging.
Rowan Cripps, paving specialist and founding director of Infinite Paving has shared the cleaning hacks and trends Britons should never use on their patios.
He said: “Beware of all the tips and hacks you see on social media these days. It could be advice that does more harm than good to your patio.
“Even if you ignore the fads and clean your paving the way you always have, you might be doing it wrong. Some substances and tools are more abrasive than you may have realised.”
1. The Pink Stuff
The Pink Stuff is a brilliant cleaning brand with numerous products that can be used all around the house. However, the hugely popular cleaner should not be used on stone paving, especially natural slabs like granite, slate, and sandstone, according to the expert.
He said: “The stuff is abrasive, which is what makes it a good cleaner, yet it’s what also damages patios, scratching the stones, and rubbing away the protective surface.”
2. Outdoor brushes
Lots of people use heavy-duty garden brushes to brush the dirt off their patio and as a cleaning brush with detergents. However, this could be a problem as brushes with hard bristles damage natural stones over time and can even “wear them down” and cause “discolouration”.
In the long run, this could reduce the slabs’ weather-resistant properties. Instead, gardeners should use brushes with soft bristles to avoid causing damage.
3. Turbo jet washers
Gardeners often use jet washers to clean patios, however, Rowan claimed this could be a “bad idea” if you use a certain attachment.
He said: “Using a powerful jet washer or turbo nozzle attachment is a bad idea. Watch a cleaning video and these jet washers get the dirtiest paving slabs sparkling.
“But, what you might not notice is that it also clears away soft or worn jointing, aka the grout in between your paving slabs. Simply using a lower pressure will prevent this from happening.”
4. Acid-based cleaners
Some recommend acid-based stone cleaners for rust stains and other types of spotting but these harsh cleaning solutions can cause stone to “deteriorate” over time.
Homeowners might see etching where the acid has reacted with the mineral in the stone which can make the surface appear pitted.
If you want to use acid to remove stubborn stains from patios or any kind of paving, stick with natural stuff like vinegar.
Rowan said: “We’ve seen TikToks recommending salt as a natural weed killer to get rid of the pesky weeds that pop up between patio slabs. Don’t use it.
“If you get salt onto the stone it can erode the surface. Over time, you’ll see imperfections appear and even cracks. Use a chemical-free weed killer instead.”