How to clean very dirty patio?

thadineDecember 16, 2008

I have a tiled outdoor patio that gets extremely dirty (I guess the wind just blows lots of dust/dirt there), but I'm not sure what the best way to clean it would be. Indoors I normally use a steam mop, or micro fibre mops, but I have found these insufficient for the outdoor area. Since they are outdoor tiles, I guess they are rougher, and probably have some kind of non-slip coating on them - at any rate, they seem to require real scrubbing to get them clean. Any recommendations on what I should do? I don't really like getting down on my hands and knees with a scrubbing brush, but that seems to be the only thing that works right now.

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If you have a pressure washer it would probably do a good job. We use one on our concrete and it looks like new. I don't think it would hurt the tile as we have washed our cars with it too.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 10:46PM
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Unfortunately, I can't use a pressure washer. I'm in Australia, and we have strict water restrictions - no hosing of hard surfaces whatsoever (including high pressure hosing). Good idea, though :)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 10:54PM
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If you can't hose down a hard surface, how do you rinse off the soap or cleaning product from the tiles?

Instead of getting on your hands and knees, could you use a short-bristle very stiff scrubbing brush on a pole?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 7:52AM
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Last spring when our home addition/remodel was complete, we pulled up the small patio slab in our backyard and poured new concrete. We chose to hardscape the entire yard, and the result is absolutely stunning. We opted for a stained stamped concrete in a style called Roman tiles. Each "tile" is wonderfully textured and looks as though its been there for eons. Everyone oohs and aahs.

Yeah, right. And now I have a HUGE outdoor floor to clean! Those wonderful "textures" collect a black dust in every crevice. My husband sez it bothers me but not him (but then, on weekends it would never occur to him to start cleaning the house, either!). Our property is in the midst of canyons in SoCal, and we always get tons of a fine layer of dirt/silt -- but I'll be darned if I didn't consider what that would do when we decided to texturize the new concrete.

At first I used a long yard broom and swept the patio, but I quickly saw that I didn't have the time or energy to do that. My husband bought a combo vacuum/blower and he uses the blower every couple of weeks. Takes about 20 minutes. We had thought about a power washer, but here in SoCal we really do try to be water-wise.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 10:41AM
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I use a big sweeping brush on my patio. Just weekly brushing keeps it clean, it's done in natural red brick. It doesn't require any regular washing.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 10:48AM
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Do you use it as a vacuum or a blower? If as a blower, where does all the dust it kicks up go?

Is there anything that combines a rotary brush with a vacuum? That would seem to provide the necessary agitation with dirt removal.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 10:50AM
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oofasis, we are water conservative here too. I was under the impression pressure washers use alot less water then trying to wash with a garden I wrong on this?

It does seem like if you use a blower it's all going to blow back . I think the OP was referring to dirty tiles..something that you can't blow off but have to scrub.

We were in Mexico last week, and they have a lot of tile sidewalks which looked pretty clean to me...I bet they just let mother nature wash them when it rains.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 11:53AM
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Yes, I was talking about dirty tiles that need scrubbing - a blower wouldn't do the job at all (plus, surely the dirt would come right back and settle onto the tiles again anyway). At the moment, I scrub it, then wipe it down with a cloth that's been rinsed in clean water. Takes ages and ages - I can only do a small square of 9 tiles at a time. I was hoping someone could recommend something along the lines of a heavy duty mop.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 6:12PM
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Hands and knees 9 tiles at a time - are you nuts??? There is no way I would do that much physical labor for an outdoor patio. I would settle for sweeping it and letting nature do what it does. Or maybe cover with indoor-outdoor carpeting.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 8:51AM
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Well, that's why I need a better solution...

Covering the tiles would just trap the dirt underneath - I doubt it would be any cleaner.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 6:49PM
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Not to be critical, but may we ask your motivation for wanting the patio so clean? We have a brick paver patio and never let the presence of a little dirt, some twigs, or a few leaves stop us from enjoying it. If I were in Australia, I'd be more concerned about the various spiders and other critters whose bite or sting can lead to one's demise.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 8:56PM
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I just bought a vapor steam machine it holds about a gallon of water and runs for about 2 hours.It has brushes that attach and are great for removing the dirt. I bought it to cleam my grout and it works beautifully.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 7:46PM
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Can you just use a vacuum on it? It wouldn't pick up the real stuck on dirt, but it would get everything a broom would with less trouble. Maybe not worry about it being a little dirty since it is outside.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 9:18PM
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my family and i are wanting to redo our backyard.Today i went out to jump on my trampoline and i noticed our patio was all dirty and had stains everywhere so i took the hose and started spraying it it looke a lot cleaner.I came back out in about 45 minutes and guess what the stains were back the patio was covered in water it was basically flooded so i tried to scoop the water out but it didnt work what should i do

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 4:15PM
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