Patio Cleanup Tips

Warm weather, backyard barbecues and outdoor games with the family are all part of what make spring and summer so special. With ideal conditions and opportunities for outdoor entertaining this time of year, it's important to make sure your patio is ready for hosting. Different factors - like changing seasons, general patio use and aging materials - can impact the overall longevity and strength of your patio. However, proper care and routine maintenance can keep your patio in prime shape so that it is party-ready for the long haul.
 
Follow these tips to maintain a well-kept patio you, and your friends and family can enjoy all season long:

 

Preparation

Before washing the surface of your patio, clear the area of all removable items - furniture, container plants, etc. This will allow you to clean freely without obstacles and eliminate any additional stopping and starting.
 
If the edges of your patio look a bit shaggy from bordering shrubs, trees or plants, this is also a perfect time to trim and edge, plus pull any weeds that have popped up between concrete pavers or loose stones. A string trimmer like the TB25C can make quick work of any grass that needs to be cut around your patio's perimeter. Once cleared, sweep or blow away any grass and debris that have been collected on the surface. A variable-speed leaf blower like the TB400  is ideal for patio cleanup, as you can control airflow and easily avoid sending any loose debris like sticks and rocks toward your home.

 

Address Stains and Surfaces

A long winter can leave its mark on your patio, but before you take out the pressure washer, it's helpful to address and pretreat heavily stained areas first. Vinegar is a natural go-to cleaner for many home surfaces, including patios. The versatility of vinegar makes it ideal for patios, as it can be used on a variety of porous surfaces like concrete and stone, plus nonporous surfaces like composite wood. To get the perfect blend, mix together equal parts of vinegar and water, or use full-strength vinegar on heavily soiled areas.
 
Baking soda is another good natural cleaner for porous surfaces, it can be applied to heavily stained stone or concrete areas. Mix one cup baking soda to one gallon of water for a powerful spot-cleaning solution.
 
Apply your vinegar or baking soda solution to the select areas and let it sit for 30 minutes, then scrub and rinse. Whether concrete, stone, wood or composite, each surface requires unique treatments. As a rule of thumb, use a stiff-bristled brush for stone and concrete, and a soft-bristled brush for wood and composite.

 

Protect

Container gardens are a great way to add color and texture to your patio space, but they can potentially cause irreparable damage to your patio's surface. When excess water drains from pots, it can puddle underneath causing mineral buildup as water evaporates. This buildup leads to mold and stains which you may not be able to remove. You can prevent this from happening by simply placing potted plants on saucers or risers. Pot saucers trap water and stop air from getting in under that plant, so water will evaporate without getting trapped under the pot. You can also use pot risers that leave a couple of inches between the pot and your patio's surface allowing water to easily evaporate.