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Cleaning Patio Slabs with Washing Powder – [A Simple Guide]

Your garden patio hosts some of summer’s finest moments. However, over time, accumulated grime and dirt on a dirty patio can mar their appearance, transforming even the most meticulously laid slabs into a bit of an eyesore. Never fear! By deploying an everyday ingredient from your utility room – washing powder – you’ll have your patio slabs gleaming like new.

Is It Advisable to Clean Patio Slabs with Washing Powder?


Key Takeaways:

Maintaining clean patio slabs can be challenging, especially with stubborn stains like oil, grease, or rust.

Indeed, using washing powder to clean patio slabs can be a practical, effective, and economical solution. However, it’s crucial to confirm that the washing powder is compatible with the material of your patio slabs first and that you follow proper paving cleaning procedures, such as prepping the area, applying the solution appropriately, and thoroughly rinsing with water after scrubbing.

Washing powder is a potent cleaning agent for patio and paving slabs throughout, frequently outperforming specialist patio cleaners owing to its robust degreasing properties.

The essential supplies required for this cleaning process include a bucket, washing powder, warm soapy water, a stiff-bristled brush or broom, and protective gloves.

Prepare the cleaning solution by blending approximately two scoops of washing powder with a gallon of hot water, ensuring it’s fully dissolved before use.

Apply the solution using a stiff-bristled brush or broom, giving each slab a good scrubbing down, with particular attention to heavily stained areas. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing comprehensively with a hose or pressure washer.

Washing powder may not be suitable for delicate natural stone slabs, and extremely stubborn stains on natural stone might need a heavy-duty patio cleaner or professional cleaning service.

These are the best articles to read if you are cleaning a natural stone patio:

  1. The best way to clean Limestone paving
  2. The best way to clean Indian stone paving

Overall, using washing powder to clean concrete paving patio slabs is an economical and effective method to clean an inviting outdoor living space.

How to Clean Patio Slabs with Washing Powder


To effectively clean your patio with washing powder, you must gather and mix some essential materials.

Materials required

You will need a bucket, a stiff-bristled brush (preferably one designed for outdoor use), a watering can or hosepipe, and your washing powder. Optionally, use a pressure washer once you have scrubbed the patio down.

Think of these materials as tools in your tool kit. Like specific tools are required for household repairs, you need unique products to clean your patio effectively.

Remember, different types of washing powder are made for other surfaces. Always check the manufacturer’s specifications first. Choose laundry detergents for outdoor use on patios containing bleaching agents such as sodium percarbonate. These will help tackle tough stains. Ensure the detergent purchased is strong enough to remove mildew stains.

Morrisons sell its own-branded washing powder at just £2.55, making it an affordable option compared to other cleaning solutions available on the market.

Preparing the Washing Powder Solution

A brush in soapy water ready for cleaning

Before you start cleaning your patio slabs using washing powder, preparing the solution properly is crucial. You will need the following materials:

  • Warm Soapy Water
  • Bucket
  • Washing Powder or Detergent
  • Stirring Stick or Brush

Pour warm water into a bucket, then add washing powder or detergent. Stir the mixture with a stick or brush until the product dissolves entirely.

The amount of washing powder you use will depend on your patio’s size and dirtiness level. Follow the directions on the packet for guidance on how much powder to add per litre of warm water. If you need more clarification about how many solutions you need, start with a small quantity and increase it gradually as required.

Choosing a safe detergent on all surfaces, including natural stones, concrete, and pavers, is essential. Some detergents have ingredients that can damage or discolour certain materials, so always check before choosing a detergent.

Select a detergent that produces a lot of suds. The foam indicates how well the cleaning is going and helps you to cover a larger area without over-scrubbing.

Applying the Cleaning Solution

A closeup of a clean and dirty side of paving

Plan a small area at a time

First, assess your patio paving size and divide it into manageable sections. Take on one area at a time. This ensures you don’t miss any spots or accidentally clean the same paving slabs twice.

Prep the area

Clear away any patio furniture, plants, dirt or debris. This will provide you with a clear space for cleaning the paving.

Start from one corner

Dip your brush in the bucket of washing powder solution and scrub the patio surface, starting from one corner. Scrub the patio, paving diagonally towards the edges to ensure maximum coverage.

Use soft-bristled tools

Abrasive brushes or metal tools could degrade your patio slabs, so avoid these wherever possible. Soft-bristled brushes are ideal as they can effectively remove dirt without causing damage.

Scrubbing technique

Apply firm but gentle pressure to avoid damaging non-abrasive surfaces like natural stones or ceramics. Scrubbing too hard could cause the paving to lose its shine or the material to become porous.

Scrub in small sections

Work on a tiny section at a time, particularly on cleaning any visible dirt patches. For stubborn stains, apply a little extra pressure to the area.

Rinse with a hose pipe or pressure washer

Once satisfied with your cleaning, rinse your freshly cleaned section thoroughly. Repeat this wash step until all areas are rinsed off, leaving no visible soap or detergent residue.

Leaving the washing powder on overnight is a matter of personal preference.

Key Tips for Easier Washing Powder Cleaning

Cleaning patio slabs with washing powder involves combining warm water with powdered laundry detergent to formulate a solution and spreading it evenly over the surface of the patio slabs. Read these essential tips that will aid you in enhancing this process:

  1. Selecting Suitable Washing Powder: Not all laundry detergents effectively clean patio slabs. Selecting a detergent that requires less water is vital, as excessive foam can impede a properly dissolved mixture, leading to residue accumulation.
  2. Preparing Your Solution Correctly: Always heed instructions meticulously when preparing the washing powder solution since an incorrect mix might not work effectively or potentially damage your patio slabs. Use warm water only and combine regular laundry detergent in a ratio of one part detergent to four parts hot water in a bucket.
  3. Choosing Correct Scrubbing Equipment: Utilise a hard bristled brush that won’t mar the surface of your patio slabs. An efficient scrubbing brush will aid in reaching all the crevices and nooks on the slab surface, loosening any dirt or grime, and promoting optimal foam during cleaning.
  4. Applying Your Solution Carefully: Use your solution from the point furthest from your hose to avoid spreading water mixed with detergent on cleaned areas. Cover the entire region, ensuring to notice all spots that might be trickier to reach. Working methodically when applying the cleaning solution is crucial, ensuring each section is covered thoroughly.
  5. Rinsing Off Excess Detergent: After scrubbing, rinse off the surplus foam from the patio surface using a garden hose or jet wash the patio on low pressure to avoid dislodging joint compound fillings and other materials.
  6. Final Evaluation and Maintenance: Once everything has been rinsed off and dried thoroughly, inspect areas where the jointing compound was used to verify no gaps have formed. Adequately fill these gaps and re-level as required.

Last Word

Maintaining a clean and inviting outdoor space can be a manageable task, and it requires expensive specialist paving products. By utilising everyday items such as washing powder and warm water and following the guidance, you can effectively clean your patio block paving and slabs and restore their former beauty.