Rid yourself of the winter blues with an outdoor new season scrub-up. Here’s your rundown on how to clean your outdoor surfaces.
For any deep-cleaning project, you’ll need to first clear away leaves, dirt and other debris with a sturdy broom, brush, blower or rake. For particularly dirty work, remember to wear protective gear such as a mask and gloves.
A water blaster will help to get your outdoor spaces sparkling without wasting water, and you can spot clean any marks with a trigger nozzle. The blaster will tackle stains, mould and algae with ease, provided you use the right setting for the task. Jo Clark from Kärcher suggests starting with a soft setting, then working your way up.
"Use soft pressure for your timber surfaces such as decking and fences, medium pressure for vehicles, and high pressure settings for hard surfaces such as concrete and masonry areas,” she suggests. Switch out nozzles to vary the pressure and coverage for your different tasks.
If you have a composite timber deck, you probably won’t need to do much more than clear away any dirt and debris that’s accumulated between the boards and remove unwanted stains and oils by washing the whole thing down with warm soapy water and a soft-bristle broom. Then it’s just a matter of resolving to regularly clear leaves and dirt from the cracks – and doing it!
Sweep your paths to remove dirt and debris, then use a specialist cleaning product to get rid of mould and mildew, before hosing them off. If there are weeds growing in the cracks, remove them carefully so you don’t disturb sand or mortar. Keep them at bay by regular spraying with weed killer or pouring boiling water over them.
Take care if using a pressure cleaner so you don’t dislodge sand or mortar. Try scrubbing stains with soapy water first. If that doesn’t work, try a specialist cleaner such as Kärcher Stone Cleaner. To avoid future staining, consider using a good quality sealer, which can help keep your paving in top condition for several years. While you’re cleaning, check for crumbling mortar. It can be a hazard, so make sure you repair it if needed.
Algae, moss, mould and mildew can grow on pavers and driveways during the winter and other wet spells, making them slippery and dangerous. A good non-toxic, bleach-based outdoor cleaner will make quick work of eliminating all that unsightly muck.
Most outdoor tiles are sealed for protection from the elements, so it’s important not to damage or remove the coating when cleaning. Sweep away all debris with a soft broom, then wash with a soft mop and warm soapy water. For any stains or ingrained dirt, use an environmentally friendly cleaner.
Weather damage can make timber decks dangerous. Use a pry bar to lever up damaged boards, or a cordless drill if they’re screwed down. Cut new boards to fit the gaps and use a chisel to lever them into position. Secure with suitable fixings.
To wash your deck, Mark O’Connor from Monarch advises removing dirt, bird poop and general contaminants from decks by using a good quality cleaning product applied with a scrubbing brush. “Follow up by hosing with a pressure cleaner and allow the deck to thoroughly dry out before applying any new coatings,” he says. “If painting or re-staining, use a brush to apply your first coat to cover not only the top of each piece of decking, but also the sides of each plank. Then use a lambswool decking applicator for the second and third coats.”
Sweep your drive with a stiff outdoor broom or blower, then wash it down with soap to remove dirt and grime build-up. Next, apply a specialist concrete cleaner to tackle grease, rust and other stains without damaging the surface. Use a water blaster on stubborn spots. Top up the joint sand or repair mortar if necessary, and fill any cracks with an epoxy adhesive repair product. Finally, consider applying an acrylic sealer to concrete for longer lasting protection.
Check out our guide to sealing outdoor pavers.
Photo Credit: Cath Muscat, Getty Images, Cabot’s and Alamy Stock Photo