How to Clean Your Hardscape

How to Clean Your Hardscape

Mar 21, 2014

With spring upon us, green thumbs are preparing for the planting season. Before planting, though, it’s important to prepare your pavers and other hardscapes to show off the fruits of your labor. Oil, dirt, efflorescence, rust, mineral staining, as well as manmade stains may have your garden hardscapes looking sloppy. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do to clean your outdoor hardscapes.

Cleaning your hardscapes for beautiful outdoor spaces

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Before cleaning any of your brick or cement, it’s important to test an area with the product that you choose to use. Choose a test spot that is inconspicuous, in the event that the chemical you’re using stains your hardscape, before cleaning the entirety of your pavers, concrete, or retaining walls.

REMOVING PAINT OR MORTAR

Paint or mortar can inadvertently drip onto your hardscape, and dry without you knowing. In the event of fresh paint drip or spill, it’s best to blot the stain immediately with a rag, then soak the area with hot water. You can then scrub the area with a stiff brush. Always rinse completely and don’t forget the surrounding planting beds. The soil should be saturated to dilute any chemicals.

Paint that has dried should be scraped off, and then soaked with a paint remover. It’s important that you not rub any loosened paint into the surface of your pavers.

Mortar should be left to harden, then chipped carefully away with a putty knife or chisel.

DIRT, GRIME, AND MILDEW

Removing dirt, grime, and mildew from your pavers or retaining wall is a way to revitalize your garden. First, all loose debris should be removed using a broom, followed by a high-pressure hose. After debris has been cleared, you can choose a commercial cleaner from your hardware store. Tougher stains may require the use of a stiff brush for complete removal.

OIL

Removing oils from your hardscape can be extremely tough. Fresh stains can be soaked up using commercial oil absorbents, though cat litter and sawdust work just as well. After the loose oil has been absorbed, allow it to dry for a few days. Then treat with boiling water to lift the stain and blot with absorbent cloth.

MINERAL STAINING, RUST, AND EFFLORESCENCE

Mineral deposits, rust, and efflorescence (the whitening that occurs as water evaporates from brick and cement) will wear away over time, and ultimately cease after a few years of use. To remove hard water stains and other deposits quickly, there is a wide range of commercial cleaners available in your local hardware store. Again, remember to saturate the soil in any surrounding planting beds and rinse the chemicals completely.

With the summer closing in, you want your garden looking perfect… and that means more than just your flowers. It’s time to start cleaning your hardscape!