How to Clean your Patio WITHOUT a Pressure Washer

Last Updated on January 24, 2022

Yes, you read that right – without a pressure washer. While we’ve dedicated this website to all things pressure washers, let’s take an entirely different approach this time and imagine the following scenario.

It’s a nice and sunny Sunday afternoon and in a couple of hours, your friends and family will start flocking to your house’s concrete patio for a barbecue party.

You’ve been preparing for it since the early morning – did all necessary grocery shopping, prepped and marinated all meats, put together impressive appetizer platters, and picked just the right outfit for the occasion.

All that’s left to do is give your lovely concrete patio a quick cleanup – nobody would want to hang out in a grimy, dirty concrete patio, let alone eat your delicious, smoky ribs there! You bring out all of the necessary equipment, including your good old pressure washer. Right before you get to work, you want to give it a test run, just in case.

What you find out is that your pressure cleaning machine won’t even turn on. Has to be an engine issue, carburetor maybe? Well, there’s no time to repair it or get a new one – stores will soon be closed and nobody will attend to it on a Sunday.

No need to worry – you can still get that concrete patio slabs to shine without using pressurised water. Yes, you might need to use your muscles a little more, but with help of our guide, you’ll tackle the problem in the best way possible.

How to clean a patio without a pressure washer

You’ll be happy to hear that most of the steps you need to take are the same as when the process involves using a pressure washer, but with some simple tweaks to make up for not using it in the final cleaning stage.

Step 1: General Clean Up

This step you don’t ever want to overlook, but this time it’s crucial that you do it with utmost diligence. Take out your best sweeping brush with sturdy bristles and sweep away as much debris as you can.

Sweeping any loose dirt and dust will also be very advantageous here – when not using a pressure washer, you’ll want to minimize the amount of dirt that will go into the water at later stages.

Step 2: Detergent and Water

Apply water and your patio detergent to the entire cleaning area. Make sure not to miss any spot and have it well soaped up all around your patio. You might be tempted to use more of the detergent than when you use a pressure washer, but we advise against it. Go with the regular proportions suggested by a manufacturer as any experiments here may negatively impact your patio and leave undesired stains on tiles.

Step 3: Hard Scrubbing Time!

Here’s where most of your actual cleaning is done. Roll up your sleeves, grab your best deck scrub brush and get to scrubbing your patio like your life depends on it! Do it methodically, one small area after another, and remember – with no pressure washer you need to be exceptionally thorough at this stage.

Step 4: Rinse

Once every single tile of your patio has been well familiarized with all of your brush’s bristles, it’s time for you to have some joy washing all that dirty foam and grime down. Obviously, it’s best to use a hose for this task so that you can steer all of the filth down the drain where it belongs.

Adjust your hose’s nozzle to shoot the water out in the most pressurized and dense stream possible – while not as powerful as a pressure washer it will still make a difference as opposed to a regular water stream.

Step 5: Repeat

Now that all the hardest work is done, stand back and take a good look at your patio. Of course, it won’t look as glorious as it would with a little helping hand of a pressure washer but it surely looks much better than before.

If you’re satisfied with the results or can’t afford to spend more time on cleaning, then all that’s left to do is let it dry while taking your patio furniture out and firing up the grill.

However, if you’d like to take it to another level, go ahead and repeat steps 2 through 4, but this time you can be a little less meticulous with your scrubbing. Think of it as waxing your car – not essential after cleaning but if you want that extra shine, go ahead!

Alternative solutions for cleaning a patio without a pressure washer

Cleaning a patio without a pressure washer will very likely expose you to closer contact with the detergent you’re using – remember to always wear protective gloves and clothing to prevent skin contact and avoid inhaling any fumes.

If you want to be extra cautious, instead of a chemical detergent you may use either one of these natural solutions. Admittedly, they’re not as effective but still get the job done if you put that brush to work!

Baking soda

Prepare a concoction of baking soda and warm water in proportions of ¾ cup baking soda to every 5 litres of water. Distribute an even layer of this solution on your patio and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes to start breaking down the dirt.

Then, give it a good, solid scrub with additional splashes of warm water if necessary. Rinse thoroughly afterwards and admire the effect.


A solution of equal parts vinegar and water can be used universally on a large range of both inside and outside surfaces, with no exception to your patio’s tiles. Just like with the baking soda, let it sit for a while before scrubbing to work its magic. For especially hard stains, you can also splash it directly with undiluted vinegar – you’ll be surprised how effective that unassuming kitchen ingredient is!

Using a soft wash

A soft wash can be a great option to clean your patio without a pressure washer, you can do this yourself or pay a company that offers it as a service.

A product such an Algon Organic is a great option for a deep soft wash clean of a dirty patio. You simply apply the 3:1 cleaning solution using either as watering can or garden sprayer or spray bottle with a droplet function and leave it.

The cleaning solution will clean patio slabs or decking over 3-4 weeks and keep them clean for up to a year, weather dependant!

Summing up

It goes without saying that any patio cleaning is just so much better when using a pressure washer. It elevates this seemingly mundane task to a fun and satisfying experience that you’ll genuinely enjoy doing anytime you want to show off your patio to friends, family or neighbours.

The main goal of this article was to prove that you can achieve nearly the same results without blasting water with high PSI. Of course, it comes at a price of an extra effort, but if there’s a will there’s a way!

We hope that if you ever find yourself in a situation like the one described in the first paragraph, you’ll know exactly what to do. At the end of the day, your guests won’t believe it when you reveal that no pressure washer was used in the process of making your patio shine.

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