How To Clean Block Paving

Use our step-by-step guide to learn how to clean your block paving to "like-new" condition.
Written By: Richard Morgan | Updated:
How To Clean Block Paving
Richard Morgan/DIY Works

Installing block paving is a popular option for most homeowners due to its attractive and long-term finish that requires minimal maintenance.

However, over time, it will need to be cleaned to remain in good condition, and this can be achieved using a number of methods. The use of a pressure washer is the most popular method, but there are plenty of dedicated cleaning products that you can use, as well as household products such as bleach or washing-up liquid.

Below are the steps you can take to clean your block paving with or without a pressure washer.

Preparation Before Cleaning

Before you go ahead and clean your block paving, it’s advised to prepare the area beforehand. Firstly, you’ll want to move any cars and objects that may get in the way of your cleaning off the driveway.

The next step would be to give the block paving a good sweep with a stiff broom because this will remove any loose debris. Failing to remove any of this debris, such as stones, can cause it to fly when the water from the pressure washer comes near it. Therefore, giving the block paving a good sweep before cleaning it is worth your time.

Weeds and moss are often the worst offenders for ruining the appearance of your block paving, and they need to be dealt with before cleaning. Ideally, you want to remove any big weeds by hand and then use a suitable weed killer a few days before you clean the block paving. This gives the solution time to get to work and remove the weeds and moss.

How To Clean Block Paving With A Pressure Washer


1. Setup The Pressure Washer

To begin cleaning your block paving, you will want to set up the pressure washer so that it can reach all around the driveway, and this may involve using an extension lead for those with large driveways. As well as requiring power to the pressure washer, you also want to ensure that your garden hose has enough length too.

Once the pressure washer is set up, you’ll want to adjust the power to use a medium setting. Ideally, the pressure shouldn’t be too low that it won’t be able to clean as effectively and not too high that it can cause damage. You may also wish to use a dedicated patio cleaning attachment, and if so, the Karcher T-350 is a great option.

2. Blast Away Loose Debris

Although you may have brushed away the majority of debris beforehand, it’s always good practice to blast away any debris quickly with a pressure washer.

Depending on how dirty the block paving actually is, you may also want to use a cleaning solution at this stage. Whilst cleaning our block paving driveway, we used the Karcher cleaning solution, as shown in the picture. To use the solution, spray it onto the block paving using the pressure washer, allow it to get to work and then rinse it clear ready for the next stage.

how to clean block paving driveway

Richard Morgan/DIY Works

3. Use A Sweeping Motion To Clean The Block Paving

Now that you are all set up and loose debris has been cleared, you can proceed to clean. The best method to use a pressure washer to clean block paving is to use a sweeping motion and avoid staying too long upon individual blocks. While sweeping across, try to clean the block paving evenly because if you don’t consistently sweep across each block and keep the same pressure, you may be left with “tiger stripes” once the block paving has dried.

4. Blast Away The Dirty Water

Depending upon how dirty the block paving was, it will determine how much dirty water is left behind. Ideally, you will want to direct the dirty water towards a drain or your lawn because you don’t want it to dry on the block paving.

5. Allow To Dry

After all the cleaning is complete, you may want to grab yourself a drink and relax whilst the block paving dries. You want to ensure that it has fully dried up before moving to the next stage.

6. Brush Sand Between The Block Paving

Once the block paving has had time to dry, you will want to re-sand areas that may have lost sand whilst cleaning. This is a crucial stage of cleaning your block paving with a pressure washer and is often forgotten about. The re-sanding restores the structural strength of the block paving and stops it from moving due to sand that may have been washed away.

Regarding the type of sand to use, we recommend using kiln-dried sand for block paving joints. To maximize efficiency, we pour the sand into a wheelbarrow and use a spade to spread a large portion of the sand across the block paving. We then proceed to brush the sand into the joints, as shown in the photo below.

how to clean block paving with pressure washer

Richard Morgan/DIY Works

Cleaning Without A Pressure Washer

Not everyone owns a pressure washer, and even if you do, you may not want to use it due to the risk of the sand being removed from the joints. Therefore, you can clean block paving without a pressure washer using a dedicated cleaner, bleach or even washing up liquid.

Using the solution of your choice, simply spread it over the block paving and allow it to get work. Once it’s had time to soak into the block paving (around 15 minutes), use a stiff brush to work the solution in for a more effective clean. After you have successfully scrubbed the solution, rinse the block paving clear using clean water.

How To Remove Oil From Block Paving

Removing oil from block paving can be a difficult task, even when using a pressure washer. The reason for the oil’s difficulty in removal is that it penetrates the block paving. However, to remove oil from block paving, you can use several methods.

The most popular method is to scrub a degreaser into the block paving. Alternatively, other methods include using neat washing-up liquid, baking soda, Coca-Cola and even cat litter. However, we would recommend using a degreaser as it will be the most effective solution for removing oil stains.

How To Keep Block Paving Cleaner For Longer

If you want to keep your block paving cleaner for longer, you will need to apply a sealant. They are relatively easy to apply and help to keep your block paving driveway in top condition for much longer. However, before sealing, you will need to give your block paving a deep clean beforehand for the best results.

Conclusion

As shown in this article, cleaning your block paving driveway can be achieved using a number of methods. Cleaning it with a pressure washer is our preferred option and if done correctly, it’s the most effective method. The issues of cleaning your block paving with a pressure washer comes with incorrect use. For example, aiming the jet directly at the jointing sand or having it set at high pressure can cause problems. If you don’t want to worry about the movement of block paving, the alternative methods without a pressure washer can be just as effective.

If you need any advice regarding block paving cleaning, feel free to get in touch with our team.

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