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outdoor setting with furniture and bbq
There’s probably a winter’s worth of neglect coating your deck, patio, paths and driveway. It’s time to break out the tools for a serious clean-up outdoors.

Springtime sparkle

Rid yourself of the winter blues with an outdoor new season scrub-up. Here’s your rundown on how to clean your outdoor surfaces.

1. Brush up

For any deep-clean project, you need to first clear away leaves, dirt and other debris with a sturdy broom, brush, blower or rake. For any particularly dirty work, remember to wear protective gear, such as masks and gloves. 

2. Under pressure

A high-pressure cleaner will help to get things sparkling without wasting water, and you can spot clean any marks with a trigger nozzle. It will tackle stains, mould and algae with ease, but make sure you use the right setting for the task. Jo Clark from Kärcher recommends starting with a soft setting and working up. “Use soft pressure settings for timber surfaces such as decking and fences, medium pressure settings for vehicles, and high pressure settings for hard surfaces such as concrete and masonry areas,” she says. Switch out nozzles to vary pressure and coverage for different tasks.

Man washing his concrete floor using a high pressure water cleaner

3. Slip hazards

Algae, moss, mould and mildew can grow on pavers and driveways during the winter or wet seasons, making them slippery and dangerous. A good non-toxic, bleach-based outdoor cleaner will make quick work of eliminating all that unsightly muck.

4. Composite deck care

If you have a composite timber deck, you probably won’t need to do much more than clear away any leaves or dirt that have accumulated on the deck or in the gaps between the boards, and wash with a soft-bristle broom and warm soapy water to remove unwanted stains and oils. Leaves and debris should be removed regularly.

5. Timber tasks

Moisture and extreme temperatures can harm your timber deck, so scan for damage. “Check for any splits, cracks or unpainted areas and replace or fix any loose or damaged boards, hammer loose nails back in and tighten screws,” says Leon Travis from Boral Timber.

6. Deck detailing

To wash your deck, Mark O’Connor from Monarch advises using a good quality cleaning product, applied with a scrubbing brush, to remove dirt, bird poo and general contaminants. “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.”

Deck with timber outdoor furniture and potted plants

7. Perfect your path

After a sweep to remove dirt and debris, use a specialist cleaning product to remove mould and mildew, and hose off. If there are weeds growing in the paving, remove these carefully so you don’t disturb gap sand or mortar, and keep them at bay with regular spraying or by pouring boiling water over them. Take care if using a pressure cleaner to avoid dislodging sand or mortar. Tackle stains by scrubbing or washing with clean soapy water, or for more stubborn marks, try a specialist product like Kärcher stone cleaner. To avoid future staining, consider using a good sealer, which can help keep your paving in top condition for several years. While you’re cleaning, check for crumbling mortar and effect repairs if needed.

Tip: A polymeric paving sand like Dingo ‘Powerloc’ can help with repairing and replacing joints between pavers.

A paved walkway to a home

8. Posh up your patio

Most outdoor tiles are sealed for protection from the elements, so it’s important when cleaning not to damage or remove the coating. 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.

Elegant decorated balcony with wicker furniture, white pillows and decorative plant

9. Tackle the drive

After sweeping with a stiff outdoor broom or blower, wash the driveway with soap to remove dirt build-up, and use a specialist concrete cleaner like 30 Seconds Outdoor to tackle grease, rust or other stains without damaging the surface. Use a pressure cleaner on stubborn dirt. Top up joint sand or repair mortar if necessary, and cover cracks with an epoxy repair adhesive product like Sika’s Concrete Fix Kit. Consider applying an acrylic sealer to concrete for longer lasting protection. Then put your feet up, and enjoy your efforts!

Keep in mind...

  • Follow product packaging for accurate dilution of strong cleaning solutions.
  • Wear a mask and gloves for serious cleaning tasks.

Protect your pavers

Check out our guide to sealing outdoor pavers.

Photo Credit: Cath Muscat, Getty Images, Cabot’s and Alamy Stock Photo

 

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.