Learn how to clean a concrete patio without a pressure washer in no time!
We've pulled together the best alternative products, chemicals, and techniques available to give you a wide variety of options to tackle the job.
Let's get started!
If you’ve ever had something pressure washed, you probably realize how satisfying it is to see the process.
The unsatisfying part? Paying boatloads of money on a professional or for specialized equipment.
And if you hire someone who doesn't know what they are doing, they can cause irreparable damage to your house, concrete, or landscaping.
So are there any easy solutions to clean that dirty concrete patio without a pressure washer?
Fortunately, there are!
How Do Concrete Patios Get So Dirty?
Patios can amass a mess from a million different places. Water, dirt, rust, etc.
Nature is a messy place, and it’s hard to avoid that, especially with uncovered patios.
If you’re getting a lot of weeds and grass in the joints of your patio, consider using sand or a chemical solution along the joints to keep out greenery.
Another common place for stains is any metal surfaces that you might have on your patio.
That doesn’t mean you have to ditch your patio accessories – it just means that you have some routine cleaning you need to prepare for.
Low Pressure Concrete Patio Washers
There ARE a number of lower cost, low pressure electric washers available on the market that can get the job done quickly and easily, without subjecting your concrete to the stressors of a pressure washer.
Our personal favorite is the Sun Joe line of electric power washers that can deliver a "gentle" power wash that's more powerful than a garden hose attachment, yet delivers much less pressure than a pressure washer.
They are also great for cleaning siding, cars, boats, and trailers.
Rather WATCH than read? Check out our video on how we cleaned our concrete patio and pool deck with the Sun Joe!
The optional Sun Joe brush attachment works particularly well on concrete patios, pool decks, or driveways without you having to get on the ground and scrub.
Manual Concrete Patio Cleaning Brushes
If you really want avoid any power equipment though, there is nothing wrong with using good old fashioned elbow grease.
Almost all the patio cleaning chemicals outlined below still require you do a little scrubbing in order to clean the concrete.
But DO make your life easier with a good concrete cleaning brush with a pole attachment so you can do the job standing up.
10 Easy Ways to Clean a Concrete Patio Without a Pressure Washer
The following 10 ways are all cost-effective options to clean your concrete patio.
The best part?
None of these entail purchasing a pressure washer or hiring a pro!
For more stubborn stains and rust, you can use acid. You can find concrete etchers and cleaners that use acid to help you get rid of stains.
Most options use muriatic acid, so make sure you wear chemical resistant gloves.
The bottle should have more specific directions, but the process is straightforward:
Spray the acid on the stains and use a brush to coat the concrete. Wait until the acid goes to work and lifts the stains.
The solution is dissolvable in water so you can just run a hose over the area and you’re done.
#2: Lemon Juice
When you’re done making Lemon Drops, you can put that lemon juice to good use!
That’s right, lemon juice will also get rid of rust and stains on your concrete patio.
You can go old school and simply squeeze out a lemon, but its a little easier to just purchase bottled lemon juice. At any rate, you want to completely coat the stained area of your concrete.
The citric acid in the lemon will get to work in about 10 minutes.
After waiting, use a wire brush to scrub the stained areas. Give it a final rinse and your patio should look as good as new.
#3: White Vinegar
White vinegar always pops up on the best DIY stain remover lists, and this list is no exception.
White vinegar works better than lemon juice and it works the exact same way.
For this method, you should fill a spray bottle with equal parts of water and white vinegar. You can add a little bit of salt to help energize the vinegar.
Spray the stains on your patio, wait 10 minutes, then scrub the areas with a wire brush or firm-bristled brush.
When you’re done, run the hose on your patio to get rid of this mixture.
#4: Carbonated Drinks
Doctors say that soda isn’t good, but DIY patio cleaners disagree. You can use your favorite clear soda to clean your concrete patio thanks to the acidity of the drinks.
Preferably one that contains citric acid.
On top of that, the bubbles in the drink help to energize the cleaning process and lift stains. You can pour soda on your patio, wait half an hour, then scrub and wash the surface. T
he downside is that regular soda will make the surface sticky, so either use diet or make sure you do a good job of rinsing afterward.
#5: Hydrochloric Acid
Another acid that can help is hydrochloric acid.
This is another dangerous acid so make sure you have your gloves on for this operation.
Read the instructions carefully for how to properly dilute the acid first.
Pro Tip: For splashback safety, always add chemicals to a bucket of water, not the other way around.
Wait 10 minutes before scrubbing and hosing down the area. Make sure the kids aren’t around while you’re using this combination just to be safe.
#6: Bleach, Detergent, and Water
A combination of oxygen bleach (such as the Oxi-clean brand), dish detergent, and water should only be used in serious situations.
Yet again, keep your kids and pets away for this application.
Pro Tip: Always use oxygen bleach rather than chlorine bleach so that you don't harm any surrounding plant or wildlife with the runoff.
Mix together 5 parts of water, 1 part of bleach, and one part of dish detergent in a watering can or bucket. Pour the mixture onto your concrete patio and start brushing.
As you brush, you should notice that the mixture starts foaming.
You want the entire patio to foam up. Now, wait 15 minutes and let the bleach get to work. Afterward, rinse the patio well and you’re all done.
#7: Sweep Away Debris
In a lot of cases, a dirty concrete patio just has debris on the surface. This means that a broom and some elbow grease can be the only thing standing between you and a perfectly clean patio.
The luxury of sweeping a patio is that you don’t have to worry about using a dustpan.
Just sweep the dirt onto your lawn and let Mother Nature get rid of the mess for you.
If the debris is too stubborn, then you’ll have to resort to one of the other options on this list.
Many times a good high pressure hose attachment works well enough for basic surface dirt that has accumulated over the winter rather than needing to go rent or buy a fancy pressure washer
#8: Baking Soda
Baking soda is an environmentally-friendly option to clean your concrete patio – it’s also really affordable.
Mix half a cup of baking soda into a gallon of water.
Spray or run the mixture on your patio and wait 20 minutes. You’ll see the dirt start to break down during this process and be lifted out of the concrete.
Scrub the patio and rinse off the mixture.
#9: Soap and Water
You can make your own gentle concrete patio cleaner with some soap and water. Use warm water and enough soap, such as dish detergent, to create a sudsy bucket.
For the best results, avoid soaps that have marble or limestone.
Pour the mixture on your patio and use a wire brush to work in the solution. For larger patios, you might want to break up your patio into sections so you don’t get overwhelmed.
After you soaped up the area, use hose water to clean the surface.
Grab your brush again and work the stubborn stains. A final rinse with the hose will complete this.
#10: A Special Hose Attachment
If you want the luxuries of a pressure washer without paying a ton of money, you can use a jet attachment on your hose.
These will screw onto a standard garden hose and give you the ability to use a make-shift pressure washer.
No additional chemicals are needed, but you can pair this hose attachment with any of the other 9 options to get great results.
How to Prevent Future Stains
If you want to prevent future stains, you can seal your concrete after you clean it really good.
Sealing will keep your concrete safe from the elements in the future.
Make sure that you are using a penetrating sealer to prevent cracks and will keep your concrete from getting too slippery if it rains.
Behr also has a great sealer that’s safe for outdoor use and it looks really slick at the end.
Expect to reseal your concrete patio every three to five years for the best results.
More Inspirational Patio Ideas
Need some inspiration for that newly cleaned patio?
Check out a collection of our favorite lists and How-to's to make sure have the coolest patio (or deck) on the block!