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Best patio cleaner 2024: Our tested recommendations for a thorough clean

A selection of patio cleaner products on a blue background

We’ve tested the best patio cleans to help keep your patio free of algae, weeds and grime

For many of us, patios and decking are a useful extension of our home living spaces, particularly during the summer months. The best patio cleaners will help keep these spaces looking pristine throughout the year. When the sun sets and the weather gets cold and damp, patios can quickly get covered in a film of green and grey grime. This looks unpleasant and can get very slippery too. That’s because that slimy green layer is algae and when accompanied by black spots, mildew, birdlime and plant debris, your previously pristine patio can look past its prime.

There are a wide range of patio cleaners out there, but which ones will make the job easier? Modern cleaners are designed to work without hours spent scrubbing on your hands and knees, although some will require the use of a pressure washer to hurry things along. To save you the trouble of finding the best options, I’ve tested a range of products to find the ultimate patio cleaners to deal with a range of issues. You’ll find my recommendations below and if you’ve got any questions afterwards, I’ve added a buying guide to explain everything you might need to know.

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Best patio cleaner: At a glance

Best for tackling green mould and algae:Patio Magic Concentrate (~£20)Check price at B&Q
Best for black spots:Smartseal Patio Clean Xtreme (~£37)Check price at Amazon
Best preventative option:No Nonsense Path Patio And Driveway Sealer (~£18)Check price at Screwfix

How we test patio cleaners

I tested patio cleaners on a variety of surfaces that were safe for that particular product. These included patios, decking, driveways, garden furniture and masonry. I looked at how well each cleaner worked on common problems such as algae and mould, as well as how much effort it took to get the cleaner to activate. I paid particular attention to whether the cleaners did need a little extra help from a scrubbing brush or a pressure washer, or whether they worked seamlessly without a lot of human intervention.

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The best patio cleaners you can buy in 2024

1. Patio Magic Green Mould & Algae: Best patio cleaner for tackling green mould and algae

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at B&Q

  • Great for removing slimy algae and easy application
  • Not so great for those looking for a high concentration product, can take a few days to see results.

If you’ve forgotten what your patio used to look like because a slimy green mess has taken over, then you need to get your hands on a bottle of this stuff. I found it incredibly easy to use and apply, and the results were impressive.

I really liked the fact that you can use it on all outdoor hard surfaces, from decking to driveways to patios, with no need for a pressure washer or scrubbing. And, once it’s dried, it is broken down naturally in the soil, so it doesn’t harm the environment. With so many toxic products on the market, this was a real plus point for me.

It’s not as concentrated as some, so five litres might not go as far as you think, but it gets rid of one of the main culprits of dirty patios exceptionally well. You will need to be patient, though – it can take up to four days to show the results, although I did see results far more quickly on some parts of the patio.

Key specs – Quantity: 5l; Can you use it without a pressure washer: Yes

Check price at B&Q

2. Kärcher 3-in-1 Stone & Facade Cleaner: Best patio cleaner for Kärcher pressure washers

Price when reviewed: £7.29 | Check price at Halfords

  • Great for quick cleaning, lots of foam, protection against weather.
  • Not so great for can only be used with Karcher pressure washers.

Kärcher makes some of the best pressure washers around, so it should come as no surprise that its patio detergents are top quality too. I tried it with the Kärcher K5 Premium Control (a hard-to-fault top-end pressure washer) and Kärcher K2 Compact (cheaper but still brilliant for everyday jobs) and although it guzzled up the litre of liquid very quickly, the speed and efficiency with which it cleaned is astonishing. Plus, you get lots of foam – very reassuring. The main downside is that it’s expensive and you’re only supposed to use it with Karcher machines.

The cleaner claims to have an active dirt remover; protection against wind and weather; and general protection to keep your patio looking good for longer. I also really liked the fact that you can use it on all stonework, which includes walls as well as patios, as well as aluminium, which means you can give the car a quick clean at the same time.

Key specs: Quantity: 1l; Can you use it without a pressure washer: No

Read our full list of best Kärcher pressure washers

Check price at Halfords

3. Smartseal Patio Clean Xtreme: Best patio cleaner for black spots

Price when reviewed: £37 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for removing black spots, safe for natural stone, easy to use.
  • Not so great for pricier than some rivals, might need a little scrubbing in stubborn areas.

Black spots are those nasty black marks that can colonise stonework after a couple of years. It’s black lichen and they start off as tiny, dust-like spores, but they grow, feeding off the minerals in your stonework. They’re a nightmare to clean, but I found that the Smartseal cleaner made it remarkably easy to deal with the spots.

I applied it neat to treat black spots, but also used it diluted with equal parts water as a simple cleaning solution for the rest of the decking. It’s not the quickest to apply, as you have to wet the surface first and then apply the product, and you can’t allow it to dry out either. Use it on an overcast day, before simply washing away with a pressure washer.

I did find that it needed a little scrubbing in really stubborn areas just to get rid of all the grub, but it did an excellent job of slowing down black spot regrowth and it won’t harm natural stone either. It’s not the cheapest product on the market, but I would argue its the most effective if you have a black spot problem.

Key specs – Quantity: 5l (25l also available for £110); Can you use it without a pressure washer: Yes

4. Jeyes Fluid Outdoor Cleaner: The most versatile patio cleaner

Price when reviewed: £16 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… disinfecting, safe for a wide range of surfaces.
  • Not so great for… can be harmful to aquatic life.

Jeyes Fluid is probably the best known of all cleaners and this ultra-concentrated detergent is great for all kinds of jobs, cleaning not only patios and driveways but outdoor drains, greenhouses, plant pots and tools. A great all-rounder, it also disinfects and stops the patio surface being slippery. I found it worked quickly on moss and mould and left everything looking really clean. I was also pleasantly surprised by what a nice smell it left behind.

I tried it in the bins and on a conservatory too and again: great results. It works well when applied by hand, but it’s also very effective when used with a pressure washer – often more so than the manufacturer’s detergent.

Key specs – Quantity: 4 l; Can you use it without a pressure washer: Yes

5. Jeyes 4-in-1 Patio and Decking Power: Best patio cleaner for algae

Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… a preventative formula, particularly good for slimy algae.
  • Not so great for… not as powerful as some cleaners.

I was really impressed by how well the Jeyes cleaned our patio testing area, with even the slimiest of algae coming off easily. I also liked the fact that you can use it on decking, fencing, paths, patios, and driveways, making it a great all-rounder. It’s a preventative formula, so it should slow down regrowth in the future and it’s easy to use as you simply mix it with water, pour it on, and leave it to do its work.

You can then wash it off with a hose or jet wash – I found that the latter gave me better results. It does have its limits though, as exceptionally dirty patios will probably need something more powerful, or at the very least a jet wash both before and after use.

Key specs – Quantity: 4l; Can you use it without a pressure washer: Yes (up to a point)

6. Wet & Forget – Moss Mould Lichen & Algae Remover: Best all-rounder

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… ease of use, no bleach or acid ingredients.
  • Not so great for… takes time to work, toxic to aquatic life.

For instructions, the clue is in the name. You just mix one part concentrate to five parts water in a garden sprayer and then give your decking or patio a good soak. It’s then a case of leaving the product for a few days to start working. I found this cleaner incredibly easy to use, with no effort involved as you don’t need to use a pressure washer or scrub areas with a brush.

You do need a little patience with this one. While the effect varies, I did find that for the first day or two nothing much seemed to have changed. However, as time went on, all the slippery algae and stubborn mould disappeared and the longer I left it, the better the results got. While it seems expensive for what it is, this one bottle of concentrate makes 30l of spray, so you won’t need any more for a while unless you’ve got vast, palatial gardens.

There’s no bleach or acid involved in the cleaner and, in fact, the formula has a pH value that’s just above water. Once applied, it will clean and protect your wood or stonework for a year or more. I found this the most effective of the spray-and-go cleaners.

Key specs – Quantity: 5l; Can you use it without a pressure washer: Yes

7. Algon Organic Path & Patio Cleaner: Best cleaner for pets and wildlife

Price when reviewed: £8.95 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… safe for pets and wildlife, easy to use.
  • Not so great for… unpleasant smell for a day or two.

If you’re worried about pets, nearby plants, or roaming wildlife, you might be understandably reluctant to spray your patio or decking with a bunch of unknown chemicals or some bleach-heavy fluid. So, as an animal lover, I was really impressed by the Algon Organic cleaner.  It’s based on a non-toxic, pet-safe acetic acid that shouldn’t do any serious harm to anything – although it will scorch the leaves of plants on contact. You can even use it around your pond, although it’s advisable to try and avoid causing any runoff.

I found it extremely easy to use; just clear your patio or decking of any surface dirt, then spray it on with a garden sprayer. After that you can just leave it for a few days while it attacks your mould and algae, and it will then keep the surface clean for another year. While it’s not as effective as the heavy-duty cleaners when it comes to tackling long-term staining, I still had great results on paving, decking and garden furniture, bringing green-grey areas back to their original stone or wood. If you can forgive the slightly unpleasant vinegar smell that hangs around for a day or so after drying, this one’s a rock-solid cleaner that won’t upset the local critters.

Key specs – Quantity: 2.5l; Can you use it without a pressure washer: Yes

8. No Nonsense Path Patio And Driveway Sealer: Best preventative patio cleaner

Price when reviewed: £18 | Check price at Screwfix

  • Great for… future proofing, ease of application.
  • Not so great for… a one-hit fix

As the name suggests, this is a patio cleaner that is all about planning for the future. The idea is that any future spillages (such as oil, dirt or moss) should be easier to clean the next time around. As someone who’s always happy to use products that save time in the future, the No Nonsense sealer gets my vote for doing a great job of protecting surfaces.

It’s simple to apply – you just spray it onto the stone paving (a garden pump sprayer is fine) but don’t let it pool in the contours as it can stain. I had a garden brush handy to spread any excess. It doesn’t give a glossy look, like some sealers, so only use it if you prefer the more natural look. And be warned you might need a couple of coats – I certainly did. Even so, it offers great value for good protection.

Key specs – Quantity: 5l; Can you use it without a pressure washer: Yes

Check price at Screwfix

9.  KilrockPRO Patio, Driveway & Masonry Cleaner: Best driveway cleaner

Price when reviewed: £14 | Check price at Wickes

  • Great for… stubborn stains, oil and grease.
  • Not so great for… needs to be left down for a little while to work effectively.

Anyone who’s had an oil leak on their driveway will know that the resulting stains can be tough to shift, because it’s often ingrained with engine deposits plus, of course, oil resists water very well. KilrockPRO Patio, Driveway & Masonry Cleaner is formulated to remove oil and grease, yet I found it was equally powerful on algae, lichen, and even stains from rusting garden furniture.

It can be applied using a brush or a pressure washer and, depending on the stains and the surface you’re cleaning, can be diluted or used neat – 250ml added to 5l of water is enough to deal with light staining, use 500ml for heavy staining or to shift oil, use it undiluted. Using a pressure washer is more efficient, at just 30ml per litre, making the competitive purchase cost go further.

It doesn’t smell and, as long as nearby shrubs and plants are saturated before and after application, it shouldn’t be harmful. Kilrock recommends using it in conjunction with its Patio, Driveway & Masonry Sealer for additional protection, and to make subsequent cleaning easier.

Key specs – Quantity: 5l; Can you use it without a pressure washer: Yes

Check price at Wickes

How to choose the best patio cleaner for you

What types of patio cleaner are there?

As with many other types of cleaning detergents, there are a range of patio cleaners with each suited for slightly different jobs. Some you can use with a pressure washer, and these usually represent the quickest way to clean. Others are concentrated fungicides, surface cleaners, or antibacterial disinfectants you need to apply by hand.
Whichever you choose, it’s important to follow the instructions and use appropriate protective clothing. And, depending on the solution, you might have to keep pets indoors for a period of time.

If you’re using a pressure washer, you will need to add the patio cleaner through the spray lance or a feed on the washer itself. Your pressure washer manufacturer may recommend specific brands or types of detergents – most usually their own – and the manual may have advice on what to use and how to add it. Remember that using detergents other than those recommended could invalidate your pressure washer’s warranty, so check the fine print first.

The majority of patio cleaners that you apply by hand need to be diluted first, then the mix is either applied from a bucket or with a watering can and then brushed over the surface, or sprayed on using a garden sprayer. This normally means one that works under pressure using a simple pump, preferably with a high-capacity tank and a separate spray wand. One of these will set you back £10 to £30.

The key thing is to follow the instructions, as different cleaners will work in different ways. Some work better if applied to a wet or dry surface, and may need rinsing off a few hours after application. Others use a ‘wet and forget’ approach, where you just apply the cleaner then leave it on to do its work.

Are there different types of patio cleaner for different problems?

Yes. For example, if you have natural stone patios with Indian sandstone or limestone paving, they will be vulnerable to the spread of black spot – a particular type of lichen that can be tricky to remove – and there are special detergents aimed at tackling this. Other detergents might be designed to remove moss or algae. If you’ve got a particular problem with one or the other, it makes sense to use a cleaner that’s been designed to tackle it.

Are the results instant?

Not usually. You will often have to wait a few hours before seeing any difference, and in many cases the effects will seem small at first, but the area will look much cleaner after a few days. Patience is key.

Is there a way to clean my patio without buying patio cleaning substances?

Yes, but they will require a decent application of elbow grease. You can spray the entire surface with water using a garden hose, then dissolve 75ml of washing soda in a gallon of hot water and scrub with a brush soaked in the solution, re-dipping as required. Alternatively, you can sprinkle powdered dishwashing detergent over the entire surface and scrub.

However, not all patio cleaners come packed with harmful chemicals. Some use organic compounds and are biodegradable, so they’ll do no long-term harm to your garden or the environment.

If you’ve already got a pressure washer, it might do the job without any detergent. All the same, a patio cleaning fluid may do more to get rid of stubborn mould or algae, and will also leave a preventative layer to slow future growth.

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