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How to clean block paving with a pressure washer

A pressure washer is used to spray dirt from block paving

A comprehensive guide to making your block paving look as fresh as the day it was installed

Can you pressure wash block paving? Of course, you can. To help you, we’re covering everything you need to know to bring a lift to your block paths or patios.

You may already own one of the best pressure washers and have already mastered how to clean a patio with a pressure washer, in which case, you’re already in a good position to tackle block paving. Regardless of your experience, you’ll find useful guides and answers to common questions below, with some expert advice directly from Jamie Louram, head of car cleaning at Halfords, and Harry Turner, product manager for pressure washers at Kärcher.

Scroll on down, take notes and you’ll soon be the owner of the cleanest block paving on your street.

What is a pressure washer?

Feel free to skip this recap if you’re already in the know but, for those who need a quick definition, a pressure washer is a bit of kit that uses a high-pressure spray of water to remove dirt and muck from practically any surface, far more efficiently and effectively than cleaning by hand. Most pressure washers aimed at the consumer market are electric-powered; if you’re planning on cleaning away from a power source regularly, you can also get petrol-powered washers.

Pressure washers can generally be connected directly to an outdoor tap; however, you can also buy portable pressure washers with an additional tube to draw water from another vessel, such as a bucket.

You may also have heard of power washers, which are very similar to pressure washers, except that they heat the water. This can certainly help when dealing with mildew, mould and grime, though most domestic users should be fine with a standard pressure washer.

READ NEXT: Best Kärcher pressure washers

How to pressure-wash your block paving: a step-by-step guide

Before you start your war on dirt, here’s a quick checklist to make sure you’ve got everything you need:

  • Hose and adapters (optional)
  • Pressure washer
  • Garden broom
  • Safety goggles (for protection against flying debris)
  • Waterproof rubber-soled shoes
  • Cleaner or detergent
  • Sand (this may not be required but is nice to have, just in case)

Once you have everything ready to go, simply follow these steps:

1. Clear your block paving of all objects: Remove all plants, toys, furniture and anything else that happens to be in the way. You don’t want anything in the path of the spray, as things are likely to get covered in mud and dirt otherwise – not ideal.

2. Connect your pressure washer: Plug your pressure washer into a suitable socket outlet for power. You’ll also need to connect the hose to an outdoor tap, or a large bucket of water if your pressure washer supports mobile operation.

3. Mix your detergent: Use a suitable detergent for your block paving, diluting it if needed. It’s worth checking your pressure washer’s manual for the best way to use it. Some pressure washers have a dedicated port for the bottle or a small flexible tube which can be dipped into the bottle itself. You might also pour some detergent directly on the block paving and give it a scrub to help prepare it for cleaning.

4. Clean your block paving: According to our Halfords expert, Jamie Louram, you’ll want to “keep your pressure washer angled at 30-degrees and spray diagonally on a medium pressure”. This should help ensure enough power to remove dirt and muck, and you can opt for neat overlapping lines for efficiency.

5. Brush in sand if required: Louram suggests brushing sand back into joint gaps if needed, particularly if your block paving is quite old.

When is the best time to clean block paving with a pressure washer and how often?

“During spring or summer,” says Jamie Louram from Halfords. “Pressure wash block paving annually to avoid damage.”

A pressure washer is used to clean block paving

Tackling block paving in the spring and summer makes sense, as you’re likely to find longer periods of dry weather without any rain (as you know, there are never any guarantees when it comes to the weather).

Can pressure washing damage block paving? Will I need to re-sand the joints after cleaning?

The reason for the recommendation to pressure wash your block paving once a year is because the pressure washing process can be harsh, subjecting your block paving to more stress than normal.

“Some of the sand will be moved from the joints whilst pressure washing,” says our Halfords expert. “Just simply sweep it back into place or refill where needed.” As always, check with the manufacturer of your block paving for any special care instructions.

Should I use a patio cleaning attachment for block paving?

Patio cleaning attachments are optional heads that can attach to your pressure washer, letting you clean a larger surface area than the standard nozzles while reducing the amount of spray hitting the surrounding area. You can clean block paving without one, but if your budget and storage space allow it, it might be worth spending a little bit extra for a quicker job.

“Patio cleaner attachments are optional, but can be effective for large areas,” says Louram. Harry Turner, product manager for pressure washers at Kärcher, adds to this, saying: “Whether you’re cleaning cars, driveways or other hard surfaces, when pressure-washing, it’s essential to select the appropriate nozzle and pressure setting for the task at hand to ensure the surface is getting the maximum clean whilst also ensuring there’s no damage to the surface. Additionally, always maintain a safe distance from the surface being cleaned to prevent accidental damage.”

READ NEXT:  Best patio cleaners

What detergent should I use for cleaning block paving?

Again, if you can, it’s a good idea to check with your block paving manufacturer to see if they have any instructions for the best care, and they may even recommend a product themselves. If you’re using a new product, or if you’re unsure at all, it’s wise to use the detergent on a test patch first.

What else can you clean with a pressure washer?

“Pressure washers are a cleaning tool loved by many, yet the wide capabilities of the pressure washers can sometimes be missed,” says Harry Turner from Kärcher. Everything from cars and bikes to patio furniture can be given the pressure washing treatment.

A pressure washer is used to clean a bicycle

However, before you start jetting away at everything without a care, it’s a good idea to be sure you’ve selected a suitably hardy object. Some softer woods, such as beech, cedar and pine, aren’t recommended to be pressure washed as they’re more delicate and could be damaged by powerful jet streams.

Do you need to maintain a pressure washer?

Pressure washers don’t require much servicing, but there are some best practices to take into consideration. “Regular maintenance, such as cleaning filters, and correct storage, ensures optimal performance and longevity of your pressure washer,” Turner says. Ultimately, if you keep your pressure washer somewhere safe from the elements (like a decent shed), check that it’s not blocked with dirt or gunk before and after use, and generally keep it in good order, it shouldn’t let you down.

How can I clean my block paving without a pressure washer?

If you don’t have a pressure washer to hand, and can’t afford one, you can always opt for a bit of manual labour to get the job done. “Sweep, scrub with Kärcher Universal Cleaner, rinse well with water,” says Jamie Louram.

It will take longer, obviously, and the results might not be quite up there with a hard blast of water, but it will be better than nothing, especially if you’ve got guests coming around for a barbeque.

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