How to clean decking and paving stones – 4 ways using baking soda and white vinegar

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As summer arrives, many of us spend more time in the garden whether with friends, hosting a barbecue or just to relax. However, a dampener on any relaxation can be a dirty outdoor space, with dirt, mildew and even mould building up over the winter months.

While one key method is to use a pressure washer to shift the grime, however not everyone has access to a pressure washer.

You can also buy chemical-based cleaners from most DIY stores, but these can be costly.

So if you want a more natural – but still effective – way to shift dirt from your decking and paving stones, you can use baking soda, white vinegar and even dish soap.

Read on for four ways to clean your outdoor space, two for your decking and two for paving slabs.

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How to clean decking & paving stones


1. Dish soap and bleach for decking

You will need

  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Bleach
  • Bristle brush
  • Bucket

If your decking has mould or mildew stains you should use a solution of washing detergent and bleach.

Mix bleach and dish soap in a bucket of warm water, and then saturate the stained area of your deck.

Allow the mixture to sit for a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes – this is important as leaving for too long can cause your decking to discolour.

Next using a stiff bristle brush or broom, scrub the stains. You should find they lift with ease.

Finally, with a hose or bucket, flush clean water over your decking to rinse it.

Again, make sure it is fully rinsed or else the bleach can discolour and damage the wood.

2. White vinegar for decking

You will need

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Bristle brush
  • Bucket

White vinegar is often used to shift stains indoors, and can easily be used to clean dirty or mildew covered decking.

You need to mix one cup of vinegar with one gallon of water and pour the solution into a bucket with a wide top.

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Next, dip your broom or brush in the bucket, making sure to get the bristles of the broom or brush into the mixture.

Then scrub your decking in the direction of the wood grain, making sure you scrub with the grain, not against it.

You can concentrate your efforts on any ares of thick dirt or debris on the deck.

For any hard to reach corners you can opt for a sponge, smaller brush or even a toothbrush.

Finally, rinse with clean water in either a bucket or hose to get rid of any suds and residual dirt.

Paving Stones

3. Baking soda and dish soap for paving stones

You will need

  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

Baking soda is an effective cleaner, and can help remove dirt and staining from your paving slabs.

First, put half a cup of baking soda in one gallon of water, then add in an eighth of a cup of dish soap.

Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and spritz it across your decking.

Leave to sit for half an hour, then with a hard bristle brush scrub thoroughly and rinse with a hose.

You can also apply a coat of concrete sealer to protect your paving stones from future stains.

4. White vinegar and warm water for paving stones

You will need

  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • Hard-bristled brush

As with decking, white vinegar can be an effective cleaner for your patio slabs.

First, mix white vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio in the bucket.

If you’ve left your patio all winter and need an extra helping hand you can add a tad more vinegar.

Then pour the mixture over your paving slabs and leave to soda for 30 minutes to an hour.

Follow this up with a bucket of clean water rinse away any dirt and residual vinegar.

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