How to Pressure Wash a Patio


Maintaining a clean and well-kept patio not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space but also extends the life of the materials used in its construction. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through pressure washing. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, from selecting the right pressure washer to post-cleaning care, ensuring your patio remains pristine and inviting.

Choosing the Right Pressure Washer

Selecting the appropriate pressure washer is crucial for efficient and safe cleaning. Pressure washers come in various types and power levels, each suited for different tasks and materials.

Types of Pressure Washers:

Electric Pressure Washers: Ideal for light to medium cleaning tasks, electric models are generally quieter, lighter, and easier to maintain. They are perfect for small to medium-sized patios made of delicate materials like wood or composite decking.

Gas Pressure Washers: These are more powerful and suitable for heavy-duty cleaning tasks. They are best for larger patios or those made of durable materials like concrete or stone. However, they are noisier and require more maintenance than electric models.

Pressure Levels:

Light Duty (1300-1900 PSI): Suitable for cleaning small patios and delicate surfaces.

Medium Duty (2000-2800 PSI): Good for medium-sized patios and versatile enough for various materials.

Heavy Duty (2900-3200 PSI and above): Best for large patios and tough stains on hard surfaces like concrete.

Nozzle Types:

0-Degree (Red): A pinpoint stream for tough stains and hard surfaces.

15-Degree (Yellow): A narrow fan for surface preparation.

25-Degree (Green): A wider fan for general cleaning.

40-Degree (White): A wide spray for delicate surfaces.

65-Degree (Black): A low-pressure nozzle for applying detergent.

Choose a pressure washer based on the size of your patio and the material it is made of to ensure effective and safe cleaning.

Preparing the Patio

Before you start pressure washing, proper preparation is essential to achieve the best results and avoid damage.

Clearing the Patio:

1. Remove all furniture, plants, and any other objects from the patio.

2. Sweep away loose debris such as leaves, dirt, and dust.

3. Inspect the patio for any loose stones, tiles, or bricks and repair them if necessary.

Treating the Surface:

1. Apply a suitable cleaning solution to the patio surface to break down dirt, grime, and stains.

2. Use a garden sprayer to evenly distribute the cleaner across the patio.

3. Let the cleaning solution sit for the recommended amount of time, typically 10-15 minutes, to ensure it penetrates and loosens the dirt.

Pressure Washing Technique

Using the pressure washer correctly is key to achieving a thoroughly clean patio without causing damage.

Initial Setup:

1. Connect the pressure washer to a water source and plug it in or start the engine for gas models.

2. Select the appropriate nozzle based on your patio material and cleaning needs.

3. Start with the lowest pressure setting to test the impact on the surface.

Washing Process:

1. Hold the spray wand at a 45-degree angle to the surface to prevent damage and ensure efficient cleaning.

2. Keep a consistent distance from the surface, usually about 18 inches, and adjust as necessary.

3. Use sweeping motions to clean the patio, overlapping each pass slightly to avoid streaks.

Technique Tips:

1. Always keep the spray wand moving to prevent concentrated pressure from damaging the surface.

2. Begin cleaning at the far end of the patio and work your way towards the exit to avoid stepping on the cleaned areas.

Addressing Stubborn Stains

Some stains might require extra attention and specialized techniques to remove.

Using Dedicated Cleaners:

1. For stubborn stains, apply a patio-specific cleaner and let it sit for the recommended time before pressure washing.

2. Use a brush to scrub the stained areas if necessary before rinsing.

Higher Pressure Setting:

1. If stains persist, you can increase the pressure setting slightly, but be cautious to avoid damaging the surface.

2. Use a narrower nozzle for concentrated cleaning power on tough spots, but test on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Hot Water Pressure Washers:

1. For extremely stubborn stains, consider using a hot water pressure washer, which combines heat and pressure for more effective cleaning.

Rinsing and Drying

Proper rinsing and drying are essential to remove all cleaning residues and prevent streaking.


1. After cleaning, switch to a 40-degree nozzle for a wide, gentle spray.

2. Rinse the patio thoroughly, ensuring all detergent and dirt are washed away.

3. Pay extra attention to corners and crevices where debris might accumulate.


1. Allow the patio to air dry completely before returning furniture and other items.

2. If possible, choose a sunny, breezy day to speed up the drying process.

3. Avoid using the patio until it is fully dry to prevent slipping and ensure the best results.

Post-Cleaning Care

Maintaining your patio after pressure washing can prolong its cleanliness and appearance.


1. Consider applying a sealant to protect porous surfaces like stone, brick, or concrete from stains and weather damage.

2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times.

Regular Maintenance:

1. Sweep the patio regularly to prevent dirt and debris buildup.

2. Clean spills immediately to avoid staining.

3. Trim nearby plants and trees to reduce leaf and debris accumulation.

Annual Cleaning:

1. Schedule annual pressure washing sessions to keep your patio looking its best.

2. Inspect the patio for any signs of damage and address them promptly.

Safety Tips

Pressure washing can be dangerous if not done correctly. Follow these safety precautions to protect yourself and your property.

Protective Gear:

1. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from debris and water spray.

2. Use gloves to protect your hands from the high-pressure water jet.

3. Wear non-slip shoes to prevent accidents on wet surfaces.

Mindful Operation:

1. Never point the pressure washer at people, pets, or fragile objects.

2. Be cautious of the powerful water jet, which can cause injury or damage surfaces.

3. Keep children and pets away from the area while pressure washing.

Equipment Safety:

1. Regularly inspect the pressure washer and hoses for any signs of wear or damage.

2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating and maintaining the equipment.

Environmental Considerations

Being environmentally conscious while pressure washing can minimize the impact on the environment.

Eco-Friendly Cleaners:

1. Use biodegradable and non-toxic cleaners to prevent harmful chemicals from entering the ecosystem.

2. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage plants and wildlife.

Water Usage:

1. Be mindful of water usage by using the lowest effective pressure setting.

2. Collect and properly dispose of wastewater to prevent contamination of storm drains and natural water sources.

Local Regulations:

1. Check local regulations regarding the use of pressure washers and disposal of wastewater.

2. Follow guidelines to ensure compliance with environmental standards.


By following these detailed steps and precautions, you can effectively and safely pressure wash your patio, ensuring it remains a beautiful and enjoyable outdoor space. Regular maintenance and mindful practices will help prolong the life and appearance of your patio, making it a welcoming area for relaxation and entertainment.

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