Our Guide for Cleaning Concrete Pavers
Architectural-grade concrete pavers are an incredibly durable and resilient option for nearly any type of interior and exterior flooring — kitchens, bathrooms, courtyard patios, garden hardscaping, pool decks, driveways, you name it.
However, because concrete is a porous material, they still require sealing and routine cleaning to keep them looking and performing great for decades to come. In this article, we share what you need to know about sealing and cleaning architectural-grade concrete pavers.
Should I Seal Concrete Pavers?
Before we dig into best practices for how to clean concrete pavers, we must first talk about an important preventative maintenance measure — sealing.
A high-quality concrete paver sealant is the best way to protect your pavers from stains, discoloration, and grime caused by weather, spills, and general wear and tear. Sealant should be applied to concrete pavers immediately after installation, and you should plan to have your pavers resealed about every five years — sometimes sooner if they endure heavy foot traffic or intense weathering.
What Sealant Should I Use?
At Peacock Pavers, we recommend sealing our handcrafted concrete pavers with Enhance Architectural Products concrete sealer. Available in both regular and heavy-duty formulas, this sealer provides a clear, breathable, and penetrating layer of protection that will not affect the appearance of your pavers.
How to Clean Concrete Pavers
Once a concrete paver is sealed, DIY upkeep is pretty simple. Generally, interior pavers that have been grouted and sealed just need to be swept, mopped, and spot-cleaned as needed with a gentle, non-acidic multipurpose cleaning solution, such as Enviro Klean All Surface Cleaner or Light Duty Concrete Cleaner.
Exterior paver patio hardscaping is even more low-maintenance. All that is required is the occasional sweeping with a push broom to remove any fallen leaves or debris.
The great thing about concrete pavers is that they age and patina beautifully, whether they’re sealed or not. Of course, outdoor pavers are subject to greater weathering, so if you’re hoping to keep your concrete patio pavers in pristine “like new” condition for years to come, you may want to plan for a more thorough cleaning once or twice a year. Here is our recommended “deep” cleaning process for outdoor concrete pavers:
1. Clear the space.
Remove any furniture, potted plants, or other objects sitting on top of the pavers.
2. Tidy any vegetation.
Pull up any weeds from between the paver joints. Use a non-wire stiff-bristle brush to loosen any unwanted moss or lichen growing on the paver surface or between the joints.
3. Get the pavers wet.
Before applying any cleaning solution, grab a garden hose or a large bucket of water and saturate the pavers with water.
4. Prepare a mild, non-acidic cleaning solution.
For best results, we recommend using one of these great Prosoco products from EAP to clean your concrete pavers, but if you’re in a pinch, you can also DIY your own gentle, non-acidic concrete cleaning solution using a couple common household products.
If you’re going the DIY route, all you need to do is grab a large bucket and combine warm water with a mild degreasing dish detergent. Stir the solution well, then evenly distribute the solution over the pavers. Do not use acid-based cleaners as this can damage the seal.
5. Gently scrub the pavers.
Use a stiff-bristled scrub brush or push broom to gently clean the pavers. Do not use a wire bristle brush or scouring pad; these tools can scratch the pavers and damage any applied sealants.
6. Rinse the pavers.
Using a garden hose with a nozzle attachment, spray down the area to remove any grime that was lifted up by your scrub brush. Take care to avoid digging up joint sand when rinsing with the hose nozzle. Avoid using a pressure washer, as this can damage the paver’s seal.
Preventing and Removing Tough Stains
Even with routine patio paver maintenance, there may be times when a little extra elbow grease is required to spruce up your concrete pavers. Although the sealant acts as your concrete pavers’ first line of defense against spills and weathering, it is still possible for staining to occur.
Oil stains, rust stains, mildew stains, tannin stains (wet leaves, wine, coffee, etc), and efflorescence are all capable of eventually permeating the seal of your pavers with enough prolonged contact. That’s why it’s critical to wipe up any spills immediately. For outdoor living spaces, keep your patio paver surface swept clean of any leaves and other organic materials that can leave behind tannin stains. Improperly sealed wrought iron furniture can cause rust stains on paver patios, so if you have this type of outdoor furniture, be sure to periodically check that it remains properly sealed.
For stains that do end up sinking in and setting into a sealed paver, we recommend spot scrubbing using the same approach outlined earlier. If the dish detergent approach doesn’t seem to be working, you may need to purchase a dedicated, non-acidic concrete cleaning solution.
For Peacock Pavers, we recommend using Enhance Architectural Products’ line of specially formulated concrete cleaners, which can safely remove efflorescence, stains from oil and grease, and stains from organic debris like leaves, algae, mold, and mildew. All of Enhance Architectural Products’ concrete cleaners and stain removers are biodegradable, non-toxic, bleach-free, low-odor, and contain zero VOCs.
- Safe ‘n Easy® Masonry Rust Remover eliminates rust stains on both natural and manmade stone surfaces, including concrete pavers as well as brick, natural stone masonry, limestone, and most other stone-like surfaces. To use, simply brush or spray on the surface affected by rust, let sit for 5-15 minutes, agitate gently with a rag or non-wire scrub brush, and then rinse thoroughly. Although this solution is slightly acidic, it does not contain bleach, abrasives, caustics, muriatic acid or petroleum distillates — making it safe for use on Peacock Pavers (and friendly to the environment).
- Safe ‘n Easy® Efflorescence Remover dissolves even the most severe deposits of salt, calcium, and magnesium from your concrete pavers — without the conventional mineral and organic acids contained in other efflorescence remover products. To use, simply apply to patio pavers, let sit for 15-20 minutes, and rinse.
- Safe ‘n Easy® Oil and Grease Remover eliminates organic oil and grease stains that have become deeply embedded into your concrete pavers. Ideal for a range of surface types and applications, including garage floors, driveways, outdoor kitchens, paver walkways, lawn and playground equipment. Best of all, no scrubbing is required — simply let sit and rinse off.
- 30 Seconds® Outdoor Cleaner® removes algae, mold, and mildew stains without scrubbing, pressure washing, or caustic substances. In addition to concrete pavers, you can also use this all-purpose outdoor cleaner on brick, stucco, asphalt, canvas awnings, wood decks, metal, painted surfaces, fiberglass, cloth, fences, gutters, siding, plastic outdoor furniture, and more.
How NOT to Clean Architectural Concrete Pavers
While it may feel tempting to bring out more intense cleaning methods, you should generally avoid using the following materials to clean your Peacock Pavers:
- Wire bristle scrubbing brushes: The abrasive wire bristles can easily scratch the surface of the paver and compromises the protective seal.
- Pressure washers: Power washer machines can eliminate stains quickly, but pressure washing can also annihilate the seal and finish of your concrete pavers if you’re not careful.
- Acidic cleaners: Harsh, acid-based cleaning products and stain removers can damage the seal and finish of your concrete pavers.
- Bleach: This alkaline solution may be effective for other household uses, but it can discolor concrete pavers that have been colored or stained.
Stain-Resistant Concrete Pavers by Peacock Pavers
Love the look of natural paving stones but want a more affordable option that is just as easy to clean and maintain? Peacock Pavers’ handcrafted concrete pavers look just like natural stone and come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to suit your needs.
For additional paver maintenance and paver cleaning tips, please give the Peacock Pavers team a call at 800.264.2072.