Patio brick is made from natural materials and is generally considered a low-maintenance product, but occasional cleaning may still be required, especially if the patio is under a deciduous tree or is in a cool, shady area. A buildup of leaves and organic debris can stain the brick or mortar if allowed to compost and should be removed as needed. Algae and moss may grow in the nooks of natural clay bricks if they do not receive adequate sunlight. Wet moss is slick and can be unsafe to walk on, so keep a spray bottle filled with a 10-percent solution of household bleach for killing moss and algae when it sprouts. Spray the moss/algae, scrub the area with a stiff brush and rinse with your garden hose. If possible, increase the amount of sunlight your patio receives by pruning back trees or shading shrubs.
If your brick patio has a buildup of efflorescence – the white deposit caused by mineral salts in the clay – it will usually be scrubbed away by the natural elements and does not require any immediate attention.
Brick has been used as a building material for more than 5,000 years, according to the Brick Industry Association. It is environmentally sustainable, durable, fire-resistant and becomes more beautiful with age. With a minimal amount of effort, you can keep your brick patio looking as clean as the day it was installed.
Remove all furniture, plants and accessories from your patio before cleaning. Leaves or other debris can get lodged behind these items and rot; leaving stains on the brick. Sweep or clean the patio with a leaf blower. Use a metal scraper to remove any clumps of mud or other caked-on messes and sweep or blow the patio again.
Choose a cool day or early morning to clean your brick patio. Plants near the patio may get wet or be exposed to cleaning solutions. Be sure to rinse off any plants that may have accidentally been splashed with cleanser.
Mix 2 cups of white vinegar in a 5-gallon bucket filled with warm water, or use a commercial brick cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Immerse a long-handled scrubber with stiff bristles into the solution and scrub the patio, working in small sections until the entire surface has been cleaned. Rinse with a garden hose.
For set-in stains, apply a splash of household hydrogen peroxide and scrub the area with a stiff brush. Rinse with a garden hose.
Occasionally, your brick patio may require the kind of deep cleaning that only pressure washing can provide. Though some sources suggest pressure washing should be left to the professionals, in an article published by This Old House, home repair expert Robert Cook advises that careful homeowners can pressure wash their home’s brick surfaces as long as they keep the pressure below 3000 psi. Using high pressure or nozzles that create an extremely focused spray can damage the surface of the brick.