Outdoor natural stone paving is a popular addition to enhance and enjoy a garden or exterior space. Once a stone patio is laid and installed, knowing the best way to clean and maintain natural stone paving is important for your outdoor tiles to look their best for years to come. A stone paver such as limestone or sandstone is a natural material quarried from the earth - its characteristics are naturally dense and hardwearing, making it a durable outdoor tile. Part of the beauty of limestone paving is that it will season and weather with time, giving an authentic feel. Whilst many may ask if it is difficult to clean and look after natural stone paving, we have a few helpful tips to keep things simple and make certain your limestone patio is well-maintained and cared for.
Quorn Stone's Quick Quide
1. Use cleaners suitable for natural stone paving
2. Sweep or brush away leaves and debris only when dry
3. Wet clean with Lithofin Power Clean for regular maintenance
4. Dissolve algae build up with Lithofin Algex
5. Remove leaf and berry marks with Lithofin Outdoor Cleaner
1. Use Cleaners Suitable for Natural Stone Paving
Our first and foremost tip is to ensure you use a cleaner suitable for natural stone paving. Whether it be limestone or sandstone slabs, these natural materials should not be cleaned with any harsh or acidic cleaners such as bleach, which can etch the surface of the stone. We recommend finding a pH neutral cleaner, such as Lithofin Power Clean, diluted at a ratio of 1:10. This product is made for natural stone paving and will help clean, enhance, and maintain the natural surface of your pavers. Always ensure your cleaning product of choice is described as ‘suitable for natural stone’. When trying any new cleaner, we always suggest doing a patch test in an inconspicuous area of the patio to be safe.
2. Sweep or Brush Away Leaves & Debris Only When Dry
With gardens being natural, outdoor areas, your stone external patio tiles are likely to see leaf fall and general debris from plants and trees in the garden. Sweeping and brushing away any fallen leaves is a very normal part of maintaining your exterior space, however, it is best practice to wait until any debris is dry as much as possible. This will make sweeping much easier - you could even use a leaf blower. It will also help to avoid sweeping wet mud or dirt into your grout joints.
3. Wet Clean with Lithofin Power Clean for Regular Maintenance
Many customers ask if you can pressure wash outdoor natural stone paving – we recommend doing so with caution and spraying from at least half a metre away to clear light debris/stains. For the best regular maintenance we suggest wet cleaning with a hose pipe and stiff deck brush using Lithofin Power Clean. This product is great at removing stubborn and engrained dirt. As mentioned in our first tip, use this cleaner diluted at a ratio of 1:10. Allow the product to work for 10-20 minutes, brushing every 2-3 minutes and not allowing the product to dry. Rinse the surface using a hosepipe and assess the results. To achieve the best results, work in small, controlled sections. Read our regular cleaning guide for natural stone pavers for more information.
4. Dissolve Algae Build Up with Lithofin Algex
During wet and Winter months algae can build up on the surface of your natural stone pavers. For the build-up of algae, we recommend using the Lithofin Algex, designed to remove and protect against green, slippery deposits. Apply Lithofin Algex diluted with water approx. 1:10 and distribute on the surface using a watering-can or a pump sprayer. After application, the treated area should not be rained on for at least 4 hours. The surface should become bright, clean and free of deposits within five days. Read our cleaning guide for algae staining for more information.
5. Remove Leaf & Berry Marks with Lithofin Outdoor Cleaner
For natural stone patios that may have overhanging trees or near shrubs with berries, it is very normal for leaf fall and berries or debris to find its way onto the patio. This may cause staining if left on the surface for long periods of time. As mentioned, it is important to sweep and brush away debris only when dry, but some deposits may be left even after sweeping. If your natural stone pavers do have dirt or stains (such as leaf tannins, berries and spore algae), we recommend using the Lithofin Outdoor Cleaner, designed to remove stubborn darker deposits. Begin by testing the product on two affected tiles, using a garden sprayer to apply Lithofin Outdoor Cleaner generously in undiluted form. Allow the product to work for 2 to 10 hours depending on the stubbornness of the dirt deposits. Brush the surface with a stiff brush and rinse with clear water. Once happy with the results, repeat the same procedure across the paving tiles. Read our cleaning guide for leaf and berry staining for more information.
FAQs on Cleaning Outdoor Stone Tiles
Are natural stone patios hard to keep clean?
No! Following our few simple key steps noted above, natural stone pavers are very easy to look after and clean. Many of our customers are always amazed at how hardwearing and forgiving natural stone is with the correct care – part of the beauty of a natural stone patio is also that it will season and weather overtime.
Do I need to seal natural stone pavers?
External sealing for natural stone pavers is personal preference. We do recommend sealing natural stone pavers to keep them looking their best, however if you are happy for the pavers to weather in faster, it isn't mandatory to seal.
Can I use bleach to clean natural stone paving?
We strongly advise against using bleach or anything acidic to clean your stone paving. Instead, make sure you use a pH neutral cleaner or a stone-friendly cleaner (products recommended as in this article). Any acidic cleaners will etch the surface of the stone.
Can I jet wash or pressure wash natural stone pavers?
We recommend using a pressure washer with caution. Spray from at least half a metre away to clear light debris/stains. We find the most effective wet cleaning methods for stone paving is with a hosepipe and stiff brush. Learn more about cleaning natural stone paving on our FAQs page.
All advice within this article is given in good faith, always follow manufacturers guidelines. We recommend conducting a test in a discreet area prior to a full application of products. Wear appropriate clothing and protective wear, such as gloves and glasses. Keep pets and children away from any treated areas until any products used have been removed.