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How to clean my bluestone patio without killing plants?

Grosse Pointe Shores, MI(Zone 6a)

Hello all,

We bought our current home in 2009. It has a bluestone patio that is probably at least 20 years old and looks dirty. I sweep, I hose it off, but that just doesn't seem to work.

I want to avoid using a power washer, as the grouting is old, and sometimes comes up when I use the hose. And I don't want to kill any of the plants surrounding the patio.

Any suggestions?



Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

that's a tough one. If you can't tolerate stronger chemicals, then maybe some stronger abrasion would work. Some type of rotating or swirling bush device.

Grosse Pointe Shores, MI(Zone 6a)

Thanks for getting back to me.

Hmmm, interesting idea. Do you have any idea where such a brush could be procured (rent or buy)?

And just out of curiosity, what type of chemicals would you recommend if I hadn't said anything about my plants?

Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm thinking about some type of floor buffer or maybe a carpet shampooer of some type. Might be able to rent something....

A lot depends on the source of the grime/stains - you should test for the best approach.

TSP (trisodium phosphate) would be one chemical to try. In the past, it was often used to prep outside surfaces before painting. I'd recommend testing any soap/chemical in some small, inconspicuous area first - and never mix chemicals - particularly bleach with ammonia.

other chemicals to try;

A vinegar/salt paste may work. It's slightly abrasive and creates a weak Nitric Acid solution.

CLR (the rust and lime removal stuff)

Ammonia (though that works best to cut grease - often, oil or grease is a 'binder' of dirt)

Hydrogen Peroxide (similar to a bleach, works well on many organic stains)

Citric or phosphoric acid (similar to CLR above, works for mineral stains,

Gloves, protective eye-wear would be a good idea for most of the above work. Ventilation shouldn't be an issue outdoors.

Pressure washing, if it works ,might still be a good approach. If the grout is so deteriorated that much is blasted away - well, consider regrouting. The result might be a like new surface!

This message was edited Jun 18, 2012 6:53 AM

New York, NY

It is hard to clean

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