How to Clean Clay Paving
Clay paving is a great way to neaten up pathways and areas of high foot traffic in the home or garden. It provides a durable, low maintenance material but like any surface, is prone to stains over time. Natural weathering usually helps keep outdoor paving clean, but occasionally you might want to give your paving a thorough scrub which will not only prolong its lifespan but help restore it to that beautiful “freshly paved” look too.
For more information on clay paving and why it is such an excellent material for outdoor use, check out Corobrik’s online brochure on “Clay Benefits,” and if you’re considering paving a pathway or a section of your garden to neaten it up, Corobrik has a great DIY brochure on “Laying Your Own Paving” which will save you the time and expense of calling in a professional to do the job.
When deciding on what tools to use to clean your clay paving, we recommend using wooden scrapers and stiff fiber (never wire) brushes to avoid scratching or damaging your pavers. When using chemical-based products as cleaning agents, it is vital that you thoroughly wet the paving with clean water before applying any chemicals so as to avoid absorption into the paving. Chemicals should be thoroughly rinsed off with water after the cleaning process is complete.
To remove general dirt and debris, regular brushing with hot, soapy water is recommended. Depending on the type of stain, the following cleaning methods are recommended:
For rust and iron stains, wet the surface of the paving and then apply a solution of 5% – 10% hydrochloric acid, or oxalic acid solution. If the affected area does not respond to treatment, the dark brown staining could be manganese, in which case you would need to scrub the stain with one-part acetic acid and one-part hydrogen peroxide in six parts water.
Lichens and mosses will grow over time, and ridding the joints of these shade-loving plants is relatively easy. Steam or boiling water is effective in killing most mosses, but they can be also be eliminated using copper sulphate (1kg to 10 liters of water) or a proprietary weed killer.
Oil stains can be removed using white spirit, carbon tetrachloride or trichloroethylene. If you are using these chemicals indoors, good ventilation is needed when working.
For more information on cleaning stubborn and specific stains such as lime and lime bloom, efflorescence and a variety of others, check out “Cleaning of Clay Brickwork” on the downloads page of the Corobrik website.
Which stains are you struggling to remove from your clay paving or brickwork at home? Do you have any home remedies that help remove them? We’d love to hear from you.