How to Clean Brick and Concrete With a Pressure Washer (Without Damage)

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 04/08/24 •  3 min read

Hardscapes, like brick, concrete, and natural stone, are great outdoor materials due to their longevity. With proper maintenance, they can last a long time.

However, improper or aggressive cleaning can actually damage them and decrease their lifespan. With some simple steps, you can keep your outdoor spaces clean and ready for the new year with just a good pressure washer.

1. Choose the Right Pressure Washer Power and Tips

Start by choosing the proper pressure and nozzle tip. To help you set up your pressure washer correctly, check out this pressure washer quick start guide.

A pressure washer with about 3 gpm and 3000 psi is ideal for most concrete and brick cleaning jobs. Choose the tip with the widest angle that still gets the job done to prevent degrading the surface of the hardscape.

2. Evaluate the Materials You’re Pressure Washing

Brick and concrete in areas with daily shadowing will often get mold or algae growth through the fall and winter seasons. Older surfaces also tend to be more porous from age and wear, which only encourages grime to build up more quickly.

While this will clean up fairly quickly with just water and the correct technique with a pressure washer. But be warned that these older and more porous surfaces can also be damaged by the wrong tip or technique more quickly.

If you are cleaning an area stained by oil, consider using a soap attachment to assist in pulling those stains out. 

Check out my post with in-depth info about cleaning and removing stains on outdoor concrete floors here (including recommended products).

3. Use a Gentle but Strong Pressure Washing Technique

With proper technique, you can clean most brick, stone, and concrete surfaces fairly quickly.

Starting at one end of the hardscape, hold the tip about 12″ from the surface and use an even and consistent sweeping motion.

This will help prevent damage to the surface as well as minimize streaking. Keep the spray at a slight angle to direct the cleaning across the surface of the brick or concrete and prevent the force from degrading the surface. 

As you move across the area, try to direct the runoff to a permeable area such as grass or crushed stone.

Finish by using a push broom or wide spray tip to remove the loosened debris from the surface.

If you have a large area to clean, consider renting a rotating sweeping attachment. This attachment has a rotating head that can consistently clean large areas quickly without causing arm fatigue. 

thewriteDuffy

At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.