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How to remove stains from pavers

How to remove stains from pavers
Frequently asked questions about stain removal

A commonly asked question we receive here at The Paving Experts is how to remove stains from pavers. Whether it is an accidental spill or some gradually developing efflorescence or lichen stains , read our expert advice on recommended paving cleaners and stain removers.

Paving stains can appear for a variety of reasons, including: 

  • Efflorescence or reflective staining
  • Lime or calcium deposits
  • Lichen stains (also known as black spot)
  • Oil, grease, rust or other contaminants
  • Grout stains
  • Decomposing leaves
  • Mould and algae
  • General dirt

Diagnosing the cause of the stain will help you to prescribe the best treatment. Read on for details of the products available to remove these common paving stains.

Most common stains can be removed from pavers using a quality cleaning product and a hard-bristled brush. However, you must choose a product and method suitable for your paving material, whether that be natural stone, artificial pavers, porcelain, ceramics or granite. 

Be very wary of using vinegar to clean stains off pavers as this acidic solution can seriously damage certain types of pavers. 

Lithofin cleaning products are specially formulated to remove stains from various paving and tiling materials. Lithofin Power Clean, for example, can clean efflorescence, grouting stains, rust, lichen, mould and general dirt off natural and artificial stone including limestone and sandstone. 

Efflorescence staining is what occurs when water and minerals evaporate from below the paving slabs. This evaporation process through the stone itself creates either white patches or reflective staining.

Efflorescence can develop gradually over time, usually during the warmer months. It commonly affects porous stones, such as sandstone, Yorkstone and limestone, but it can still be seen on concrete pavements and porcelain.

If your pavers are showing tell-tale signs of efflorescence, Lithofin may be useful in eradicating it – try Lithofin MN Builders Clean for granite and other acid-resistant stones, or Lithofin MN Power Clean for natural stone (including porous sandstone) and artificial pavers. 

Efflorescence staining is more common on porous stones such as sandstone, limestone and Yorkstone. Lithofin Power Clean is specially formulated for removing stains, including efflorescence, from more sensitive paving stones. 

Follow the instructions on the bottle and always do a patch-test first.

Although vinegar can be a good all-round household cleaner, we don’t recommend applying a vinegar-based cleaning solution to pavers as it may degrade or damage the surfaces of the slabs and/or the jointing grout. 

Instead, choose a paving cleaning product that is specially formulated to the materials in your patio, driveway or pavement. Most of these products are to be diluted and suitable for use with a pressure washer to remove most types of paving stains.   

Lichen – otherwise known as black spots – can be a tough stain to remove. Power washing and scrubbing is usually not enough to remove the spores completely. 

EASYCare Black Spot Remover is a high-performance cleaning solution proven to kill lichen spores and stop them from returning.

EASY Black Spot Remover

It really depends on the cause of the discoloration. If black spots, lichen spores or algae have developed, you can’t go wrong with EASYCare Black Spot Remover. This high-performance cleaning solution will help to kill these spores completely so they don’t return. 

If the discoloration is due to efflorescence or reflective staining, Litofin’s range of cleaning products can do the job. 

Lithofin’s products can remove all types of stains. When choosing a cleaning product, always choose the one best suited for your paving materials:

Yes, a power washer can be used to clean pavers but you will often need a cleaning solution to fully remove dirt, grime, grease, algae, lichen and efflorescence stains. 

When using a power washer, it’s important to get the pressure right so you don’t affect the integrity of the grouting joints or damage the surfaces. Start in an ‘unimportant’ corner of the patio to check the pressure before working up to other areas. Never point the nozzle directly into the paving grout joints.  

Use a quality sealant if there is a high risk of spills or you’re just looking for some extra protection for your paving. A sealant will help to preserve and protect the pavers, enhance the colour, and will even reduce the risk of weed growth. 

There is a whole range of sealants and enhancers that offer extra resistance against common paving stains. See our tutorial on sealing block paving for a general guide to using sealants. 

There are ways of preventing reflective stains on paving, otherwise known as efflorescence. These include: 

  • Ensuring the bedding mortar is in full contact with the pavers
  • Using a quality primer to stop the slab from moving
  • Avoiding using too much water when applying jointing compound

Preventing efflorescence from developing in the first place is always the best option. Read our article on how to prevent reflective stains for a step-by-step guide.

A sealant provides maximum protection to paving surfaces and joints, preserving the beauty of your patio and prolonging its life. It can protect against weathering, oil and grease, general dirt and other contaminants, along with preventing weed growth and enhancing the colour of your patio. 

Although a sealant offers extra peace of mind for any paving job, it is especially more important after laying particularly sensitive and porous stones such as sandstone. Try EasySeal Sandstone for extra protection. 

Still have a question about stain removal?

If you still have an unanswered question about removing stains from natural and artificial pavers, contact our expert team for instant advice. We’re available weekdays, 8.30am to 5.30pm, on 0330 122 1025. Our range of products are available to click and collect from our Tamworth depot and for delivery across the country.

More frequently asked questions