Monty Don reveals how to lay garden paving
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The arrival of spring marks the start of garden party season, so it’s that time of the year when people may be dusting down their patio for celebratory times ahead. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the question of how to clean a patio is trending across social media, where some patio owners are using an unconventional tool as a cleaning solution – ketchup. The viral patio idea is making waves on social media, where cleaners have praised ketchup’s power to remove rust, dirt, and algae. However, despite its success in these areas, experts have warned that this hack may be doing more harm than good.
Here’s why gardeners should keep their condiments away from paving stones – and what should be used instead.
Cass Heaphy, the digital director at Paving Direct, explained that ketchup is a vinegar-based condiment (usually about 1/3 by volume of the ingredients), meaning it will cause acidic damage to natural stone or concrete paving.
He said: “Limestone, sandstone, and Portland cement concrete are all vulnerable to chemical erosion and corrosive damage from acids.
“So any acid-based liquid will likely corrode and damage the stone and concrete of the patio.
“My recommendation is, do not do this as it will likely damage your patio.”
The expert added that, alongside the acidic damage, using ketchup may also leave tiny cavities in the natural stone and concrete and potentially leave pigments and staining when you hose it off.
Cass said: “I cannot 100 percent vouch for the latter, but that ketchup’s vinegar content will damage sandstone, limestone, and concrete paving, I am 100 percent certain.”
Fantastic Services’ garden specialist, Pol Bishop, also warned against using the popular ketchup trick on the concrete exterior.
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He said: “Please remember to avoid using a detergent with any acid if you have a concrete patio.
“The ketchup trick is not a good idea for this situation.”
So what should gardeners opt for instead? Cass suggested that the best patio cleaner is alkaline-based – while specialist patio cleaning products offer the best chance of success.
But contrary to popular belief, you don’t need any fancy products to clean a patio without a pressure washer
In fact, one of the most effective patio cleaning products is good old-fashioned washing-up liquid mixed with warm tap water, according to the experts at Simply Paving.
All that’s needed for this method is washing-up liquid, warm water, a bucket, and a hard-bristled brush.
Squirt a little washing-up liquid into the base of your bucket and fill with warm water. This should give plenty of soapy suds to work with.
Now you can start cleaning by starting from the corners, splash a little water, grab the brush and scrub.
You should be able to see the dirt and debris lift and rinse away as you go.
The experts said: “Remember to scrub diagonally as this will be gentler on the jointing compound and less will come out during cleaning.”
Repeat with the splashing and scrubbing routine until the whole patio is covered. You will likely need to head inside a few times to top up the cleaning solution for those who are cleaning a large patio.
Finally, clear the dirty water away with a bucket of clean water so that it flows into a drainage pot.
Don’t forget to check your joints at this stage. If you notice some of the jointing compound has come out during the cleaning process, more will have to be added in to fill in the gaps.
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