Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday October 12, 2006
Instead of wasting water, use chlorine or degreasers to clean paths.
You're preparing to host the spring and summer round of barbecues and outdoor parties, but the paving's looking sullied and you need a quick fix.
The causes are simple. Lots of people love to load their garden beds in spring with rich, black soil, but recent heavy rains may have washed dirt across the pavers.
Or, if you live near a main road, you'll know the havoc diesel soot can wreak, blackening bricks and stones.
You could hire a professional such as Sean Malone to run a pressure washing machine across the dirty paving. His machine has a washer that limits the flow to 10 litres a minute - down from 28 - to meet water restrictions, but the robust use of water could still attract dirty looks from your neighbours.
So Malone is increasingly using pool chlorine to clean paving, either as a liquid or granulated in capsules.
He says you'll need rubber gloves to handle the chlorine, eye protection (because a splash could be dangerous) and a long-handled broom.
Then, Malone says, you "dilute the hell out of it". Mix a solution of 10 parts of water to one part of chlorine. Malone paints the chlorine onto the paving and leaves it for 20 minutes. Then he hoses it off, repeating the method on any sections that still have dirty patches.
The chlorine, he says, should wipe off the dirt caused by soil run-off, diesel soot and mildew. It will also stop the grass growing in the wrong places. Make sure you don't empty any chlorine on the garden, because it will kill the plants.
Some commercial brick-cleaning products contain hydrochloric acid, he says. Beware: Malone warns the acid can attack mortar and darken otherwise attractive sandstone. Brick-cleaning acid should only be used to remove excess mortar left by builders on the ground.
If chlorine does not remove a stubborn grease or oil stain, degreaser can be applied, left for 20 minutes and hosed off.
If all else fails and the stain won't come out, Malone recommends you pull up the paver and flip it. More than half of pavers sold are reversible.
Your options may be limited with broken pavers. Malone says to pull the paver up and check for a brand name underneath. Then ring second-hand paving companies to see if they have a suitable replacement.
Or get creative: move pavers around so broken ones are in less obvious places, such as under plants and barbecues.
Sean Malone, 9997 4876,