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Soil, salt, moss and tire tracks commonly disfigure outdoor stone terraces, pool decks, walkways and walls. The homeowner can clean dirt and moss from outdoor stone with a brush and a few cleaners manufactured especially for outdoor conditions. Cleaning large areas is economical and faster when done by a professional with appropriate equipment.

The first step is to describe the environment of the stone. Is it exposed to the weather? Is it exposed to salt spray (even several blocks from the sound)? Is a northern exposure supporting moss, mould or mildew? Is the stone stained with spilled food and sun tan lotion? Does an adjacent planted area drain dirty run off on to the stone?

Some stone retailers sell stone cleaners that will clean light soil, but the above conditions require a cleaner formulated for the specific conditions. Professional cleaning and sealing of outdoor stone can protect against soil, spills and the growth of moss, mould and mildew. Routine cleaning with a stone cleaner are adequate between scheduled professional cleanings and resealing.

The best results can be obtained by using the right materials before soil accumulates. The best cleaner is a pH neutral cleaner formulated for cleaning natural stone. These cleaners are usually harmless to the environment. Stone cleaners are available from many stone retailers. They are highly concentrated, and are actually economical to use.

Use only tools with plastic and soft fiber parts. Do not use abrasive cleaners; they will scratch the stone. Do not use thick, creamy cleaners; they will stick in the natural pours of the stone. Soft brushes, soft sponges and soft, natural cloths are ok.

Dilute 1 or 2 ounces of the stone cleaner in a 3 to 5 gallon bucket of clean, warm water. Fill another bucket with more clean, warm water. Apply the cleaner with the brush, and then rinse the dirty brush in the second bucket of rinse water. Vacuum up the dirty water or rinse with a hose.
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