Paving Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular maintenance and good cleaning practices will enhance the overall appearance of your paving.

Navigate your way through the tabs below:

General Cleaning of Paving

Regular hosing and sweeping will not only keep your paving looking clean but it will also prevent weeds from taking root as they usually grow when seeds are left undisturbed to germinate in the debris that collects in between the pavers.

To remove general dirt and debris, regularly hose down your paving and sweep with a hard-bristled outdoor broom.

When the paving is heavily soiled, scrub the area with a hard-bristled brush or broom and a general-purpose cleaner (a pH neutral/slightly alkaline, non-abrasive cleaner can be used). Ensure all the soap has been thoroughly washed off from the surface after cleaning and that the run-off soapy water is channelled to drainage points or containers where it can be disposed of safely.

Should the results be unsatisfactory, seek professional advice and use specialised detergents.

Note: Do not use power hoses to clean paving as this may wash out jointing sand (grouting) which can result in the pavers suffering damages.


It is essential to seek expert advice and guidance when using specialised detergents. Bosun cannot accept any responsibility for inappropriate use of detergents or the incorrect application thereof.

We recommend contacting our sister company, Cretesol, for advice on what detergents best suit your needs. Cretesol supplies a range of highly effective cleaning products.

Mechanical Cleaners

It is advised that sections of paving, at least, be cleaned daily on commercial pedestrian areas like shopping centre piazzas and walkways. For daily maintenance of large paved areas, we recommend the use of specialised equipment.

Goscor is the agent for Tennant cleaning machines in South Africa. Tennant is regarded as the world leader in this field.

It is strongly advised that an industry expert advise you on equipment to be used on your site. Bosun can’t be held responsible when the wrong cleaning equipment is used.

The following recommendations deal with sweeping machines and associated equipment and their use:

  • Equipment should be designed for the purpose of sweeping the particular area. If there is any doubt, the vehicle manufacturer should be consulted.
  • Tyres should be inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure maximum weight distribution.
  • Polypropylene brushes should be used, not wire brushes.
  • Sweeping brush pressures should be set to the minimum requirement suitable for the particular task, i.e. surfaces swept regularly will require a lesser setting than those swept infrequently or those covered with heavy deposits.
  • When sweeping, engine revolutions should be set at the minimum requirement to maintain vacuum (suction) pressure.
  • Operators, including relief staff, should be trained to vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations and tyre and brush pressures should be checked regularly.
  • Advice should be given to operators that, when equipment is stationary or left unattended, suction, brush rotation and water jetting equipment should be switched off to avoid the risk of damage to the area below the stationary equipment.
  • In new or re-laid areas, allow the pavement to settle and the joints to seal before manual cleaning.
  • When water jetting equipment is used to wash such areas, the jets or hand held lance should be directed at the surface at an angle not greater than 30° and across the diagonal (i.e. not parallel to joints) using a suitable detergent solution.

The area should be inspected after cleaning to ensure that joints are refilled with jointing sand if necessary.

Stain Removal & Spot Treatments

Oil stains: for fresh stains use an absorbent cloth or towel to dab excess spillage. While doing this, try to avoid smearing or rubbing the oil further into the surface of the paver. Proceed to remove the stain with a common household detergent, water and a scrubbing brush.

For stubborn, soiled stains, we recommend using a stronger detergent, degreaser or specialised cleaner. Unfortunately, most oil stains are permanent and cleaning will only help reduce the appearance of the stain.

To help prevent oils from staining your paving, we recommend using ProtectGuard paving protectors, available our sister company Cretesol. The ProtectGuard range protects paving against common oils and grease stains. Once applied, they ensure that the paved surface is much easier to clean when exposed to the abovementioned materials.

Tyre marks: tyre marks on paving can usually be removed by scrubbing the area with hot water and a strong detergent. Remember to rinse thoroughly. To make it easier to remove tyre marks and somewhat prevent them, we recommend using a specialised paving sealant or protectors.

Rust stains, concrete, plaster and paint marks: Removing such stains often requires specialised products and sometimes equipment. We do not recommend the use of acid or other DIY solutions. Rather call in a cleaning professional to assist with the cleaning of these particular marks on your paving.

Smoke, fire and tobacco stains: These can normally be removed by scrubbing with hot soapy water. If the stain is persistent, apply a mild bleach solution and then rinse the area with clean water, taking care to dispose of the run-off safely.

Food and beverage stains: most spillages can be cleaned with hot water and mild household detergents. More stubborn stains, such as wine or greasy marks around a braai, may require stronger detergents such as bleach. It’s advised to deal with spillages at the first opportunity.

Efflorescence removal

Efflorescence is difficult, but not impossible to remove. In many instances rain will simply wash away white efflorescence.

We recommend using a specialised remover, such as Guard Remover Eco Efflorescence & Cement. Specially formulated to remove efflorescence, this product is less aggressive than other solutions. It is non-corrosive, eco-friendly and safe to use. We recommend contacting Cretesol for more information on this product.

Weeds on Paving

It is a common misconception that weeds grow from underneath the paving. It’s not impossible and may occur in rare instances, however, weeds almost always grow from seeds and bird droppings that land in paving joints from above. Regular hosing and sweeping of the paved area will prevent weeds from growing as it disturbs newly emerging weeds before they are fully established.

The use of specialised weed killers can also be considered; however, we strongly advise doing your homework beforehand. Weed killers are often known to stain or damage paving.

The best cure is often prevention. To prevent weeds from surfacing on your paving we recommend (depending on your application) using either a resin based jointing material or a jointing stabilisation product to eliminate weed growth altogether. Our sister company, Cretesol, have a number of products suitable for different applications.

Paving Maintenance tips

Inspect paving on a quarterly basis

Check for any loose, damaged or stained paving and to ensure that the jointing material is intact.

  • Loose paving. It is important to rectify the cause of the movement/settlement. Subsidence of the substrate layers are the most common reasons for pavement failure. No matter what the cause, it needs to be investigated and rectified before replacing or re-bedding the paving units.
  • Damaged or stained paving. Individual blocks can easily be replaced. Please refer to our guide on how to replace damaged paving.
  • Jointing material that is no longer intact. The pavers simply need to be topped with jointing sand by brushing or sweeping in a suitable dry plaster sand.

Maintaining your paving during construction

Paving should be kept covered during construction or renovation to protect it from damage and possible staining from paint or oil-based substances as well as any harsh chemicals.

Sealing and protecting of paving

It is strongly advised to seek expert advice from an industry specialist such as Cretesol when looking to seal or protect your paving. Cretesol supplies a range of specialised paving sealants and protectors at numerous price points to suit your budget.

It must be expected that sealants may have an effect on the colour of the paving, its slip/skid resistance and may require on-going maintenance during the life of the paving. It is also important that the surface of the units is dry, clean and efflorescence-free before any sealer or protector is applied.

Benefits of protecting or sealing your paving:

  • Improved appearance.
  • Under some circumstances, they can prolong the life of the installation.
  • Helping to seal and stabilise the jointing material.
  • Inhibiting weed growth.
  • Stain prevention (especially from oil-based stains)
  • Prevent efflorescence

Bosun cannot accept any responsibility for inappropriate use of sealants or the incorrect application thereof. For more information on recommended products for Bosun paving, please click here.

Please note:

The information above is intended as a general guideline on the cleaning and maintenance of precast concrete paving and is not intended to be a comprehensive guide.

It is particularly important with all cleaning methods that a test should be carried out on a small, preferably inconspicuous area, to determine the effect of the treatment before commencing work on a larger area.