The Secret To A Weed-Free Patio Is Probably In Your Kitchen

Hello, moss-less paving.
Close-up of moss and grass growing among the stones of a terrace, Oleiros, A Coruna, Galicia, Spain
Santiago Urquijo via Getty Images
Close-up of moss and grass growing among the stones of a terrace, Oleiros, A Coruna, Galicia, Spain

The joys of being The Friend With A Lawn are varied, but not burdenless.

Barbecue, backyard party, and general hanging-out-outside duties are part and parcel of the role – and while it’s great to offer your loved ones the space, facing the yearly task of cleaning out your patio slabs pre-garden drinks season can feel a little daunting.

Thankfully, gardeners have shared their surprising secret to moss and weed-free patio slabs.

So, we’re here to share the (ridiculously cheap) hack with you – and explain how it works and how to apply it.

Washing powder will banish any unwanted greenery

In these expensive times, it’s good to hear that one part of your home still has inexpensive tastes –your patio shouldn’t require any specialist equipment to deep-clean, and it turns out you can get rid of any pesky plants by just using cheap detergents like washing powder on it, too.

It works because laundry detergent is often full of something called boron, which is toxic to plants (in other words, you should keep it well away from the parts of your lawn you want to flourish).

Detergents and soaps also work to remove oil from the surfaces they touch, and in turn ”(remove) the natural oils and waxes that all plants have on their leaves. These oils and waxes serve to protect the leaves.”

“When the protective coating is removed from the leaves, it makes it easier for pathogens to get a foothold and infect the plants,” says Garden Myths.

On top of its weedkilling effects, some gardeners also reckon laundry powder causes their patio slabs to come up dazzlingly clean too (a win-win if you ask us).

OK, so – how do I use it?

Gardeners offer a couple of options.

One thing they all agree on is that if you’ve got any huge, obtrusive plants or masses of moss sprouting between your slabs, you’ll need to remove those manually before you get to scrubbing.

After that, though, approaches vary.

Some recommend leaving washing powder on your pavement slabs as-is. But this one sets us a little on edge – it could blow onto other parts of your lawn, and we know how damaging the stuff is to your greenery.

Another option is to mix it with some warm water until a foam forms (in fact, boiling water alone is a pretty potent weedkiller if you want to go chemical-free). Then, just slosh it onto your slabs and scrub it away with a hard-bristled brush. This seems to be the more popular (and pro-approved) option.

Of course, you should do a patch test on an inconspicuous part of your patio first to make sure the soap won’t hurt it. And if you have marble, concrete, or limestone slabs, you might need to ditch the detergents altogether. Still, if you’re pretty sure your patio is tough enough to take on some soap, it’s got to be worth a try, right?