Home Improvement

How to Clean Retaining Wall Blocks

Retaining walls are meant to enhance the beauty and appearance of your garden or yard. However, there is a major problem with this type of wall. Due to their location, they accumulate dirt, plant material, mildew and others sorts of gunk very soon. As a result, blocks start looking stained and ugly. Fortunately, maintaining the look of these blocks is not that difficult. You just need to put some attention to detail with the right tools and any stained retaining wall can be made to return to its original glory.

Method of cleaning

Before you begin to clean the wall or a few blocks, it is important for you to know what the wall is made of. The wall could be made of old stone, standing strong for decades or of prized antique bricks. It is not a good idea to put in all the effort and finally realize that the wall has been ruined because of harsh chemicals or the wrong cleaner. Additionally, you could drive the dirt deeper into the blocks by cleaning it in the wrong manner making the cleaning project tougher for you.

Begin with the ordinary garden hose

It doesn’t matter what your retaining wall blocks are made of. The first standard step is to use the garden hose with a sprayer attachment. Gently spray the wall or blocks and soak the entire area. This is important prior to cleaning to ensure that no dirt is absorbed into the wall.

Protecting the greenery

If you are going to use some harsh products to get rid of stains, you must be worried about the overflow from the cleaning process. You wouldn’t want your plants to get spoilt. Therefore, you need to use tarps or plastic drop cloths to cover the area around the retaining walls so that plants are shielded from the harshness of the runoff.

Basic cleaning options

  • Purchase some professional-grade degreaser if you are wiping off stone retaining walls. Put the degreaser directly into the reservoir and use the garden hose sprayer. Allow the entire area to soak in this solution and let the degreaser stay on for 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t be frightened because the wall will at first appear dirtier than before. After 15minutes, take a power sprayer and go through the entire wall from top to bottom, from left to right. The wall will be foaming and don’t stop till it is foaming. Let the wall completely dry and you will notice that it has retained its former beauty.
  • Brick or concrete block retaining walls can be cleaned easily. Begin with regular dish soap in the garden hose sprayer. With a toothbrush, scrub all the stained areas. Use the power spray to remove the soap and leave the wall to dry.
  • In case the dish soap does not work on concrete blocks, fill the garden sprayer with bleach. Take some precaution when using bleach – wear goggles, safety glasses and suitable clothing. Just like in the above cleaning options, spray off the bleach and leave the wall to dry.
  • Hydrochloric acid is the last option if none of the other methods work. It can help get rid of stains on some of the blocks but it is sometimes excessively harsh on certain materials. When working with hydrochloric acid, make sure you follow the directions of the manufacturer or hire a professional to do the job for you. Hydrochloric acid is a hazardous substance and should be used safely.

Stains on retaining walls are not difficult to remove and homeowners should be able to do the job on their own. Just remember not to begin with a power washer and be careful with the usage of powerful chemicals and cleaners.

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