How to Maintain and Clean Decorative Landscape Rocks?

Table of Contents

If you have decorative landscaping stones in Columbus, Cincinnati, or other parts of Ohio in your garden or yard, you know that their beauty can enhance your outdoor space's overall look and feel. However, as with anything exposed to the elements, landscape rocks can accumulate dirt, debris, and even algae, detracting from their aesthetic appeal.

Regular cleaning keeps landscape rocks looking fresh and helps them last longer. In this post, we'll provide tips and tricks on cleaning landscaping rock, so you can keep your outdoor space looking as gorgeous as the day you installed it. You’ll never need to wonder how to clean landscape stones again!

The Advantages of Maintaining Decorative Landscape Rocks

  • Gives your outdoor space an attractive look: Keeping your decorative stone landscaping clean, free from debris, and well-maintained adds an aesthetic value that beautifies your outdoor area, making it more appealing and attractive.
  • Prevents invasive weeds: Cleaning landscape rock effectively reduces weed growth in your garden or yard. This will save you time and effort since you won't have to pull weeds as frequently.
  • Improves drainage: Decorative landscape rocks play an essential role in your outdoor drainage, but debris and dirt can clog the rocks, impede drainage, and damage your landscaping. Cleaning landscape rocks will ensure proper drainage and prevent water from building up in unwanted areas, avoiding water damage and other potential problems.
  • Increases the longevity of your landscaping: Cleaning your decorative landscape rock regularly can help extend its lifespan, which will save you money on costly repairs or replacements.

How to Clean Large Landscape Rocks

how to clean river rock
Large landscape rocks

Landscape boulders, river rock landscaping, and other decorative stones can add a natural and stunning element to your yard. However, over time, these rocks can become dirty and unsightly. Cleaning rocks, including large landscape rocks, can feel like a daunting task, but with the right tools and procedures, you can easily maintain your rock landscaping. 

When learning how to clean dirty landscape rocks, here are the best practices to follow:

  1. Gather the necessary tools. Depending on the type of rocks you have, you may need a pressure washer, a garden hose, a stiff-bristle scrub brush, or a bucket.
  2. Remove dirt and debris. Use a brush, rake, or broom to remove any debris or loose dirt from the rock surface. You can also use a leaf blower to blow away leaves or any other small debris.
  3. Rinse off the rocks. Using a garden hose when cleaning landscape stones, gently rinse off the rocks. Start at the top and work your way down so that the debris (including bird droppings) flows away from the clean areas.
  4. Scrub the rocks. For tough stains or algae growth, use a stiff-bristle brush or pressure washer to clean the rocks. Be cautious when using a pressure washer to avoid damaging the rocks. Wearing gloves and safety goggles when using a pressure washer is important.
  5. Clean crevices and hard-to-reach areas. Use a small bristle brush or a toothbrush to clean the crevices and hard-to-reach areas of the large landscape rocks. You can use warm water and vinegar solution to deeper clean these areas for a deep clean.
  6. Rinse the rocks again. After scrubbing, rinse the rocks with a hose to remove any remaining dirt or cleaning solution.

Allow the rocks to dry. If you have the time, allow the rocks to air dry. If you need to use the space quickly, use a leaf blower or a dry towel to remove any remaining moisture.

How to Clean White Landscape Stones

White landscape stones are a popular choice for decorative aggregates in gardens and yards, providing a clean and polished look. And understanding how to clean exterior stones like white landscape stones can seem a little tricky so here’s what to do:

  1. Preparation: Begin by removing any debris or obstacles near the white landscape stones, such as furniture or garden decorations. This will give you easy access to the stones and prevent further contamination during the cleaning process.
  2. Gather supplies: When learning how to clean rocks in your yard, especially white stones, you'll need a few essential tools, including a garden hose or pressure wash tool, a stiff-bristle brush, a bucket with a mild detergent solution, gloves, and safety goggles if using a pressure washer.
  3. Remove loose debris: Use a rake or leaf blower to clear away leaves, twigs, and other loose debris from the white landscape stones.
  4. Rinse the stones: Gently rinse the white landscape stones using a garden hose or pressure washer, starting from the top and working your way down.
  5. Apply cleaning solution: Mix a gentle detergent with water in a bucket to create a mild cleaning solution. Dip a stiff-bristle brush into the solution and scrub the white landscape stones.
  6. Use a bleach solution for stubborn stains: If your white landscape stones have stubborn stains, mix one part bleach with four parts water in a separate bucket. Carefully apply the bleach solution to the stained areas using the stiff-bristle brush. Let the solution sit for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
  7. Rinse and dry: After scrubbing the stones, rinse them again with the gardenhose or pressure washer to remove any remaining dirt and cleaning solution. Allow the white landscapestones to air dry completely to prevent water spots and ensure a polished look.

How to Clean Stone Pavers

how to maintain rock landscaping
Stone pavers

For stone pavers, here's how to clean rocks from the outside in the best way:

  • Sweep off Stones: Start by using a stiff-bristle push broom or leaf blower to sweep away leaves and other small debris from the area around the stones. This will ensure that all surfaces are exposed so they can be cleaned properly.
  • Rinse: Using a garden hose or pressure washer (with caution!), gently rinse off each stone surface from top to bottom so that excess dirt flows away from clean sections.
  • Scrub Stains: Dip your brush in a bucket containing water and white vinegar, then scrub any spots with visible stains or algae growths; this step is especially important if you want an optimal clean!
  • Clean Crevices: Use warm water mixed with white vinegar as well as a toothbrush or small brush to get into those hard-to-reach cracks for ultimate results!
  • Rinse Again & Let It Dry Once: After the surfaces have been scrubbed properly, rinse everything off one last time; if using a pressure washer, be sure to wear gloves and safety glasses for protection.

The Best Way to Clean Decorative Rock Walls

cleaning landscape rocks
Decorative rock walls

Unlike natural stone, manufactured landscape stone is more delicate and susceptible to damage by high-pressure water and aggressive cleaning agents.

As a result, avoid using a pressure washer or chemical cleaners when cleaning a decorative rock wall made of manufactured stone since they can cause cracking, chipping, discoloration, or even compromise the integrity of the masonry holding the stone together. Instead, a gentle approach is preferred when cleaning decorative rock walls.

To begin cleaning your decorative rock wall start by using a soft-bristled brush to remove any loose dirt and debris. Then, use a mixture of mild dish soap or a stone cleanser with warm water, using a soft cloth or sponge to carefully scrub the surface.

Rinse off the soap with a gardenhose or a low-pressure power washer. While cleaning, ensure to take care not to disturb the masonry since this can cause the decorative rock wall to crumble.

How to Maintain Rock Landscaping

how to clean landscape stone
Rock landscaping

When it comes to how to maintain rock landscaping, one important aspect is keeping weeds, leaves, and debris away from the garden gravel. Not only can these unwanted items make your garden look unkempt, but they can also attract pests and compromise the health of your plants.

Here's what to do:

  • Spend time on maintenance: Regular maintenance is key to keeping debris at bay. Make it a habit to regularly inspect and clean your garden gravel. It's also a great way to get leaves out of rocks.
  • Invest in garden tools: A good pair of gloves, a rake, and a leaf blower can make the task of cleaning debris from garden gravel much easier and faster.
  • Use weed barriers: Consider using a weed barrier or landscape fabric underneath the garden gravel to prevent weed growth. Landscape fabric can make a big difference.
  • Rake and sweep regularly: Use a rake to remove larger debris and a broom or leaf blower to sweep away smaller bits of debris.
  • Apply a safe weed killer: If weeds appear, use a safe weed killer to prevent them from taking over your garden gravel.
  • Install gutter guards: Install gutter guards to prevent leaves and other debris from falling into the garden gravel from nearby trees or shrubs.
  • Use organic mulch: Consider using organic mulch around your plants to prevent weed growth and keep the garden gravel clean.

Final Thoughts

Rock landscaping is a great way to add texture and interest to your outdoor spaces. While the initial installation of rock landscaping may require some work, proper cleaning and maintenance can help keep it looking its best for years to come. Now that you know how to clean landscape rocks, what’s next?

If you're in the surrounding Columbus or Cincinnati area, Stone Center is here to help with all of your landscaping and hardscaping needs!

Visit our virtual natural stone catalog today!

How to Clean River Rock

Like any other landscaping element, river rocks, and stone aggregates in general, require occasional cleaning to maintain their pristine appearance. Let's explore how to clean river rock landscaping, whether they're part of a decorative rock wall, used as stone pavers, or simply placed around your garden. 

Prepare the Area and Gather the Necessary Tools

how to clean landscape rocks
Gather the necessary tools

Before you begin cleaning, prepare the area around the river rocks. This may include removing any furniture, decorations, or other items that might obstruct your cleaning process. You'll also need to gather some essential tools for the task, such as:

  • A hose or pressure washer.
  • A stiff-bristle brush or broom.
  • A large bucket filled with water and mild dish detergent.
  • Gloves and safety goggles (if using a pressure washer).
  • A leaf blower or rake (for removing leaves and debris).
  • A small brush or toothbrush (for cleaning crevices).

Remove Leaves, Debris, and Dirt

clean landscape rock
Remove leaves and debris

When figuring out how to clean garden stones (and how to clean landscape stones in general) the first step is to remove any leaves, debris, or loose dirt that has accumulated around the river rocks. Use a rake or leaf blower to clear the area, ensuring that all debris is removed. This will make the subsequent cleaning process more efficient and help prevent dirt from being spread back onto the rocks.

Rinse the River Rocks

Once the area is free of debris, use a garden hose or pressure washer to rinse off the river rocks. If using a pressure washer, be sure to wear gloves and safety goggles for protection. Start at the top of the area and work your way down, allowing the water to flow away from the clean sections. This step helps to remove surface dirt and prepares the rocks for a more thorough cleaning.

Scrub the Rocks with a Stiff-bristle Brush and Cleaning Solution

cleaning rocks
a Stiff-bristle brush

To clean your river rocks more thoroughly, create a mild cleaning solution by mixing water and a gentle detergent in a bucket. Dip a stiff-bristle brush or broom into the solution and scrub the rocks, focusing on any areas with visible stains or algae growth. For stubborn stains, you can also try using a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. Be sure to scrub every surface of the rocks to ensure a comprehensive clean.

Clean Crevices and Hard-to-Reach Areas

how to clean dirty landscape rocks

River rocks often have small crevices and indentations that can trap dirt and debris. To clean these areas, use a small brush or toothbrush dipped in your cleaning solution. Gently scrub the crevices, removing any dirt or buildup that may be present. This step is crucial for maintaining the natural beauty of your river rocks and preventing the growth of mold or mildew.

Rinse the River Rocks Again

After scrubbing the river rocks, use your garden hose and any power-washing tool to rinse them again. This will remove any remaining dirt or cleaning solution, leaving the rocks looking clean and refreshed. Be sure to rinse thoroughly, as any remaining detergent can cause a slippery surface and harm your plants.

Allow the River Rocks to Dry

Once the river rocks have been thoroughly cleaned and rinsed, give them time to air dry. This step is particularly important if you're cleaning a decorative rock wall, as the drying process will help prevent water damage to the structure. If you're in a hurry, you can use a leaf blower or a dry towel to remove excess moisture from the rocks.

Perform Regular Maintenance

To keep your river rocks looking their best, it's essential to perform regular maintenance. This includes removing leaves and debris as needed (a helpful tip for how to get leaves out of rocks), washing pebbles, and periodically rinsing the rocks with water to remove surface dirt. By staying proactive in your maintenance efforts, you'll minimize the need for deep cleaning and ensure your river rocks remain a beautiful addition to your outdoor space.

Consider Sealing Your River Rocks

To further protect your river rocks (even small landscape rocks) and make future cleaning easier, consider applying a sealant to your clean landscape rock specifically designed for stone surfaces. Sealing the rocks can help prevent the buildup of dirt, algae, and stains, as well as protect the rocks from harsh weather conditions.


No items found.
Jon Smiley

Jon, the owner of Stone Center, is a knowledgeable expert in natural stone products, specializing in various types of stone for landscaping and architectural projects. Passionate about promoting the beauty and versatility of natural stone, Jon aims to use these blogs to inspire readers with creative ideas to upgrade their homes.

Check Out Our Products You May Like

No items found.