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Decorative gravel is one of the most popular decorative stones that you can use on your property due to the low maintenance requirements. Contamination from environmental influences, which make the original color darker and unsightly, occurs more frequently with white variants in particular. Cleaning ornamental gravel and making it white again is not rocket science and can be easily implemented with the right tools and the right work steps. In addition, it is worthwhile to protect the decorative stones from dirt by taking preventive measures.

Clean ornamental gravel

When you need to clean the ornamental gravel depends on several factors:

  • degree of pollution
  • season
  • Type of decorative stones
  • color
  • position

Above all, the degree of pollution is to be mentioned here. Over the period of use of the gravel surface, a large amount of dirt can accumulate, which robs white stones in particular of their once attractive colour.


The causes of contamination can be varied, including:

  • Algae due to excessive humidity
  • faded plants
  • leaves
  • needles from trees
  • mosses
  • Earth

Even the dirty snow can cause contamination once it has melted. Especially if you live on a busy road and emissions and road dirt collect on the snow, this can lead to dirt when it thaws. For this reason, one is offered annual cleaning after the last snow. A spring cleaning, so to speak, because you should integrate it into the general property maintenance. It doesn't matter whether you have gravel beds, driveways or paths, especially if your decorative stones are white, you have to clean them regularly. This is particularly important for areas with the following location characteristics:

  • shady
  • wet
  • heavily used

Gravel areas actually keep themselves clean by themselves if there is enough sun and dryness. Since this is not the case in all areas of Germany and especially not over the winter, dirty decorative gravel is a typical sight. Especially if there is a lot of rain with no sun, you can expect to clean your gravel more often. Besides the actual spring cleaning, after the last of the snow has melted, you should clean the gravel surface when you feel it is necessary.


If you want to reduce the level of pollution, there are some excellent prevention methods. Above all, these ensure that no organic materials can rot, which promotes the formation of humus and thus dirt. Likewise, the type of gravel used is somewhat responsible for the possible pollution. You can effectively prevent contamination with the following tips:

collect leaves

One of the most important ways to prevent dirty ornamental gravel is to remove the foliage in the fall. Autumn leaves rot over the winter and provide a nutrient-rich layer on the stones, which significantly increases their susceptibility to dirt. Since leaves are difficult to collect in large quantities by hand, you should use a rake or broom for the gravel surface. A leaf blower is only recommended on the lowest level or with large grain, otherwise the stones become dangerous projectiles. Proceed thoroughly and carefully in order to effectively clear the area of leaves before the first snowfall.

cutting measures

In spring you should remove dead plant parts and faded flowers in the immediate vicinity of the gravel surface. Even if your gravel surface is still clean, you should carry out this step because dirt can quickly accumulate on the stones after winter if the garden and especially your plants are not properly cared for.

tumbled stones

If the gravel is to remain permanently white, the use of tumbled stones is recommended. Compared to the other variants, tumbled stones have a consistently smooth surface, which makes it difficult for green growth and other dirt to spread. Rely on tumbled gravel to make future maintenance of the gravel surface easier.

These measures are extremely effective in keeping your gravel surfaces clean without requiring any additional effort. Especially the selection of maintenance-free stones can save you a lot of work. If you don't want to use white gravel, you can also make use of another advantage: dark shades. Although these are no less susceptible than other types of gravel, the dirt is hardly visible. This is ideal for natural gardens that should present a rustic character.

tip: Even a professional or properly laid gravel surface can defy dirt and save you a lot of work. A fleece that protects against weeds and thus stops dirt from below is particularly important.

Cleaning ornamental gravel: instructions

tools for cleaning

Decorative gravel can be cleaned with just a few tools. Gravel surfaces in general do not require a great deal of cleaning as liquids or chemical agents are not as effective as the movement of the stones themselves. For this reason, the use of a high-pressure cleaner is only recommended to a limited extent, as you need a lot of tact for this. The following list gives you an overview of the tools you need for cleaning to get your decorative stones white again:

  • rake
  • bucket
  • shovel
  • gloves

You don't need more to clean the ornamental gravel. If you want to use the pressure washer, make sure that it can be set to a low level. You don't want to lose gravel if it gets thrown around in the garden.

tip: When cleaning gravel, do not use household products such as lemon water, chlorine, denture cleaner, boiling water, baking soda or heavy-duty detergent. Home remedies bring very different results in terms of cleaning and can even damage the stones in the case of boiling water or chlorine.

clean gravel

Once you've stocked up on the tools and supplies, you can start cleaning. The duration of the cleaning depends on the size of the gravel surface. Small beds are ready in less than two hours, while driveways or entire areas take much longer. In order to get the decorative gravel white again, you have to combine several work steps that increase the effectiveness of the project. Follow these instructions:

1. Start by working the gravel surfaces thoroughly with a rake. Since a lot of dirt that is easy to remove can collect on and between the stones, in many cases it is completely sufficient to rake the area. Start on one side and thoroughly rake the entire area. This is a great way to get rid of dirt.

2. In combination with the use of the rake, you can use the pressure washer. Use this first and then the rake to remove the loosened dirt even more easily.

3. If the rake is no longer sufficient, you should change the gravel so that it can be moved to a new location. The best solution is replacing gravel from the shady bed with gravel from a sunny bed. Because the stones dry well in the sun and the rain washes the stones clean by themselves. To do this, fill the gravel in a bucket, replace it with a clean bed or store it to be able to use it again later. The more thorough you are here, the quicker your gravel surfaces will be clean.

tip: Alternatively, you can treat the gravel surface with cleaning products from specific manufacturers that specialize in gravel and stones. You must apply these according to the manufacturer's instructions in order to achieve the greatest success with them.

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