How To Clean Fertilizer Stains off Pavers (Easy Guide)

Surprisingly, cleaning fertilizer stains from paving stones is extremely difficult. The chemicals used in synthetic fertilizers can quickly stain your pavers or concrete causing them to become discolored. Luckily, there is a way to remove the mess and restore your pavers. 

How to clean fertilizer stains from your pavers in 8 easy steps:

  1. Sweep pavers to remove debris
  2. Spray pavers to remove fertilizer
  3. Apply an acid to your pavers
  4. Reapply and scrub the stains
  5. Spray mixture off with a power washer
  6. Flip pavers over for stubborn stains
  7. Take preventive measures

In the rest of this article, I will discuss how to remove stubborn fertilizer stains from your pavers. So, if you want to learn more about cleaning off fertilizer from pavers, read on. 

1. Sweep Pavers To Remove Debris

First, you should grab a broom and sweep your pavers. Doing so will help get rid of any dirt or random outdoor debris. You want to complete this step first so that you aren’t scrubbing a bunch of dirt into your pavers as you work. Plus, you will better understand just how bad the fertilizer stains are. 

You don’t have to do a super thorough job; simply sweep the pavers off to the best of your ability. This step isn’t crucial, but I find it helps make the cleaning process go more smoothly. 

2. Spray Pavers To Remove Fertilizer

The second step you should take is spraying off your pavers. Sweeping will get most things, but you will still notice a lot of dirt, grime, and fertilizer in the porous surface of your pavers. You can do this with a hose or a spray nozzle attachment. 

Again, this doesn’t need to be perfect. A quick rinse should do the trick, and you will be ready to start the scrubbing portion of the cleaning process. 

3. Apply an Acid to Your Pavers

Next, you will need to apply an acid mixture to your pavers. Fertilizer stains are tough to remove, so you will need to use some acid to get them up. Luckily, there are a few different acid options, two of which you probably already have in your home. So let’s go over each of these and how to use them. 

Lemon Juice Paver Cleaner

First, I want to talk about using lemon juice. This method is one of the most recommended removers of fertilizer. Lemons are highly acidic foods; their juice can get into the porous surface of bricks and eat away leftover fertilizer. 

It will still require a lot of scrubbing, but it does a good job. Plus, it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. So how exactly do you make this cleaner?

You will need:

  • Lemons or lemon juice
  • A cup or container
  • Water

How to make a lemon juice paver cleaner:

  1. Take fresh or bottled lemon juice and place it in a container. How much lemon juice you need will vary based on the size of the fertilizer stain you wish to clean. 
  2. Dilute the mixture with water. You can add a few tablespoons of water to dilute the mixture. However, adding the lemon juice directly to the stain won’t hurt your pavers. 
  3. Apply the lemon juice to your fertilizer stain. You can pour the liquid onto the pavers and then allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes. Doing so will give it time to soak in and start working. 

So as you can see, this is one of the simplest cleaning mixtures to get paver stains up. However, it’s important to note that you may have to apply this mixture multiple times to eradicate the fertilizer stains on your pavers fully. 

Vinegar Paver Cleaner

The next most popular choice is to use a vinegar paver cleaner. Vinegar is another ingredient you likely have lying around your home, and due to its acidic makeup, it makes a perfect cleaner. Since vinegar is, in a sense, an acid, it will do a great job of eating away stubborn fertilizer stains from your pavers. So let’s learn precisely how to make it. 

What you will need:

  • Vinegar (apple cider and white vinegar are best) 
  • A cup or container
  • Water

How to make vinegar paver cleaner:

  1. Mix one part vinegar with one part water. Make as much as you think you will need to cover the stain. It will likely need to be applied multiple times to remove the fertilizer discoloration entirely. 
  2. Apply the mixture and allow it to sit. It will take time for the vinegar to soak in and begin doing its job. 5-10 minutes should suffice. You will then need to scrub the pavers and repeat the process. 

If you want to go one step further, add a little lemon juice to your vinegar mixture. Doing so can increase acidity and aid in cleaning up stubborn fertilizer stains. 

Rust Remover for Fertilizer Stained Pavers

Finally, if your pavers seem to have more of an orange tint to their stain, you will likely need to purchase a rust remover. Using the other cleaning methods can help reduce the appearance of the stains, but you will probably still have some staining. 

So I recommend acquiring a heavy-duty rust remover like Singerman Laboratories Rust Remover for Concrete (available on This cleaner is great because it’s a gel you mix with water to activate and clean. Plus, it’s not harmful to any plants and is not flammable. 

However, you can use any rust remover you like. Just be sure you get one that works and will not kill your lawn or surrounding foliage. 

4. Reapply and Scrub the Stains

Once you have selected your cleaning mixture and applied it to the stains, it’s time to scrub and reapply. I cannot stress enough how difficult fertilizer stains tend to be, so it’s essential to understand that removing them is a process. 

It’s good to emotionally prepare yourself because you must apply your cleaner and scrub at the stains multiple times. Cleaning your pavers using a rough bristle brush is best since it can quickly get into the tiny holes and cracks in the stones. 

Also, while cleaning fertilizer off your pavers, you should wear gloves and a face mask. Fertilizer contains toxic chemicals that you could be stirring into the air and should not be breathing. So be safe whenever you are cleaning up fertilizer stains.

5. Spray Mixture Off With a Power Washer

Once you have successfully cleaned your pavers with your acid cleaning mixture, it’s time to wash them back off. A power washer is a great way to get them extra clean, but you can also use a hose. Washing off the stones ensures you eradicate the acids and fertilizers.

6. Flip Pavers Over for Stubborn Stains 

If you have tried everything and the fertilizer stains persist, you can always flip the pavers over. This method will hide the stains, though it can be a lot of work. If you opt to flip them, just be careful not to spill any more fertilizer on them in the future. Otherwise, you might have to replace them or just live with stained pavers. 

7. Take Preventive Measures Against Future Stains

Finally, the best way to remove fertilizer stains from your pavers is not to stain them in the first place. That’s easier said than done, but there are a few methods you can try to prevent future staining. 

A great way to avoid future stains is to switch to organic fertilizers or cover your pavers when working with messy fertilizers. You should also react quickly if you spill any and do your best to wash it off your pavers immediately. 

Final Thoughts 

Ultimately, cleaning fertilizer off of pavers is difficult. However, it’s possible with a bit of elbow grease. It will take some time to scrub your pavers thoroughly, and some fertilizer stains simply won’t give. In those cases, flipping them over might be a good option. However, you will want to be careful to prevent any more fertilizer stains. 

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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