Decorative stones can be a great addition to your yard, but over time they get covered in dirt, leaves, grass and pine needles. Fortunately, they can always be restored to their original look with your own hands! Fine stones should be sifted through a sieve to get all the dirt to fall off. Coarse stones can be washed with a stiff brush or power washer to remove indelible dirt. If the stones are very dirty, try soaking them in a mild acidic solution and then putting them back in the garden or yard again after a while!
Cut a piece of metal mesh if you need to clean a small area. The easiest way to clean decorative stones is to sift through a 13 millimeter mesh mesh. The mesh of such a mesh has a size of 13 by 13 mm, so that the stones will remain on the surface of the sieve, and the dirt and debris will be sifted through the mesh. A piece of 60 x 60 centimeters netting will do the job. If your stones are smaller than this size, you can use a mesh size of 6.5 millimeters.
Make a frame for the grid out of wood for large volumes. Use some 5 x 10 centimetre boards (if you have some on hand) to make a rectangular frame which is at least 0.35 square metre in size. The grid should be cut to the size of the frame and fixed to the wood with strong staples. A sieve can be made of any size. This article suggests a minimum suitable size (0.35 square meters), but the area can be much larger. In some cases, it will be necessary to install wooden stiffeners across the grid under the frame to prevent the stones from pushing through the grid.
Lay out a tarp to keep the yard clear of debris. If you want to quickly collect the dirt after cleaning the stones, spread a large piece of tarp on the ground under the sieve. After the job is done, you can simply lift the tarp and pour the debris into the bucket. You can also set the sieve on top of a large trash can right away. Use a shovel to pour rocks into the sieve. When everything is ready to work, start on one side of the area with stones. Pick up the rocks with the shovel and pour them into the sieve. Take care not to overload the sieve. Don't fill the shovel with rocks or you'll only add to your work.
Shake the sieve with your hands or move the stones with a rake. If you have a small sieve, you can shake it from side to side to get the dirt out of the stones. In the case of a large sieve, use a rake to move the stones across the sieve to clean a large area. The dirt and debris will immediately begin to sift through the sieve. If weeds, brushwood, clippings, or other debris do not sift through the mesh, you should remove them by hand.
Stack clean stones in a separate pile or return them to their place. There are 2 basic approaches: you can return clean stones immediately or put them in a separate pile to spread around the site later.
The first option may be a little faster, but you run the risk of sifting through some stones more than once.
You can also work in small sections, putting the stones back in place and then moving on to the next section. Experiment to find the best option.
Clean the entire area with decorative stones. Divide the area into sections or move around the perimeter and then to the center. The cleared sections will be noticeable even if you put the stones in place right away because they will have a neater look and are not stacked as tightly as the rest of the area.
If the area is too large to handle in one day, try sifting through one section of the area a day until the job is complete. Sweep or shovel dirt under the sieve. After the job is done, or when a large amount of debris has accumulated, pick it up with a broom, shovel, or just lift the tarp. The dirt can be poured onto the compost pile or thrown away. If you've been putting clean rocks in a separate pile, you can even dump the earth back onto the property and place the rocks on top of it.
Scrub the stones with a brush to remove any light dirt. It doesn't hurt to brush the stones vigorously with a stiff brush before rinsing. Carefully sweep the surface of each stone from edge to edge.
This will separate the dried dirt and earth from the stone, making it easier to clean.
Try to carefully sweep not only flat stones like paving stones, but also rounded and irregularly shaped stones with cracks.
Use water and a brush if the stones are not too dirty. If deep cleaning is not required, you can do it quickly. Wet the stones with water from a garden hose and scrub diligently with a stiff brush. Finally, rinse again with clean water.
A sprayer or sprinkler on the end of the hose will make it easier for you.
If the stones are very dirty, you may need a washer to clean them.