How Can I Wash Pea Gravel?

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Pea gravel is great for walkways and cart paths. It can be used on almost area that needs cover and doesn't receive heavy vehicle traffic. It comes in a variety of colors and can be purchased in a single color of stone for decorative landscape uses. Cleaning pea gravel to get a pure color is not a complicated process. You need a method to run water over the gravel and something to strain the stones to keep them from washing away.

Washing Small to Medium Quantities

Rinse small amounts of pea gravel in a kitchen colander. Use a spray bottle filled with diluted Pinesol or other mild household cleaner. Fill the colander with dirty gravel and spray the cleaner over the pebbles generously. Mix the gravel around to get the cleaner on all surfaces and allow to sit for one to two minutes.

Run warm water through the gravel to rinse away the dirt. The gravel and any larger debris will be caught in the colander while the dirt, carrying the bulk of the dirt with it, will wash away.

Use an empty five-gallon bucket to wash larger quantities. With a 1/8-inch bit drill holes in the bottom and lower sides of the bucket for the same effect. Load the bucket with gravel and set it in the bathtub or shower. You may want to spray the cleaner on the gravel as it is being loaded. Fill the bucket a few inches, spray with cleaner, repeat the process until the bucket is full. You can also purchase Simple Green Stone Cleaner from leading retailers. It is safe and designed for cleaning stone and tile floors and counters.

Rinse the gravel in the five-gallon bucket a little longer to make sure you are getting the grime off. Try mixing the stones a bit as you rinse, the friction between them has a polishing effect. Repeat the process if you feel the gravel is not clean enough.

If you are using a green friendly cleaner (biodegradable and safe for animals) rinse the bucket with the garden hose on your driveway or patio. Add a high pressure hose nozzle for even more cleaning power.

Larger Quantities

For large quantities build a frame of 4-by-4 posts on your driveway, or patio. Use four 8-foot posts to make an 8-by-8 frame. There should be no need for any screws or nails as the weight and flat sides of the post will hold them in place. Drape a sheet of landscape fabric over the entire area. Landscape fabric is used to prevent weeds from growing up in flower beds and can be purchased at home and garden centers. It typically comes in a roll. If possible, buy a piece at least 10 by 10 to make draping easy.

With a wheel barrow transport and dump the gravel into the frame. Use a garden rake to spread it out evenly. You can use a pump style garden sprayer or hose end sprayer to apply the cleaner. Make sure it is environmentally friendly. Having beautiful gravel surrounding dead roses is not the goal. Allow the gravel to dry before placing it where you want it, to avoid re-soiling.


Mark Morris

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.