Concrete is a material commonly used in various forms, from sidewalks and patios to basement floors. This durable surface gets harder with age and needs periodic cleaning to enhance its beauty. Learn how to clean concrete using a variety of cleaning solutions and a little elbow grease.
Concrete floors accumulate dirt gradually, making it difficult to tell that they are filthy and need cleaning, but don’t let that fool you. After the concrete is clean and you step back to admire your handy work, you’ll be surprised at how fresh and clean your concrete patio or garage floor looks.
While concrete is a long-lasting surface, it still needs regular cleaning and maintenance. Concrete is generally in areas that tend to accumulate more dirt and grime than others, such as outside or in the garage and basement. Regular cleaning using the right technique prevents damage and keeps a concrete surface looking like new.
- Ways to Clean Concrete
Ways to Clean Concrete
There are several ways to clean a concrete surface to remove dirt, oil stains, mildew, and other tough stains. They range from simple and routine to heavy-duty. We’ll show you how to use the right concrete cleaner and cleaning solution for the job.
Routine Concrete Cleaning
Regular cleaning of the concrete, whether it is outside or inside your home, is an essential step to ensuring that the surface remains clean and stands the test of time. Perform regular sweeping to remove debris and spot cleaning to remove stains before they set.
For cleaning outside concrete, use a leaf blower to clean up leaves, pine needles, and other large debris. Follow this by cleaning the area with a push broom to brush away small particles of dirt and sand. To remove minor stains from outdoor concrete, spray the area with water and sprinkle a layer of OxiClean on the stain.
Use a scrub brush to scour the stain away and finish by rinsing away the residue with a garden hose. Use a hard bristle broom for sweeping concrete inside the home such as the basement or garage.
To remove stains from interior concrete, make a cleaning solution by mixing hydrogen peroxide and flour into a paste-like substance. Apply the flour paste to the stain and let it sit overnight. Scrub the dried cleaner away using a scrub brush and rinse with a wet cloth.
How to Clean Concrete in the Basement
One of the simplest ways to clean concrete is to use a degreaser such as laundry detergent. This homemade concrete cleaner mixture cleans away dirt, grime, and stains. Use it to remove black mold from concrete as well.
Combine the water and laundry detergent in a bucket and stir well. Dunk a hard bristle scrub brush into the soapy solution and use it to scour the dirty areas on the basement concrete using circular motions. Rinse and dunk the brush while cleaning the area to prevent spreading the dirt.
If your basement has a drain, use a water hose to rinse the area thoroughly. If you do not have a basement drain, wet towels with clean water and wipe the soapy residue away. Allow the concrete to air dry by opening windows and plugging in fans.
This mixture can also be helpful for removing thinset from tile but be careful not to apply too much pressure to keep from damaging the tile.
Cleaning Concrete Grease and Stains in the Garage
Cleaning concrete in the garage is essential to prevent tracking dirt and grease stains to the carpeting in your car or into your home. Alkaline degreasers are an excellent tool for removing oily stains from the concrete and are sold at many hardware stores.
For the most effective way to get grease out of concrete, a little pre-treatment is necessary. Before using a cleaner, pour kitty litter on any grease or oil stains and let it rest for approximately half an hour while it absorbs excess oil.
Sweep up the litter and discard it properly. Pour water into a bucket and add the alkaline degreaser by following the label instructions.
Put on protective wear such as gloves and goggles. Use the brush and cleaning solution to scrub away grease, oil, and other tough stains. Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water. Large or stubborn stains may need another treatment to completely remove the blemish.
How to Remove Graffiti from a Concrete Sidewalk
A feeling of frustration is perfectly normal after discovering graffiti spray-painted onto the surface of your front sidewalk. While it does take some time to clean, it is possible to remove paint off of concrete using the right ingredients.
To remove paint from concrete, combine the trisodium phosphate and water in a bucket and stir until it dissolves. Dunk a scrub brush into the solution and use it to scrub at the stained area of concrete. Let the area dry completely before moving to the next step.
Apply paint thinner or paint stripper to the paint stain and let it sit overnight. Use the scrub brush to scour away loosened paint. Rinse the sidewalk with water and repeat if necessary.
Removing Rust Stains from Concrete
The best rust remover for concrete is oxalic acid. Professional cleaners commonly use it for removing rust stains, but you can use a DIY concrete cleaning solution with white vinegar. For tough stains, try cleaning the concrete with an acid wash using muriatic acid and water.
Fill a bottle sprayer with white vinegar and spray it directly on to the rust stain. Let the area sit for ten minutes before scrubbing it with a hard bristle brush. Scrub the area clean using circular motions.
Spray the concrete clean with water and allow it to dry. Inspect the area to make sure that the stain is gone. If it persists, spray the stain again and sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the top. Allow it to bubble for ten minutes before scrubbing and rinsing with clean water.
How to Clean a Concrete Countertop
Concrete countertops give kitchen and bathrooms a fresh, modern look, but only if they are kept clean. Cleaning natural stone surfaces such as concrete take special care to prevent damage to the surface. This simple cleaning recipe is a great way to clean a countertop before applying a concrete sealer.
Consult your manufacturer’s instructions before applying a cleaner to prevent voiding the warranty. Combine warm water and liquid dish detergent in a small bowl or container and mix. Apply the soapy water to the countertop with a soft sponge to prevent scratching.
Use full circular motions to polish away dirt, making sure to clean any grout lines along the way. Rinse the sponge thoroughly with clean water and give the counter a final rinsing. Allow the area to dry completely, and apply wax or sealer to provide the countertop with more protection.
You can also try this remedy for removing oil stains from driveway areas before resorting to harsher methods. Soap and water are often enough to eliminate small grease spots.
Pressure Washing Outdoor Concrete
Regular cleaning of outside concrete not only lengthens the lifespan of concrete but keeps your home looking clean and inviting. Using a pressure washer to clean concrete turns hard work into an easy job.
Begin by removing anything from the vicinity of the concrete, including vehicles, potted plants, and outdoor furniture. Cover unmovable plants, outlets, and walls with sheets of plastic to prevent accidental damage. Sweep the area with a push broom to make cleaning easier and less messy.
Choose a pressure washer with a PSI rating of at least 3,000. Attach the nozzle and spray arm attachments to the machine and connect it to a spigot with a water hose. Make sure to wear shoes, long pants, and other protective gear such as safety glasses and gloves.
Before turning on the washer, rotate the spigot valve clockwise and squeeze the trigger handle for 30 seconds to release air. Hold the washer wand pointing away from you and flip the on switch near the tank. Get yourself positioned and squeeze the trigger.
Start at the upper section of concrete and work your way down by moving from section-to-section. Use a sweeping motion to power wash dirt and debris away from the cleaned portions of concrete.
If hard-pressure water doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, add one of the pressure washer soap recipes to the soap reservoir to add a little extra cleaning power.
A pressure washer works quite well to remove moss from concrete, too. For a more permanent solution, some vinegar or bleach added to the sprayer will keep your concrete nice and clean.
Removing Chewing Gum from Concrete
If you have a concrete sidewalk in front of your home or a concrete patio, there is a pretty good chance that you also have spots of chewed-up gum. This sticky and gross substance is easy to remove if you use the right steps.
Rub the surface of the chewing gum with an ice cube to harden it, and then use a paint scraper or putty knife to scrape away as much gunk as possible. Pour denatured alcohol directly onto the remains of the gum and let it sit for about five minutes before scouring the area with the putty knife again.
Pour the water and soap into a small bowl and mix well. Dip a stiff brush into the cleaning solution and use it for scrubbing away chewing gum remains. Rinse the area with a garden hose.
You may also find that this simple solution works as a way to remove adhesive from concrete, too.
Cleaning a concrete garage floor or patio is relatively easy once you understand the right techniques and cleaning solutions to use. Grab a push broom, scrub brush, and a little bit of bleach or pull out the power washer.
Transform your concrete from tired and dreary to fresh and clean by performing routine cleaning to remove rust stains, mold, and other stubborn stains.
Now that you learned how to clean concrete to remove rust, mildew, and tough stains, why not share these concrete cleaning tips with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook?