Homeowners love to clean their cars meticulously and even wax them. However, when it comes to the concrete their vehicles are parked on, cleaning is usually relegated to a half-hearted sweep with a broom.
Concrete stains and grime can quickly become embedded into the surface, giving a dull, dingy appearance to what was once a beautiful driveway or concrete patio. But if you’re ready to clean your dirty concrete, there are a couple of things to know before you attempt to do so:
Determine Your Concrete Finish
You’ll first need to identify what kind of finish your concrete has, as each requires a slightly different approach to make it as clean as possible.
Sealed or waxed concrete should be cleaned with a ph-neutral cleaner not to strip the seal and damage the finish. Avoid using acidic cleaning agents such as vinegar, ammonia or bleach. In contrast, an unfinished concrete floor can handle most cleaning products without the risk of harming the surface.
If you are unsure, it is best to consult a concrete contractor to help you identify it properly, and therfore ensure you are able to clean your concrete floors properly.
How to Clean Sealed Concrete
Sealed concrete floors are nonporous, meaning that liquids such as water and stains will not absorb into the floor but instead remain on top. While this makes it easy to clean, ensure you have these tools on hand before you begin:
Tools & Supplies
- Dish soap
- Bucket of water
- Vacuum with a Brush attachment
- Microfiber Dust Mop
Begin by removing significant bits of dirt and debris with a vacuum cleaner or microfiber dust mop. A broom will also suffice, but a vacuum cleaner and microfiber dust mop are more efficient. Just ensure your vacuum cleaner has a brush attachment.
Pour two gallons of warm water into your bucket and add a couple of teaspoons of dish soap. Mix well until the water becomes sudsy, and submerge your mop.
Wring your mop and wipe down the concrete to remove all dust, hair, dirt and grime. Do not let the mop become too wet, as moisture on your floor should be kept to a minimum.
Maintain your concrete cleaning schedule by doing a general sweep each week, followed by spot cleaning to remove any stains.
How to Clean Unsealed Concrete
As mentioned prior, most people tend to overlook their outdoor concrete when it comes to cleaning, whether it’d be their patio, driveway or porch. Unsealed concrete, meaning no sealant or wax applied to your flooring, can be cleaned with regular household products such as dish soap, vinegar or bleach.
Tools & Supplies
- Safety Goggles, Gloves and Earmuffs
- Pressure washer or Garden hose
- Stiff Bristled brush
- Trisodium phosphate
- Leaf blower
Using your stiff brush, sweep the area of dirt, dust and soil. Break up larger chunks of dirt with your broom bristles and use a leaf blower to blow away smaller pieces of debris.
Mix trisodium phosphate with water in your pressure washer to spray and clean your concrete. The standard ratio is approximately 1/2 cup of trisodium phosphate to one gallon of water for regular cleaning, but your driveway’s size will determine this. Before spraying your concrete, always wear your safety gear, including gloves and glasses.
If you don’t have a pressure washer, spray your concrete floor with a garden hose and use a stiff-bristled broom to spread around your trisodium phosphate. Scrub with a nylon brush to remove tough mildew stains, and wash concrete again with your hose. If your water pressure is low, use a high-pressure nozzle for added pressure from the water.
Natural Alternatives for Concrete Cleaning
If harsh chemicals are not your cup of tea, some natural alternatives work well as a concrete cleaner.
A white vinegar and water solution with a pinch of salt is a practical, concrete floor cleaner. Vinegar is also highly effective against rust stains and will brighten your concrete’s colour by removing any stains or discolourations. Spray your cleaning solution onto your stains and scrub with a nylon brush for clean exterior concrete.
Another excellent cleaning alternative is to combine vinegar and baking soda with one part of lukewarm water. You can also include a tiny bit of liquid dish detergent to ensure a thorough cleaning. Spray concrete stains and let them soak for 30 minutes. Conclude by scrubbing stains with a nylon brush and rinse.
How to Clean concrete using Other Products
Sodas that contain citric acid, phosphoric acid, and carbonic acid are excellent cleaning agents for unsealed concrete. This is because they help to break down and dissolve grime and grease stains, removing them from your concrete floor.
You may have seen DIY videos on YouTube implementing Coke to clean stains off different types of materials. But if you haven’t, follow these instructions:
1) First, pour the soda onto the stained area that requires cleaning.
2) Let it soak onto the surface for 15-30 minutes as this will help the soda dissolve the stains by itself.
3) Use a scrub brush or mop with water to scrub away the stains and rinse with water.
Concrete Cleaner or Degreaser
For concrete stains made fairly recently, you can try using a degreaser or cleaner. A degreaser is often used to loosen grease stains, tar, glue, and other stains from concrete. Once softened, you can easily wipe the stained areas with a clean cloth. Just be sure to wear your safety gear when dealing with commercial products.
When a large surface area requires a good cleaning, bleaching concrete is a viable solution.
Before you start, it’s best to avoid mixing bleaching agents with different types of house cleaners. Mixing cleaners and detergents can result in skin and surface damage. Even if you’re wearing the correct type of protective gloves, fumes from the chemical reaction of mixing bleach with different cleaners can cause adverse effects.
To bleach stains and clean concrete floors, follow these simple steps:
1) Fill a bucket with water and add 3/4 of a cup of liquid bleach
2) Mop your solution onto your concrete flooring and let it soak for a few minutes.
3) Rinse the area with clean water and air dry to conclude.
Is there a Best Way to Clean Concrete?
Not satisfied with the effects of homemade solutions? Instead, you can invest in specialised concrete cleaning products, which are available at most hardware stores.
If you’re looking into purchasing a concrete cleaner, go with one that has scrubbing agents to help remove the stains. Also, make sure that all of your equipment is compatible with the product you’re using on your concrete flooring.
CalibreCleaning – A Professional Cleaning Provider in Australia
In addition to your home’s exterior, it can be easy to neglect your home’s interior.
If you’re looking for reliable options to clean your house, look no further than CalibreCleaning. We provide professional services for house cleaning in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. We also offer End of lease or bond cleaning in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Our staff is trained to use high-quality equipment and cleaning products to ensure that your home is left spotless after every visit.
Contact us today at 1300 991 368 for a free quote!
Want to learn more on cleaning your other aspects in your home? Read our oven rack cleaning guide to learn the best practices, tools and products for cleaning your oven racks and other kitchen essentials. Planning a big spring clean? Here’s a Spring Cleaning Guide you might find useful.