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How to Clean Concrete: Expert Tips

Concrete is a common material used in many homes. It’s sturdy and long-lasting, but like anything else, it needs some care. As a homeowner, it’s important to know how to maintain your concrete surfaces. In this guide, we’ll share some expert tips on how to clean concrete. By following these simple steps, you can keep your concrete looking good and ensure it lasts a long time. So, let’s get started and learn how to clean your concrete the right way.

How to Clean Concrete Flooring the Right Way

You might be wondering what the best cleaner for concrete is. Well, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. The choice of cleaner and the method you use can vary based on the type of finish your concrete has.

Let’s keep it simple. Cleaning concrete is easy, but the approach depends on the concrete’s finish. Below, you’ll find the various ways to clean concrete floors based on their materials.

Unsealed Concrete Floors

When you have unsealed concrete floors, that means they haven’t been treated or had any extra coatings added. These floors, mainly used outdoors, can get stained easily because they’re kind of like sponges.

Here’s how to clean these unsealed concrete floors:

  1. Start by getting rid of any dust, dirt, or debris on the concrete. You can vacuum it or simply sweep it away.
  2. Next, wet the concrete with a garden hose. Then, mix a solution of trisodium (which is just a kind of cleaning stuff) with water. Use a tough-bristled broom to scrub this solution onto the concrete. If you’ve got one, you can also use a pressure washer to do this step.
  3. Rinse the concrete floor with water to wash away the cleaning solution.
  4. Now, just let the surface dry completely.

Once it’s dry, you can deal with any stains that might be on the surface. Different kinds of stains need different methods to remove them. You’ll find more information about stain removal further down in this article.

Sealed Concrete Floors

Sealed concrete floors are different. They’ve got coatings like epoxies, acrylic resins, urethanes, or penetrating silicates. These coatings make the surface smooth and less likely to get stained. That’s good news because cleaning sealed concrete is pretty simple.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Begin by getting rid of any dust, dirt, or debris on the concrete. You can use a vacuum or just sweep it away.
  2. Now, mix up a cleaning solution. Take two gallons of warm water and add 2 teaspoons of dishwashing detergent. Make sure it’s a mild detergent to keep the sealant safe.
  3. Mop the floor with the liquid dishwashing solution. It’s your cleaning buddy.
  4. If there’s any leftover residue, scrub the floor with clean water to get rid of it.
  5. Let the surface dry all the way.

If, over time or due to tough chemicals, the sealant starts looking dull, you can ask the person who installed your concrete floor to reseal it for you.

Polished Concrete Floors

Owners can pick the level of shine they want for their concrete floors. You can even change the look to resemble granite or marble. The cool thing is, this type of flooring doesn’t need re-coating or waxing.

Here’s how you can clean polished concrete floors:

  1. Start by getting rid of dust and dirt on the concrete. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a dust mop to do this.
  2. Use a specialized polished concrete cleaner that you can buy at a store. Make sure it says “pH-neutral” on the label.
  3. Check the instructions on the cleaner to see if you need to rinse it with water afterward. You’ll find these instructions on the back of the cleaner bottle.

Stained Concrete Floors

When you stain concrete floors, you give them a permanent color. After that, you can decide whether to seal them or leave them as they are.

Here’s how to clean stained concrete floors:

  1. Use a damp mop or a dust mop to clean the stained concrete.
  2. Mix a pH-neutral cleaner with water and mop the surface.
  3. To keep that great look, apply a sealer or a wax coat from time to time.

Painted Concrete Floors

If you’ve got paintable concrete, it’s also sealable. Cleaning it is quite similar to stained concrete, but you need a gentle cleaner.

Here’s how to clean painted concrete floors:

  1. Start by getting rid of any dust or dirt on the concrete. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a dust mop.
  2. Mix up some warm water with a non-abrasive multi-purpose cleaner.
  3. Lightly dampen a microfiber mop with the cleaning solution and use it to mop the floor.
  4. Be cautious because too much moisture can make the paint peel off.
  5. If there’s any leftover residue, scrub the floor with clean water.
  6. Let the paint surface dry completely.

Stamped Concrete Floors

Stamped concrete is pretty cool because it can look like stone, brick, or even wood. It’s often stained, but you can also choose to seal it or keep it unfinished for extra durability. Some folks call it textured or imprinted concrete.

Here’s how to clean stamped concrete flooring:

  1. Start by getting rid of any dust, dirt, or debris on the concrete. You can vacuum it, sweep it, or use a mop if you’re indoors.
  2. If you’re outside, wet the concrete using a pressure washer or a garden hose. If you’re inside, a bucket and a mop will do the trick.
  3. Take a push brush and gently scrub the area with a bit of dishwashing detergent.
  4. Rinse the concrete floor with water to remove any residue.
  5. Allow the surface to dry completely.


How to Clean Concrete Floors Outdoors

The top way to clean concrete floors outside is with a pressure washer. Concrete is tougher than vinyl or tile, and it can handle a lot of pressure.

You might wonder, “How do I clean concrete without a pressure washer?” Pressure washers are faster and more effective because they can quickly get rid of dirt and stains. However, if you don’t have one or don’t want to use it, you can still clean exterior concrete just like you would indoors.

How to Clean Concrete Patio

You’ve got a few choices when it comes to cleaning concrete patios. Can you use bleach? Sure, for mildly dirty patios, mix bleach, water, and a bit of dishwashing soap. It works well.

What about white vinegar? It’s another option, even for heavily stained concrete. You can use equal parts of vinegar and water, or go with full-strength vinegar. It’s eco-friendly, too.

Here’s how to clean concrete patios:

  1. First, clear the patio of furniture, plants, and other stuff.
  2. Protect any nearby flowerbeds or plants with a tarp.
  3. Get rid of dirt, dust, and debris by sweeping it all away.
  4. If there are weeds in between the cracks or at the edges, pull them out.
  5. Use a stiff nylon brush to scrub the surface with a concrete cleaner. You can use a store-bought one or make your own.
  6. Rinse off any leftover residue with a garden hose or a pressure washer.
  7. Let the surface dry completely.
  8. Finish it off by applying a sealant.

How to Clean Concrete Driveway

If you’re wondering, “What can I use to clean my driveway?” the answer is homemade vinegar or bleach. You can also use a trisodium-phosphate solution mixed with water, but it’s harsher on the environment and highly toxic. Be sure to wear the right protective gear if you’re working with muriatic acid.

Here’s how to clean your concrete driveways:

  1. Start by sweeping away any dirt, dust, and debris.
  2. Use a stiff nylon brush to scrub the surface with a concrete cleaner, whether you buy it or make it at home.
  3. You can also use a pressure washer to apply the cleaner and let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Rinse off any leftover residue with a garden hose or pressure washer.
  5. Allow the driveway to dry completely.
How to Clean Concrete

How to Remove Stains From Concrete

Removing stains from concrete depends on the type of stain. For food stains, dishwashing fluid usually does the trick, while tire marks may need something stronger.

Oil and Grease Stains

  • For fresh grease or oil stains, spread a layer of dry kitty litter or cornstarch on the stain. Wait for at least 3 days to let them absorb the oil, then vacuum or sweep it away. Repeat if needed.
  • For older grease stains, use a strong detergent or a concrete degreaser for better results.

Tire Marks

  • Wet the stained area with a pressure washer or a garden hose.
  • Apply a concrete cleaner and let it sit for four hours.
  • Scrub with a stiff brush and rinse off any residue with water. Let it dry.

Mildew Stains

  • If you have mildew, use Trisodium Phosphate. Mix it with powdered detergent and water.
  • Apply the mixture to the stain and scrub with a stiff brush. For stubborn mildew, you might need a mix of water and chlorine bleach.

Rust Stains

  • For light rust stains, apply distilled white vinegar and leave it for 30 minutes. Then scrub and rinse.
  • For heavy rust stains, go for a commercial rust remover with oxalic acid.

Food and Beverage Stains

  • Make a solution with water and dishwashing soap to remove food or drink stains.
  • Scrub it with a stiff brush and rinse the area with clean water to remove any soap residue.

The Right Maintenance Goes a Long Way With Cesar’s Concrete

Proper maintenance is essential for keeping your concrete in top shape. When it comes to concrete repair and maintenance, knowing how to clean and care for your concrete is vital to protect your investment. If you prefer to leave the work to the experts, you can contact Cesar’s Concrete to learn more about our concrete repair services.

Contact us to learn about the options you have and get a no-obligation quote.

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