Our Top Concrete Cleaning Tips

September 1, 2021

When your patio, driveway or sidewalk is looking less than pristine, it’s time to give it a good scrub. With the right tools and techniques, you can clean off stubborn stains and restore your concrete to a like-new appearance. Here’s how to master concrete maintenance for cleaner pavement.

Preparing the patio

Before you get started, you should prepare your patio. Move all patio furniture, cars, bikes and other objects off the pavement you want to clean. Use a basic broom or push broom to sweep up debris, dirt and leaves from your pavement.

Depending on what kind of shape your concrete is in, concrete cleaning might not involve much more than rinsing and scrubbing the patio. However, concrete can stain. As you’re sweeping, look for trouble spots and note what kind of stains they are. This will tell you what kind of supplies you’ll need for stain removal.

Removing stains

When you have stained concrete, you’ll need to attack the stain based on what created it. Here are some of the most common stains and how to get rid of them:

  • Rust: Rust stains occur when you leave metal objects out on the concrete. When iron meets air and moisture, rust can form. This leaves reddish-brown stains on the pavement. The best way to remove these stains is also a natural, safe way: lemon juice and/or vinegar. Pour vinegar or lemon juice (or a 1:1 mixture of the two, for particularly stubborn stains) over the stain and let it soak for 10 to 20 minutes. Using a stiff-bristled brush, scrub the stain clean and rinse it with water. If that concrete cleaning method doesn’t work, make a 1:1 paste of baking soda and laundry detergent, then repeat the process.
  • Mold or mildew: Mold and mildew stains can be incredibly stubborn, which means it might be best to rent a pressure washer. The high-powered stream from a pressure washer removes debris and stains with very little elbow grease. If a pressure washer isn’t in the cards, mix bleach and water in a bucket, then scrub the stain with your stiff-bristled brush. Keep in mind that bleach will kill plants, so be very careful in how you apply and rinse away the mixture.
  • Oil and grease: Oil and grease stains can be partially soaked up with kitty litter or baking soda. Pour the litter or baking soda over the stain and let it soak up the oil for about a half an hour. Remove it by sweeping it into a dustpan. Then use dish soap and water (along with your brush) to break up the grease and remove it from the concrete.

If all else fails, you can try commercial degreasers, rust removers and mold and mildew killers.

Basic concrete cleaning

Once you’ve taken care of the stains, use liquid dish soap and water to scrub away light soiling. Rinse with clean water, and enjoy your freshly cleaned patio.

For concrete pouring and maintenance tips, reach out to the team at Langenfeld Masonry & Concrete today.

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