Concrete is known to be a sturdy and durable material for indoor or outdoor structures for both residential and commercial areas. It is known to be resistant to various factors, however, it is impervious when it comes to stains due to its porosity that tends to soak up dirt easily.
No wonder that its durability and associated low maintenance it is the popular option for material when it comes to floors, patios, and driveways. Though it is durable, this does not mean that it can withstand stains and dirt, since it also needs proper maintenance and thorough cleaning now and then.
Cleaning concrete regularly will prolong and extend its life and also a key in enhancing its appearance. It may seem difficult to determine whether concrete needs to be cleaned as accumulating grime and dirt is natural, however, depending on the type of surface, whether for flooring, countertops, and even outdoor slabs, cleaning concrete can be determined. Also, keep in mind that various surfaces may require a different method of cleaning.
Before starting the cleaning process, make sure that the following materials used for cleaning are ready beforehand:
- Blower, Broom, or Vacuum
- Stiff Nylon Brush
- Spray Bottle
- White Vinegar
- Baking Soda
- Laundry Detergent
- Safety Goggles
- Pressure Washer
4-Step Step-by-Step Guide for the Cleaning of Concrete
Once all the materials are ready, keep in mind the following process to undertake during concrete cleaning:
Step 1: Clean Up Debris or Dirt
First off, start by clearing out any concrete surface from any debris or dirt. Remove it either by sweeping or vacuuming it off. Take note that concrete floors with mold or mildew-infested cannot be applied with the same approach.
For instances that the concrete floors are suffering from mold issues especially on basements, do not sweep the area as this will only worsen the situation by dispersing the mold spored all over the place. Instead, open any windows while cleaning to allow fresh air to flow. Scrub the area with a brush and a mold-killing detergent solution and water. If discoloration will not be an issue, a combination of bleach and water can be used instead. Rinse with a clean wet mop and when the area is totally dry, check whether there is a need to repeat the process.
For concrete floors in the driveway and patio, remove any weeds that could be visible in the areas that need to be cleaned. These weeds can also appear if the concrete happens to have cracks.
Step 2: Spot-treating Stains
Spot-treating stains with liquid laundry detergent and water are one of the most cost-effective methods. Pour the soap directly into the stain and scrub the area with a stiff nylon brush, avoid using wire-bristle brushes as metal can harm the concrete, rinse it with water, and allow it to dry.
However, there are instances that the concrete might suffer from various stains like grease, oil, rust, and other stubborn stains. Here are some tips on how to remove them:
Oil and Grease Stains
To remove oil from concrete, sprinkling sawdust, cornmeal, or baking soda directly over the stain will absorb it as much as possible. Brush away any residual powder with a broom once the spill has been absorbed.
If the stain persists, add additional baking soda or powdered laundry detergent and scrub the spot with a nylon brush and a little water. If the oil stain is old or has permeated the surface, use a degreaser and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to help remove any remaining grease stains.
Removing rust stains from concrete, even those that are decades old, using white vinegar and a little brushing is a successful and eco-friendly method. Pour the white vinegar straight on the stain, wait 20 minutes for it to soak in, then clean with a stiff-bristled brush. Then, using clean water, thoroughly cleanse the area. Allow drying before repeating if necessary.
If the stain remains, it is recommended to use a rust remover instead.
Water, Mold, or Mildew Stains
Use a hose or pressure washer to remove water, mold, or mildew stains from concrete patios and driveways. If the stains continue, make a solution of one-quarter bleach to one-gallon hot water and scrub the area with a brush, making sure to wet down neighboring foliage first to avoid runoff damage. Thoroughly rinse with clean water.
Other Stubborn Concrete Stains
There are a few last-resort solutions to keep in mind before calling in an expert or scraping the concrete in a final effort to remove stains, it is either by using muriatic acid or Trisodium Phosphate (TSP).
Muriatic acid should only be used with extreme caution since it can inflict severe burns and harm on the skin, eyes, and lungs permanently. To avoid inhaling harmful vapors, read all of the manufacturer’s instructions and wear heavy-duty protective equipment, such as thick long sleeves and pants, acid-resistant gloves, safety goggles, and a respirator.
TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) is another powerful cleaning solution that can successfully remove paint from concrete and cut through grease and mildew stains. TSP is a caustic substance that has been outlawed in several jurisdictions, so prior to use, check local regulations before buying. Better still, consider an environmentally friendly TSP substitute that can clean as well as for TSP but without the negative side effects.
Step 3: Repeat the process
If the stain remains evident, it is recommended to add a dose of white vinegar, baking soda, and water to the cleaning mix. Once the mixture is created, apply it to the stain once more. Rinse it thoroughly afterward with a bucket of water.
Step 4: Test Power Washing
If the stain is not removed using spot treatment or by mixing the above mixtures suggested, consider using a pressure washer. A garden hose could be turned into a power washer by buying it and changing the attachments. Another option is to rent the equipment. Gradually increase the pressure to avoid damaging the concrete. In doing this, put on safety glasses for protection since this could result in injury if not done safely.
Doing it Yourself or Hire Professionals
Cleaning is an essential process to maintain concrete. If done correctly not only does it increase the life span of concrete but also gets the most from the investment made in it.
Some homeowners should weigh on the condition of the concrete before acting upon it. If the stains are minimal and could be done using brushes, a concrete cleaner, and a garden hose, this could be done without the help of professionals. On the other hand, if the concrete suffers serious stains, hiring a professional to get the job done will provide superior results.
In these situations, using the knowledge of professionals is far more beneficial than trying to do it by yourself. In this regard, Jacksonville FL Concrete can provide the required knowledge and expertise to clean safely all kinds of concrete and ensure that these structures will last for a long time.
For free estimates, inquiries, and information, check their website or call their phone number at 904-822-1855.