Contrary to popular opinion, cleaning a concrete floor and especially one with stains requires a meticulous and strategic approach. When cleaning, you need to understand how the different cleaning agents and equipment interact with the concrete so you don’t use products that will erode the surface. While most people prefer to use a commercial cleaner for the best results, you can still do it on your own and get excellent results. All you need is a few tips and insider information on what to use and how to go about it.
Cleaning a Standard/Plain Concrete Floor
Most homes have a standard concrete floor especially in areas like the garage. Even though concrete is a sturdy material that is easy to clean, it is susceptible to staining and should be cleaned often and deep cleaned once every few months.
What you need
Before you start cleaning the floor, you will need a variety of cleaning products and equipment. It is essential that you get everything ready before you begin the cleaning. It will save you time and make the cleaning process more flawless.
- A duster and a broom (or a vacuum if you have one)
- A nylon-bristled brush to remove stains
- Water and dish soap
- Laundry bleach, detergent, and Trisodium phosphate to remove mildew
- Cornstarch to remove grease stains
- Degreaser to remove tire marks
- For stubborn stains, you will need hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and bleach
The cleaning agents you choose will depend on the stains you’re dealing with. For instance, you don’t need to buy a degreaser if your concrete floor does not have tire marks.
Clear the floor
Start by removing decorations, rugs, shoes, mats, tool boxes and anything else off the floor. It will be easier without continually moving things around, and it will also be easier to spot problem areas without items laying around.
Sweep the floor
Next, you want to get rid of all the loose dirt and dust. You can do this by sweeping. Once you’re done sweeping, you can go over the floor with a wet duster to make sure you remove even the fine particles. Ideally, this should be done frequently. If you have a good vacuum cleaner, this process will be easier and faster, and it will prevent the particles from spreading around.
Spot clean the stains
Before you can clean the whole floor, you need to address areas with the stains first. During this step, it is vital that you identify the different stains first so you use the right products. Here is a quick guide on how to deal with the various stains on your concrete floor.
- For mildew, you should make a solution using one ounce of laundry detergent, one ounce of Trisodium phosphate, one-quart laundry bleach and three quarts of water. Use the solution to scrub the affected areas with a soft brush and then rinse with clean water.
- For areas with tire marks like in the garage, spray the area with water and then apply a degreaser. Let it sit for a few hours then scrub with a brush and rinse with clean water.
- For grease, just spread kitty litter or cornstarch over the area with the stain and let it sit for three days. You can then vacuum or sweep the cornstarch or kitty litter along with the grease that was on the floor.
For plain concrete floors, you can use stronger cleaning agents like hydrogen peroxide, bleach, and ammonia. However, these should only be used in areas where you’re not worried about damaging the finishing. These products are ideal for removing tough stains and should be diluted in a ratio of one part cleaner to three parts of water and sprayed on the affected areas. Always wear gloves and protective gear when using harsh cleansers and make sure the room is well ventilated.
Cleaning Stamped or Polished Concrete
You need to exercise a more caution when cleaning decorated or stamped concrete floors. Unlike plain floors, you have the finishing to worry about and the products used should be gentle enough to preserve that finishing.
What you need
- pH neutral floor cleaners and detergents
- Mild dish soaps
- Neutral stone cleaner
- Castile soap
How to make the cleaning solution
For your cleaning solution, you need to mix a gallon of warm water with an eighth to one-quarter cup of the recommended cleaner by the manufacturer. You can also mix an equal amount of mild soap or detergent that has a neutral pH.
Dunk a mop into the cleaning solution and wring it. The mop should be only slightly damp when cleaning the floor. You don’t want extra water sitting on the finishing and the concrete.
The best approach when cleaning is to mop in small portions starting from the furthest corner and working your way to the door. Remember to dip the mop in the cleaning solution and wring it frequently as you clean. If you have an oscillating fan, you can use it to blow air into the room, so the floor dries faster.
If there are any puddles of water, make sure you damp it out to avoid water sipping into the concrete and damaging the floor in the long run.
Cleaning an Exterior concrete floor
Even though the same procedure used to clean plain concrete should be used to clean exterior concrete floors, more areas need to be given attention in the latter for the perfect results.
What you need
Depending on the stains you’re facing, the list of cleaning products is the same as those used in cleaning a plain floor. The only additional equipment you will need are a power washer and push broom with stiff bristles.
Remove weeds and roots
Before you start cleaning, you will need to remove the roots, moss and other weeds that might have grown on the floor. It is best to pull them out using your hands then sweep them away.
Spray the floor using a high-pressure nozzle to remove the dirt and debris. For the best results, use broad sweeping strokes. Don’t forget to concentrate on the corners, crevices, and cracks where dirt might hard.
Sprinkle the cleaner on the floor. It is best to start at one end of the floor and work your way around. When sprinkling the cleaner, the floor should be wet. Once done, pick up the broom and start scrubbing from the furthest end while trying to remove any dirt and grime. Once done, rinse the floor using clean water.
Even though concrete floors are hardy, they still require some tender love and care to keep them clean and looking their best. With this short guide, you should be able to restore the glory and glamour of your concrete floor and remove all the stains.