Experts in Your Home has spent enough time around homeowners, weekend warriors and do-it-yourselfers to know: it's often not a home cleaning task, per se, that they wish to avoid.
They may not exactly relish the thought of getting down and dirty; this is true. But it is the perceived outcome that they dread even more. And because they perceive failure, they avoid the task. They procrastinate and find every reason and excuse to avoid it.
We're all human, so if the Experts have tapped into your own human psychology with regard to concrete stains, you can now rest assured: Most stains can be removed – or at least mostly removed. As with many other home cleaning tasks, Experts in Your Home recommends starting with a simple method before gradually moving to more aggressive methods to clean and remove stains from concrete sidewalks, patios and driveways.
How to Clean Your Driveway, Sidewalk & Patio
Always Test a Treatment First
Concrete looks tough and resilient, and compared with a soft surface like carpet, it is. But just because it does not contain fuzzy fibers does not mean that concrete is impervious to cleaning treatments, either.
So treat concrete with care – just like you would a carpet – and test any chemical cleaning treatment in an inconspicuous place first. Let it dry, see how it looks and if you like what you see, proceed with the rest of the area. Expedite your home cleaning job by cleaning concrete when weather conditions are most conducive to doing so – or when it's warm, dry and sunny so that it can dry quickly and thoroughly.
Clean Dirty Concrete
You might be surprised, but sometimes all concrete needs is a good scrub with warm water and a heavy-duty brush to look good again. Choose a non-metallic brush because brushes with metal bristles often leave a trail of metal particles in their wake, and metal can rust and stain, thereby complicating your home cleaning task.
Scrub the dirty concrete in a circular motion and then douse the concrete with water. If the dirt stays put, try these steps:
- Treat the concrete with dish soap and water.
- Upgrade to a powder laundry detergent and water.
- Apply a scrubbing cleanser, such as Comet or Bon Ami.
- Exchange your brush for a pressure washer, starting over again with water alone and then working through the cleansers. (Note: there is a difference between pressure washers and power washers. They both depend on a strong surge of water to remove dirt, salt and other debris, but power washers also rely on heated With a thermostat gauge, you can literally turn up the heat on stubborn concrete stains, such as mildew and gum, with power washers.
Remove Mold and Mildew Stains
Unleash the surge of a power washer on mold and mildew. Water alone should work. If not, pair hot water with a mold-killing detergent or a mixture of bleach and water.
Remove Oil and Grease Stains
Turn to an alkaline degreaser to remove oil and grease with a power washer. Hot water should lift the oil from the concrete while the degreaser emulsifies the oil. Be sure to drench the concrete with water after the treatment.
Remove Rust Stains
Cleansers with oxalic acid are best equipped to remove rust. But be forewarned: depending on how deeply the rust has penetrated the concrete, this may be one of those times when you will be able to remove most, but not all, of a stain.
Remove Paint Stains
Begin with a citrus-based solvent to remove paint, progressing to methylene chloride and then potassium hydroxide. Be sure to read the directions on the cleanser; you may have to let it soak into the concrete for several hours before power-washing it.
You May Want Professional Home Cleaning
You may have heard of or even used muriatic acid on tough concrete stains. This potent chemical requires great care; it can cause skin and eye burns and respiratory problems if it is inhaled. This is why we recommend that you call the home cleaning professionals at Experts in Your Home instead of trying to work with it yourself. Muriatic acid really is best placed in the hands of the experts. In the end, sometimes tough concrete stains are, too. The Experts will attack it with gusto – so you can brace for a positive outcome.