Cement patios, garage floors, and other concrete surfaces take a lot of daily abuse, and grease, oil, and dirt are just a few materials that can cause stains. And while nobody expects concrete patios and garage floors to be spotless, stains can be embarrassing. Cleaning the stains on your concrete flooring serves an aesthetic purpose; clean floors do look better, but cleaning your concrete floors before sealing your concrete is essential so the stains won’t show through. If you recently spilled oil on your garage floor and discovered rust in your concrete patio, don’t fret; there are ways to remove such stains.
Stain Removal Tips
It is vital that you take precautions and adequately dress for the task of cleaning stains from concrete. You should wear a long-sleeved shirt, avoid wearing shorts, and wear protective clothing, including gloves and safety glasses. If you are using chemicals to clean a stain, make sure to read the label and wear what they recommend.
You might think of using a power or pressure washer to quickly remove dirt, grease, or other stains from your concrete. While this method is a good option for several types of stains, you have to be careful. It is all too easy to get carried away with a power washer, and you could wind up damaging the concrete. It would be best to either do some research on how to properly power wash concrete surfaces or hire a professional.
Whatever method you are using to clean your concrete, test it on a hidden area of the surface to ensure that it doesn’t cause damage or staining. Also, if you are using chemicals to clean your concrete, be mindful when rinsing it off; you don’t want harsh chemicals saturating your flower bed or other sensitive parts of your yard.
Lastly, while it will be tempting, please don’t use a wire brush to scrub the stain from your concrete; it might leave scrape marks.
Potted Plants Stains
It is not at all uncommon for homeowners to keep a few potted plants on their concrete patio; they are aesthetically pleasing and make your backyard look great. There is just one problem; potted plants tend to leave stains from the water that gets trapped underneath the pot. These water stains are unsightly and can be difficult to remove.
The best approach to remove this type of stain is to start with a sponge and some dish soap, and a little elbow grease. If you scrub away and can’t get all of the stains out, sprinkle some dry detergent over the area while it is wet and let that soak in for about 10 or 15 minutes. Now, pour some very hot water over the detergent and scrub away; just be careful not to burn yourself. You might have to repeat the process.
If the stain is still showing, pour some distilled white vinegar over the area and let that sit for a few hours, but don’t allow it to dry. Mix one part of oxygenated bleach with two parts of water and apply it to the stain and let it sit for an additional 15 minutes. Using a sponge with plenty of hot water, scrub away the stain.
Sidewalk Chalk Stains
If you have children, they might enjoy drawing on your concrete patio or driveway using sidewalk chalk. And even though sidewalk chalk will easily rinse away, there will sometimes be a child’s masterpiece work of art that is still visible. Here is how you can remove lingering chalk stains from concrete.
Use a stiff-bristled brush (not wire) and hot water to scrub off as much of the chalk as you can. Apply Soft Scrub or similar all-purpose bathroom cleaner to the stain and scrub in a circular motion. Once the stain is gone, simply rinse off the area and enjoy your clean patio or driveway. And you might want to hide the chalk.
If you are a typical American, you probably have black oil spots on your concrete driveway or garage floor. If the stains really don’t bother you, you should consider that you might be tracking oil from those stains into your house. Here is how you can remove these stains from your concrete.
The first step is to soak up as much of the oil as possible using clumping cat litter. Simply pour the litter on the oil stain and work it in with a stiff brush or broom. Leave the cat litter on the stain for a minimum of one hour, overnight, if it is a big stain or an oil stain that has been there for a long time. After the oil is soaked up, sweep up the cat litter and properly dispose of it.
If the stain is still there, mix one cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP) in a gallon of hot water. TSP can be found at your local hardware store. Pour this solution onto the oil stain, let it soak for about an hour, and then use a high-pressure nozzle on your garden hose to rinse.
Metal outdoor furniture and garden tools can rust when they are left outdoors in the moisture for long periods of time. When you go to grab your shovel or move your metal table, you might notice an ugly rust stain on your concrete patio. There are a couple of ways in which you can remove these ugly stains from your concrete.
If the rust stain is relatively fresh, it might disappear with the help of white vinegar. Simply pour the vinegar over the rust stain and use a stiff nylon brush to scrub it away. If that doesn’t work, you are going to have to use a commercial rust remover. These types of products contain potent acids, so use protective clothing and practice caution.
We all love to utilize the outdoor grill in the summer months; nothing beats a good steak grilled to perfection. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to splatter grease from the steak all over your concrete patio. It’s nothing to fret about; really, it is easy enough to remove grease stains from concrete surfaces. So enjoy your steak and then begin the stain removal process.
The first thing you want to do is create a paste made with water and powdered laundry detergent. Next, cover the grease stain with about a quarter-inch of the mixture and tape some plastic wrap over it. Let that sit for 24 hours and simply scrub up the stain. You might have to repeat the process if there are still remnants of grease on the cement.
There are several ways in which your cement patio or garage floor can get stains. And while some stains are easily removed by the homeowner, some will need professional attention. Just make sure you stay safe and use extreme caution while cleaning stains from your cement surfaces.
If your patio or driveway is so old and stained that no amount of scrubbing will get it clean, it might be time to consider a new patio or driveway. Contact us by phone or fill out our contact form for an estimate.