The proper cleaning technique for your concrete floor depends upon whether you are cleaning interior decorative concrete or standard concrete (i.e the type of floor you would have in your garage).
Cleaning Decorative Concrete
Concrete floors are becoming an increasingly popular choice among homeowners because of their durability and stain-resistance. With proper maintenance, a decorative concrete floor can last a lifetime.
What you will need:
- Dust mop
- Wet mop
- Warm Water
- Mild cleaner
- Sweep your floors thoroughly to remove all loose debris.
- Run your dust mop over the floor to pick up any dust and fine particles.
- Fill bucket with about 1 gallon of warm water and a small amount of mild cleaner or dish soap. DO NOT use ammonia or vinegar as these may damage the finish!
- Dip wet mop in cleaning solution and wring thoroughly.
- Mop floor in small sections, rinsing and wringing the mop frequently.
- Refill bucket with clean warm water and mop again to rinse away any remaining soap residue (again work in small sections, rinsing mop frequently).
Additional Cleaning Tips
- Your floor may need to be rebuffed occasionally to maintain its shine. Use a high-speed buffer with a white pad (available at most rental stores), or contact a professional.
- In order to protect and beautify your floors, they should be resealed every 3 to 4 years. Although there are products available to do this yourself, it is recommended that you contact a flooring professional to perform this task to ensure that it is done efficiently and properly.
- Although properly sealed concrete floors are stain resistant, if a spill is allowed to remain, it may cause a stain. To avoid this, simply wipe up spills promptly with a damp cloth.
- If your floor does have a stain not affected by regular mopping, spray the area with an over-the-counter cleaner such as 409 or Fantastik. Let sit for 20 minutes, and wipe with a damp cloth.
Cleaning Standard Concrete
Aside from regular sweeping, a standard concrete floor such as the one you probably have in your garage, needs to be maintained with regular (preferably yearly) deep cleanings.
What you will need:
- Push Broom
- Shop Vac (optional)
- Hose with spray nozzle attachment
- Dry granular cleaner, such as Comet or Bartender’s Friend
- A place to put all your stuff
- Power washer (optional)
Check the weather report and make sure you pick a day that is forecast to be dry and sunny.
- Clean out the garage completely.
- Sweep or vacuum away dust and debris.
- Attach hose to water supply and turn on full power.
- Using spray attachment on its strongest setting, spray the entire floor, starting at the rear and working forward, using broad side to side motions. Pay special attention to the corners and crevices where dirt and grime tend to accumulate.
- While the floor is still wet, sprinkle entire floor with cleaner.
- Using push broom, scrub cleaner into the floor.
- Rinse again with hose as in Step 4.
NOTE: If your garage floor is extremely dirty, it may be wise to rent a power washer. An appropriate power washer for this job should have a pressure rating of at least 3000 psi and a flow rate of at least 4 gallons per minute (gpm). Hot water power washers work best in removing grease and oil stains. Follow the steps listed above, but instead of using the hose attachment, use the power washer in Steps 4 and 7. To prevent injury, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you wear safety goggles when using a power washer. Make sure you follow all instructions regarding the proper operation of the power washer. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact a professional!
ENVIRONMENTAL NOTE: Be aware that water runoff from cleaning out your garage may be prohibited from entering storm sewers. Municipal codes vary greatly depending on the location. Check with your local Environmental Protection Agency office for information on disposal requirements.
Removing Stains from Concrete
Even after power washing, some stains may remain. Here are some tips that may help:
OIL: Apply bleach to the stain (using a spray bottle is the most efficient way to apply bleach). Let sit 20 minutes. Scrub with a scrub brush and rinse. NOTE: Always exercise caution when using bleach as it is considered a hazardous substance. Avoid getting bleach on your clothing as it will stain. Avoid contact with skin and especially eyes.
GREASE: Spread a thick layer of fresh kitty litter over the spot. Allow to sit for two or three days. Sweep (or shop vac) kitty litter and dispose of in the trash. If stain still remains, sprinkle the area with DRY concrete mix. Allow to sit for two or three days. Sweep up dry concrete. IMPORTANT: DO NOT dispose of dry concrete in sewer, sink or toilet—among other things it WILL cause plumbing problems!
TIRE MARKS: Wet the area and use an over-the-counter degreaser, such as ORANGE CITRUS concentrate. Allow the degreaser to sit on the spot for a few hours. Scrub with a scrub brush and rinse.
Special note about Muriatic Acid: Some people recommend using muriatic acid to clean stubborn stains in your garage. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! Muriatic acid is a highly reactive liquid acid, and one of the most dangerous chemicals you can buy for home use and should be used only as a last resort and with extreme caution.