How to Clean Concrete Floors

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:

  • Broom
  • Dust mop
  • Wet mop
  • Bucket
  • Warm Water
  • Mild cleaner

Instructions:

 

  1. Sweep your floors thoroughly to remove all loose debris.
  2. Run your dust mop over the floor to pick up any dust and fine particles.
  3. 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!
  4. Dip wet mop in cleaning solution and wring thoroughly.
  5. Mop floor in small sections, rinsing and wringing the mop frequently.
  6. 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)

Instructions:

Check the weather report and make sure you pick a day that is forecast to be dry and sunny.

  1. Clean out the garage completely.
  2. Sweep or vacuum away dust and debris.
  3. Attach hose to water supply and turn on full power.
  4. 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.
  5. While the floor is still wet, sprinkle entire floor with cleaner.
  6. Using push broom, scrub cleaner into the floor.
  7. 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.

 

Comments

  1. Sue says:

    We have an epoxy floor in our garage which was coated by Home Depot. I noticed after three years of wear that it maintained dirt. I talked to many people of authority concerning epoxy garage floors and decided to go with Simple Green (one to one solution). I am amazed how clean the floor is now. It is back to looking like new once again.

  2. Hugh says:

    I wouldn’t use bleach due to possible discoloration, and a poultice will work faster and much better to draw out the stain than kitty litter. Also, oil absorbent without the ammonia is much better than kitty litter, which could have ammonia in it. Here’s an alternate method that I use regularly:

    1. Scrub with an aggressive brush using a floor machine and a concrete cleaner.

    2. Vacuum with a wet/dry vac and dispose to sanitary sewer.

    3. Apply oil absorbent from auto parts store and sweep into the wet concrete to pick up residue.

    4. Allow to dry (makes its own poultice to draw out stains). Let sit an hour and remove.

    That way, no oil or cleaner goes to the storm drain.

  3. Jan says:

    I need to know the best way to clean the concrete around my fireplace it has spots on it and i do not know what there are from. Thank you for your time on answering my question.

  4. Concrete & Pets says:

    I cleaned my basement with vinegar to remove pet odors. I now have a whitening of certain areas on the floor. How do I repair this?

  5. Welona says:

    How do you remove the marks left on the concrete floor from moving furniture?

  6. Tim says:

    I clean the bathrooms at Walmart (lol) and I like to use a solution with ammonia in it (but not too much) to clean the floors. I also put a little bit of Goo Gone Pro Power into it. Then, I take a mop and along the cracks and edges, press hard against the floor to remove the dirt around the edges. Then, I take a Doodlebug and scrub the rest with that. It’s hard work, but it works. The solution I use is called Crew: Restroom Floor and Surface Cleaner. Hope this helps.

  7. Megan says:

    A couple of years ago I had to replace my concrete foundation floor in my basement. At the time, we made the decision to have colored concrete in place of any other flooring surface. It was colored by the concrete people, a dark chocolate brown. We had the floor ready to go but did not seal it with anything. In the meantime, we have had drywall work done, which includes a lot of dust. We have repeatedly tried “deck” brushing, dry mopping, soap, water, even vinegar, and it still leaves behind a white dust. When it is wet, it looks great, but as it dries, unfortunately it doesn’t look as good. Any thoughts on how to clean this?

  8. Barbara says:

    I have a new concrete patio and the dogs have walked all over the cement with their muddy paws. Does anyone know how to clean the black dirt off the concrete? It hasn’t completely cured yet.

  9. Steve says:

    I have an olive oil stain on a cement driveway. Any way of getting that up?

  10. Steve says:

    How do you clean a stain from Christmas tree water that was in the stand, spilled onto a surfaced concrete interior floor and remained there for days? Soap and water will not get it out.

  11. Melanie says:

    Steve,
    Put on gloves, spray brake cleaner onto the stain and pour kitty litter over the stain. Allow the litter to soak up the oil for several hours and repeat the process if needed. You can also cover the stain with a powder, such as flour, cornstarch, talcum powder or baking soda.

    Source: HowToCleanStuff.net – How to Remove Olive Oil from Concrete Floor and Wrought Iron

  12. Joanne says:

    I have rather new stenciled, colored concrete, which has been glazed. I was out killing bull ants and sprayed petrol on them, and now have left a few stains around on it. I tried warm soapy water and that did not work. I am afraid that if I use anything like bleach or C.L.R., it might take off the glaze and paint. Any suggestions, before my husband divorces me?

  13. Dode says:

    I have painted cement floors in the basement and had water problems, so now there are water stains. How can I remove them without damaging the paint?

  14. Christina says:

    I have a concrete sun room. I just took out all the carpet and laminate floor. I have glue that is on the floor. What do I do to get it off? Plus, I would like to seal and level the floor… I really want the concrete to be like a marble look. How do I do that?

  15. Mark says:

    Hi, I have to clean a communal area and stairs; can you tell me the best thing I can do please.

  16. Mike says:

    I removed a hot tub that was sitting on a concrete patio. There is a discoloration from the chemicals that I’m having no luck removing. Any ideas? (Tried muriatic acid, power washing, scrubbing, etc.)

  17. Seema says:

    Hi, how do I remove a stain of toilet cleaner acid (Harpic) from a cement floor?

  18. DanI says:

    Hi, I am in desperate need of help. We applied microcement at our house for our floor, however we are finding stains everywhere… like, for example, fingerprints that have an oil-like appearance. Also, we recently left a box of parquet on the floor and now there is brown residue all over this place. Is there some sort of detergent that can be used?

  19. Laura says:

    We have just finished pulling up the carpet on our living/dining area and before deciding how to finish it, I want to vacuum, wash and take out anything that stuck to the floor. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank you.

  20. Abegale says:

    Awesome.

  21. Saverio says:

    How do I clean black grime off of concrete steps?

  22. Melanie says:

    Saverio,
    If the black grime is mold, use the information in this article: How to Remove Mold from Cement Walls and Floors.

  23. Judy says:

    Our fire department has stained concrete floors. They have been down app. 5 years but have not been resealed. The concrete floors are in the front room and kitchen. I have tried mopping with a non-streak cleaner, water, and also water mixed with vinegar (2 oz. vinegar to 32 oz. water). With each method, it seems there is some type of film and streaks remaining. I am very new to cleaning this floor as a volunteer service. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Judy

Leave a Comment

*