What are Some Tips for Cleaning Concrete?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Cat litter can absorb liquids and grease from concrete.
Cat litter can absorb liquids and grease from concrete.

Cleaning concrete surfaces around the home is a task that many homeowners know very well. From oil stains on a concrete driveway or garage floor to spills on concrete slabs around pools, there is likely to be a need to engage in concrete cleaning at one time or another. If you are faced with the task of ridding your concrete surfaces of blemishes and stains, here are some methods that may be ideal for your situation.

Wet concrete being poured.
Wet concrete being poured.

One of the more common issues with concrete drives and garage floors is the presence of deep stains. These are usually created by oil spills and other fluids that leak from the engine of a vehicle. Fortunately, there are a couple of simple methods that will make a big difference when cleaning concrete. First, purchase a highly absorbent brand of cat litter. Sprinkle the litter over the stain and leave it in place for a couple of days. Sweep the litter away and examine the stain. Cat litter will lift a stain that has not seeped too deeply into the concrete. If the stain is now gone, you are done.

A man smoothing out a concrete floor.
A man smoothing out a concrete floor.

When a more stubborn stain is present, you will need to apply a second strategy to the task of cleaning concrete. Place an even layer of concrete powder over the stain. Make sure the powder is dry, and do not allow it to get wet from rain while the layer is setting on the concrete surface. The powder will leach into the concrete and draw the deeper stain out of the concrete. As with the cat litter, allow the powder to remain in place for a couple of days, then remove the powder. The stain will be gone in most cases.

Concrete stains caused by oil can often be cleaned with cat litter.
Concrete stains caused by oil can often be cleaned with cat litter.

However, if these simple approaches to cleaning concrete do not completely clear the stain, you will need to employ a power washer. Make sure to use a cleaning agent that is recommended for power washing concrete surfaces. While you can try a pressure washing with hot water, that really stubborn stain is much more likely to disappear by using a power washer.

A power washer may be used to clean concrete.
A power washer may be used to clean concrete.

One way to minimize the chances for a deep stain is to apply a sealant to the concrete once the surface is clean. By creating a barrier between the concrete and any liquids or other agents that may spill onto the surface, you can make the task of cleaning concrete much easier and also save you a lot of money on equipment rental. The sealant will also give your concrete surface more of a finished look, which will only enhance the appeal of your home.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including , and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including , and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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    • Cat litter can absorb liquids and grease from concrete.
      By: Vidady
      Cat litter can absorb liquids and grease from concrete.
    • Wet concrete being poured.
      By: uwimages
      Wet concrete being poured.
    • A man smoothing out a concrete floor.
      By: Lilyana Vynogradova
      A man smoothing out a concrete floor.
    • Concrete stains caused by oil can often be cleaned with cat litter.
      By: Focusedone
      Concrete stains caused by oil can often be cleaned with cat litter.
    • A power washer may be used to clean concrete.
      By: AlcelVision
      A power washer may be used to clean concrete.
    • Light sanding can remove the toughest of surface blemishes.
      By: csimagemakers
      Light sanding can remove the toughest of surface blemishes.