Concrete Cleaning for Homeowners
Everything You Need to Know About Getting Concrete Surfaces Cleaned
Outdoor concrete surfaces tend to get dirty quickly. That includes walkways, patios, driveways, parking pads, sidewalks and garage floors. If you plan to seal these surfaces to protect them, be sure to get them cleaned as thoroughly as possible immediately before treatment. Many of these concrete surfaces can be cleaned to a bright white with proper treatment and pressure washing techniques.
Here are the most common challenges homeowners face when cleaning their concrete, and how they are overcome:
Cleaning Oil Stains from Concrete
If vehicles drive or park on a concrete surface, such as a parking pad, driveway, patio or garage floor, it’s likely at some point you’ve noticed oil stains on the surface. Similarly, mowers, leaf blowers, snow blowers, trimmer and other outdoor equipment can leak oils that stain the concrete.
In order to remove oil stains from concrete, the best steps include:
- Intensely scrubbing the stain from the surface with a strong detergent. The majority of oil stains can be removed with this type of treatment. Walk-behind surface cleaners agitate these types of surfaces with thousands of bristles to clean these areas effectively.
- For more problematic stains, use a degreaser that’s scrubbed into the concrete surface to loosen the oil compound. This works well with porous concrete verses a finished, hardened cement surface
- A powerful, directed warm-water pressure wash to achieve the deepest possible clean
- Long-term treatments. Available natural agents incorporate single-celled microorganisms to literally eat up the crude oil as a source of food. Poultices combine a solvent and an absorptive material (kitty litter, for example) to utilize osmosis to “suck” the oil out of the concrete.
Note, it may be difficult to remove stains that are heavily contaminated or have been stained for a long time. So be sure to conduct regular concrete cleanings and preventative measures to keep the stains under control.
Cleaning Mold, Mildew and/or Algae from Concrete
Concrete areas not exposed to regular direct sunlight tend to accumulate dark green and black growth of mold, mildew and/or algae. Concrete surfaces on the north side of the house, shaded by trees or overhangs and high moisture are usually the dirtiest. Moisture creates an environment ideal for growth of these organisms. So those of us who receive regular rainfall are most likely to notice the progressive dinginess of concrete. Fortunately, these types of surfaces are easily cleaned provided they haven’t gotten too bad after years of neglect.
In order to remove mold, mildew and algae stains from concrete, the best steps include
- Applying an algicide, such as a safe, diluted bleach mix to kill the organisms growing on the concrete. Allow the application some dwell time to make sure it has enough time to be effective
- Utilizing a surface detergent along with a rigorous scrubbing action. Our walk-behind surface cleaners are excellent at agitating these surfaces clean while progressively implementing detergent to get the best results possible. Where necessary warm water can be incorporated to get the tougher spots.
- A powerful, directed warm-water pressure wash on any stubborn spots to get the best results
- Rinse the surface under pressure to remove all the chemicals and remaining soil.
Cleaning Leaf, Pine Needle and Other Organic Stains from Concrete
Sometimes organic stains form on concrete where grass, leaves, needles and tree sap pile up. As a result, the concrete turns green or brown because of the pigments in these organic cells. These are hard for most homeowners to remove because most off-the-shelf cleaners are not designed to treat them.
In order to remove organic stains from concrete, the best steps include
- Pressure wash the surface to remove all organic matter, sap, leaves, grass and debris stuck on the concrete
- Utilizing an effective organic detergent. Organic cleaners will be the only type of cleaners that get results. Inorganic concrete degreasers and detergents will not be effective. Organic cleaners use enzymes that break down the organic material causing the stain. These types of treatments often require a waiting period for treatment to occur
- Scrub the surface intensively with a walk behind surface cleaner or brush
- Rinse the surface under pressure to remove all the detergent and remaining soil.
Other Concrete Stains: Calcium, Metal/Rust, Battery Stains
These types of white, red, orange and brown stains are often found on concrete and are hard to remove. They require a much more tailored treatment with specific products designed to remove each type of stain and restore the concrete. Sometimes a second or third application along with a wait time and rigorous scrubbing is necessary to restore the surface completely.
Pro Tip: Regular cleaning is key to getting surfaces clean and keeping them clean. If you select a concrete cleaning company, check that they are experienced, licensed and insured. Using chemicals on your property is a serious matter that could result in permanent stains and damage. Consider online Google reviews, BBB ratings, years in business and recent project photos.
If you decide to do your own concrete cleaning, make sure to check the labels of any cleaning agents to make sure they are designed and utilized properly. Safety is paramount when using chemicals, so make sure you have all the proper protective equipment in place.
Use Pristine Inc for Concrete Cleaning Services!
Try Pristine Inc for your concrete cleaning and other exterior cleaning needs! We service both residential and commercial customers in the greater Baltimore area. Our territory extends throughout Maryland to include Baltimore County, Harford County, Cecil County and York County, PA.
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