May 2020 CLEANING LARGE OR SMALL CONCRETE SURFACES AT HOME
Whether you have a large or small concrete surface area to clean, removing dirt, grime and debris from concrete surfaces at home can be done quite professionally by applying a few basic care principles.
Indoor and outdoor concrete surfaces can be successfully cleaned without the help of professional cleaners with a few household supplies most of us already have available at home, but there is a place for professional cleaners as well, especially when concrete surfaces are largely soiled or have not been cleaned over a long period of time, the long term build-up of dirt, stains and marks caused by grease may need the help of a professional to get these cleaned.
It’s also important to keep in mind that concrete is caustic and susceptive to corrosion and damage caused by compounds that trigger a chemical response. When cleaning concrete surfaces finished with epoxy coatings, colour stains, sealants or polished concrete floors make sure to clean these with a PH neutral detergent to avoid damage to these decorative surfaces.
Cleaning concrete surfaces without any professional supplies
Whether you are trying to remove, oil, grease marks or organic matter from indoor and outdoor concrete surfaces, large or small concrete surfaces, including those treated with a PH sensitive finish, can be cleaned safely by using a mix of dishwashing liquid and warm water. Creating a warm soapy mix of 30 millilitres of dishwashing detergent with 20 litres of water and gently scrubbing the surface with a soft bristle brush (or a broom for larger surfaces areas) is an effective way to remove every day dirt and trivial stains and grease mark from porous concrete surfaces. As the soap and warm water re-emulsifies oil-based marks, the surface can then be rinsed clear with clean and untreated water.
Cleaning concrete surfaces with a stronger home solution
It’s important to note that using an acid or alkaline cleaning solution may provide a more effective result, however, these can corrode, discolour and peel decorative concrete surfaces, epoxy coatings and coloured stains and polishes.
While there are many natural solutions to cleaning concrete surfaces, these may not always be PH neutral.
For example, mixing 1 part vinegar to 1 part of warm water, or 10 millilitres of lemon juice to 1 litre of water makes for a stronger cleaning solution, both vinegar or lemon juice (in its natural state) are high acid cleaning solutions perfectly fine to be used on untreated concrete, but should be avoided when cleaning decorative concrete surfaces.
Another home solution stronger than dishwashing liquid and water is a solution made of 1 cup of bleach and 2 cups of bicarbonate of soda mixed in 20 litres of water (for very stubborn oily stains a 10ml Ammoniac can be added to this solution and then care must be taken not to inhale the fumes – cover nose and mouth with a wet cloth). Especially useful in removing mould and mildew, this solution has a high alkalinity and will have an equally damaging effect on surface treated concrete in the same way as high acid cleaners do. If cleaning surfaces from oil where it is not going to matter if there is a colour change, white spirits can be used (white spirits tend to leave white stains/marks on concrete).
Alternative cleaning methods that are effective and require the least amount of manual labour include the use of high-pressure washers for outdoor surfaces or steam cleaning machines for indoor and decorative surfaces, where both are pet friendly, non-toxic cleaning methods that are especially useful on larger surfaces.