If you’re wondering how to clean concrete patios, you’re in the right place. Cleaning a concrete patio is easier than you think and can be completed in a few simple steps.
There’s no need to spend your money on expensive cleaners; You can give your patio a good scrubbing by using simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Put your mind at ease by reading this guide on how to clean concrete patios.
Step 1: Remove Furniture, Dirt, and Debris
Before we show you how to clean concrete patios, let’s start with the basics. You’ll want to clear out any patio furniture, grills, pots, and planters and store them off to the side. Make sure the entire surface of your concrete patio is visible.
Complete a quick sweep to remove any dirt, leaves, or other debris from the area. If you have any gardens or landscaping surrounding your patio, loosely hang a tarp overtop to protect the vegetation.
After your surface area is clear, your plants are covered, and the concrete is swept, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step 2: Determine the Type of Stain
You’ll want to figure out the type of stain you’re dealing with. It’s easy to think that all stains are universal, but you’ll need to change your cleaning approach depending on the culprit.
The most common stains you’ll find when cleaning a concrete patio are grease and oil, rust, mildew, and mold. After you determine which stain you’re combating, proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Create and Apply Your Solution
Now it’s time to go to battle with the spots on your concrete patio. Here’s how to clean the most commonly found stains.
Grease and Oil Stains
If you notice grease and oil stains, you can remove these pesky spots in several ways.
If the stain is fresh, combine sawdust and cornstarch, then sprinkle over the stain. This concoction should absorb any liquid spills, leaving your concrete patio spick and span.
You can create a solution with baking soda and water for tougher marks. Combine these two ingredients until it forms a slurry with the consistency of toothpaste.
Gently exfoliate the tainted concrete, then leave it for 30-60 minutes. You can either wash away the solution or brush off the remaining powder.
Have you tried the above methods to no avail? You may need to enlist the help of a degreaser. A word of warning, concrete is porous and chemical products could affect the quality of the surface.
When using a degreaser, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t leave it on longer than recommended.
Rust stains can really blemish the appearance of a beautiful concrete patio. Usually, the culprit of these brown stains is a rusty garden tool or piece of metal furniture that comes into contact with your clean concrete slab.
Luckily, you can remove these unsightly stains with natural ingredients and a little bit of elbow grease.
You can create your natural cleaning concoction using an acidic base such as lemon juice, white vinegar, and even Coca-Cola.
Pour your pacific agent of choice over the rust stain so it’s completely blanketed. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then go to town on the blotch with a stiff-bristled brush.
You’ll want to scrub with medium pressure, hard enough to scour out the stain but gentle enough to preserve the sealer. After scrubbing out the soiled spot, rinse the area with warm soapy water.
If this method doesn’t work, you may need to consult a more potent solution. Try looking for a commercial rust remover that contains oxalic acid, a chemical renowned for clearing up rust stains.
When working with chemical cleaners, ensure you’re taking the proper safety protocols, like wearing gloves and goggles and working in a well-ventilated area.
Water, Mildew, or Mold Stains
If you live in a wet climate, you’re probably used to dealing with mold and mildew stains on your concrete patio. This problem gets exasperated if the concrete is located in a shady spot away from the sun.
Since concrete is porous, it’s an ideal texture for mold to invade. You might notice mold as a green, black, or white spot on the concrete.
It’s easy to confuse the latter with efflorescence, a salty film that can spread over concrete. If you water the white substance and it dissolves, it’s likely not mold.
If you are dealing with mold, mildew, or other water stains, you can combat the culprit using a simple household mixture of bleach and water.
Let your solution soak into the stain for a while to let it work its magic, then start scrubbing. After a round with the brush, rinse off the bleach with a power washer. This helps extract the solid organic matter from the concrete.
How to Clean Concrete Patios: Tips and Tricks
You’ve read our guide on how to clean concrete patios, and you’re ready to put your knowledge to the test. Before you start, here are a few helpful pointers to help you along your journey.
Use a Household Solution
Rather than shelling out your coins for an expensive commercial cleaner, start with a household solution. You’ll find that acidity, bleach, or alkaline components are typically central in most cleaners, so save yourself the trouble and make one yourself.
You can also prevent contact with harmful fumes and potential irritants by cleaning with a natural solution such as vinegar or baking soda.
Test Commerical Cleaners Before Using
If you opt for a commercial cleaner, test it on a small part of your concrete first, preferably a section off to the side or under the furniture.
Chemical solutions can potentially damage the concrete, especially if left on for too long. Avoid damaging your patio floor by conducting a small test beforehand.
You can always cover the spot with a plant or rug if it leaves some abrasion or discoloration. If no damage occurs, move on to the rest of the concrete.
Use a Power Washer Sparingly
A power washer may be necessary for certain stains, but you may want to use it sparingly. Frequent use can result in irreversible damage to a concrete surface.
If you break out the power washer, use the correct nozzle and the proper pressure. Try to ensure an even water flow and avoid holding the nozzle on a particular spot for too long.
Use Muriatic Acid if All Else Fails
Muriatic acid is a powerful chemical that effectively removes rust, grout, and even cement.
It’s a form of hydrochloric acid and can cause chemical burns when it comes into contact with the skin. For that reason, we recommend only using muriatic acid as a last-case resort.
When using the potent chemical, wear safety gear, including gloves, goggles, an N95 mask, and other protective clothing. Muriatic acid often comes in a concentrate, so dilute it with water at a 1:10 ratio before using it.
Apply the solution to your stain and let it sit for 2-5 minutes. This chemical is powerful stuff and only needs a little time to work its magic.
Prepare a mixture of 1 cup of ammonia and 1 gallon of water, then spray it on the affected area to neutralize the acid.
How Often Should I Clean my Concrete Patio?
In most cases, you can get away with only cleaning a concrete patio once a year.
Before you retrieve your patio furniture from hibernation in spring, consider setting aside some time to complete the task. It’s a great opportunity to eliminate any water stains and grime accumulated over the long winter.
If you have a grill on your patio, you may also want to do a thorough cleaning in the fall. It will give you the best chance to scrub away any grease stains before they set over the winter.
How to Prevent Stains on Concrete Patios
If you want to save yourself the trouble of scouring away a pesky spot, why not try to prevent them from happening in the first place?
The key to averting patio stains is to find a concrete sealer to help strengthen and consolidate the surface.
Without applying sealer to your concrete patio, you’re leaving it vulnerable to moisture absorption, which can lead to cracks, discoloration, and flaking.
Save yourself time and effort by investing in a useful concrete sealer.
How to Clean Concrete Patios: Summed Up
We hope you’ve found the answer to your question about how to clean concrete patios. It’s much easier than it seems, and you can get the job done by using some simple ingredients and some elbow grease.
Now that you know how to clean concrete patios, check out the rest of our Lawn and Garden section for more landscaping tips and tricks.
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.