The Easiest Way to Remove Stains From Cement Patios and Driveways
When you are cleaning up a cement surface stained with dirt, grease, oil, or chewing gum, you don’t have to spend a fortune on tools and products to do it. With the right tools and some elbow grease, you can remove dirt and grime from your cement patios and driveways without harsh chemicals. Here’s how:
What You Need
Water hose garden hose will work fine
Large plastic scrubbing pad may be called a “scouring pad” or “kitchen scrubbing pad”
Heavy duty cleaner such as Simple Green
Pressure washer optional – check with your local rental center to see if they offer any pressure washer options for rent. If so, this is a great way to help remove oil stains from concrete
Sometimes the cement surface of driveways and patios can become stained with grease, oil, rust, or other substances that can be damaging to the porous surface. If left untreated, these stains can penetrate deep through the porous surface of your cement slabs and may not be removed with simple cleaning methods.
The Easiest Way to Remove Stains From Cement Patios and Driveways:
Step 1: Identify the Staining Agent
One of the first things you will want to do when removing stains from cement is identifying what kind of stain you are dealing with. This is important because some cleaning chemicals could actually make a certain type of stain worse.
TIP: If you’re unsure about what kind of stain you’re dealing with, it is best to simply keep trying different cleaning agents until you find one that works.
Grease and Oil Stains: Grease and oil stains should be treated with a degreaser that contains TSP (trisodium phosphate). You can find these kinds of cleaners at any local hardware store. They are typically used for washing walls before painting them but can also be used for cleaning concrete surfaces. These types of degreasers break down grease on a molecular level, making them very effective in removing most
Cement is a hard and durable building material. When it’s used for patios, sidewalks, and driveways, cement can stain easily. If you have small children or pets, your cement will probably be covered in stains and spills. Luckily, the most difficult part of removing these stains is finding the right cleaner to match the type of debris you’re dealing with.
Before choosing a cleaner to remove the stain from your cement surface, try to identify what caused the stain. If you know exactly what created the discoloration on your driveway or patio, you can choose a cleaner that’s designed specifically for that type of stain.
Below are some common types of stains and cleaners to remove them:
Oil-based stains: Grease, oil and tar
Sugar-based stains: Soda, candy, gum
Organic stains: Leaves, grass, tree sap
Inorganic stains: Soot from fireplace smoke
Paint stains: Water-based latex paint; oil-based paints
Clean cement stains promptly to avoid permanent discoloration. A few basic cleaning materials and a bit of elbow grease are all you need to remove light or heavy stains from cement.
To clean a cement patio, sweep the area with a broom to remove dirt and debris. Next, make a cleaning solution of one part bleach and one part water in a bucket. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and apply it to the cement surface. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes then use a scrub brush to work it into the cement. Rinse the patio thoroughly with water from a hose or power washer then let it dry completely before using it again.
To remove oil stains from your driveway, pour cat litter over the stain and let it sit overnight, which will absorb the oil. Remove the cat litter by sweeping it up with a broom then scrub away any remaining residue with laundry detergent and water. Rinse the driveway with water from a hose and let it dry before using again.
For more tips on how to clean concrete surfaces like patios and driveways, like how to remove rust stains, read on!
Concrete, in general, is a very porous material. This makes it susceptible to staining from oils, grease, mud and other materials. Cement driveways and patios are prone to this staining, especially when the concrete is older.
Oil and grease stains on cement surfaces can be removed with a specially formulated degreaser. The degreaser will break up the oil or grease so that it can be rinsed away.
You may have to use more than one application in order to completely remove the stain from the cement surface. Be sure to rinse away the degreaser thoroughly with water after each application.
Mud stains can also be removed using a cleaning product containing sodium perborate monohydrate as its main ingredient. Just like with oil and grease stains, you may need multiple applications of this type of cleaner in order to completely remove the stains from your patio or driveway.
To help prevent future staining of your patio or driveway, consider sealing it with a clear acrylic sealer once all stains are gone.
While cement is generally a durable and resilient material, it’s not indestructible. Here are some common ways your driveway or patio can become stained and how to remove them.
Oil Stains: The easiest way to remove an oil stain from concrete is by using kitty litter to soak up the excess oil. Just sprinkle it over the spill and leave it for about 24 hours then sweep it away. If there’s still a stain remaining, use a mixture of detergent and bleach mixed with water and apply it directly to the spot. Allow this to sit for 15 minutes and then scrub with a stiff brush. Rinse off with water and repeat as necessary until all traces of the stain are gone. [Source]
Rust Stains: Rust stains come from metal items like lawn furniture, bicycles, grills, etc that have been left on your concrete too long without being moved. To remove these stains combine water with either trisodium phosphate or a commercial rust stain remover available at hardware stores or home centers. Use one cup of either TSP or the commercial cleaner per gallon of water. Wet down the area with clean water, apply the cleaner/water solution and let sit for 10-15 minutes, but do not allow it to dry
Baking soda is a gentle abrasive, which means it can help to scrub away stains from cement. Pour some baking soda onto the stain, then spray with water. Let this sit for an hour or two, then scrub and rinse with water.
If you’re trying to remove rust stains from cement, you can make a paste of baking soda and white vinegar to help lift the stain.
Hydrogen peroxide is another good option for cleaning cement patio floors. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water to create a solution that will help to remove mildew and mold stains.
If you’d like to try out a few other DIY cleaners, the best options are lemon juice and vinegar. Both of these work well on light stains, though they aren’t as effective on tough oil or grease stains as commercial cleaners are.
You can also use WD-40 if you’re trying to remove grease stains. Spray it on the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes before wiping it up with a clean rag or paper towel.