The best way to have clean concrete is to never let it get dirty, but who has time to periodically clean cement?  Concrete is porous so it doesn’t take long for dirt, grime, oil, rust and moss to build up and make your cement look dull and tired.  Cement can be quite beautiful when it is well maintained, cleaned and polished.  Here are a few tips for how to clean the most common sources of stains to make cement shine.

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Dirt: Water can fix most things, including a cement driveway studded with dirt.  Spraying dirt with a water pressure hose is usually enough to remove dirt from concrete.  But if you don’t have a high pressure hose it is a bit trickier.  You want to use an acid based cleaner and let it sit on the dirt for 15 minutes, then scrub it with a steel broom and hose away.

Oil:  Water again is the answer but this time use hot water with an alkaline degreaser.  The hot water will make the oil or grease lift and float to the surface and the degreaser will  emulsify the oil allowing it to be washed away.

Rust:  Rust is a tricky one as it depends on how long the stain has been there for.  If the stain is new it is easy to clean with a natural cleaner such as lemon juice, vinegar and a bit of elbow grease.  But for old and stubborn stains you will need trisodium phosphate or oxalic acid.  Trisodium as an irritant and can cause damage so it might be best to get professional cleaners in for this one.

 

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Graffiti:  Has some little punk graffitied your cement wall?  After you rage for a bit its again best to get a citrus based cleaner straight onto it, this is great at stripping chemicals but wont work on all graffiti paint.  If a citrus solvent doesn’t work try methylene chloride or potassium hydroxide and let the chemical sit on the strain for a few hours before washing away.  Depending on what chemical you choose you may need to apply an acid neutralizer afterwards.

These are the most common types of cement stains and the easiest ways to clean them, remember you don’t have to be gentle with cement, its a tough material!