Concrete cleaners are chemicals formulated to clean surfaces that have a porosity between 5 and 20%. Concrete cleaners for pressure washers can remove oil particles, dirt, moss, algae, mortar and lime residues, and efflorescence. Concrete cleaners are suited for concrete pathways, patios, driveways, or walls.
Best concrete cleaner brands are Chomp, Black Diamond Stoneworks, Zep, EoProCote, Sheiner’s, and RadonSeal. The advantages and disadvantages of their products are presented in the concrete cleaner reviews.
The factors that need to be analyzed before purchasing a concrete cleaner include pH, and formula – diluted or concentrated. These factors are detailed in this concrete cleaner buying guide.
The best concrete cleaners are listed below:
- Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser AOD1G35437 Original
- Chomp Pull It Out Oil/Stain Remover for Concrete
- Black Diamond Stoneworks Concrete Floor Cleaner
- Zep Professional Heavy-Duty Powdered Concrete Cleaner
- Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner
- Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner Concentrate
- RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover
- American Hydro Systems 2662 Liquid Rust Concrete Stain Remover
- Terminator-HSD Eco Removes Oil & Grease Stains on Concrete
- ACT Concrete Cleaner Eco Removes Oil Grease Mildew Stains
Best Concrete Cleaners Comparison Chart
Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser AOD1G35437 Original
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Chomp Pull It Out Oil/Stain Remover for Concrete
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Black Diamond Stoneworks Concrete Floor Cleaner
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Zep Professional Heavy-Duty Powdered Concrete Cleaner
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Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner
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Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner Concentrate
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Best Concrete Cleaner Reviews
1. Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser AOD1G35437 Original
Oil Eater is a manufacturer specialized in sanitation products and equipment. This brand is renowned in the cleaning industry for its highly environmentally friendly products.
The Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser is a surfactant that targets grease stains and petroleum-based stains present on various types of surfaces. These surfaces include concrete, bricks, asphalt, engines, machinery, tools, tiles, kitchen counters, and even carpets.
The Oil Eater Cleaner Degresser’s core strengths are its ability to remove grease without the use of harsh chemicals, and the variety of areas that it can be used on. This concrete cleaner has an alkaline liquid formula and comes in a 1-gallon plastic container. The high safety levels of this product are superior to that of competitors. This surfactant is biodegradable and can be used in any type of environment, even in septic systems, as it doesn’t contain acids or other toxic substances.
The Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser costs around $14.
The Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser has a water-based concentrated formula that allows dilution in order to make it suitable for light to heavy-duty cleaning tasks. For heavy-duty cleaning, the solution should not be diluted. For medium-duty cleaning, a dilution rate of 1:3 is appropriate, and for light-duty cleaning tasks, such as kitchen counters, a 1:20 dilution rate is recommended.
The advantages of the Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser are as follows:
- The Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser is one of the most affordable products on the market that also provides high-performance cleaning.
- The Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser is non-corrosive and does not contain any petroleum solvents and abrasives.
- The Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser is approved for most non-food surfaces.
- The Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser is suited for both industrial and household use.
- The Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser doesn’t contain bleach or other potentially dangerous substances and is not toxic.
The disadvantages of the Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser are as follows:
- The Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser is not effective if it is used with inappropriate dilution, this is why the dilution chart on the label should be followed strictly.
2. Chomp Pull It Out Oil/Stain Remover for Concrete
Chomp is a renowned brand that specializes in the production of high-quality cleaning solutions suited for a large variety of surfaces.
The Chomp Pull It Out is an efficient oil and stain remover designed for porous surfaces such as concrete, bricks, pavers, and stone. This cleaner works well in eliminating stains from driveways, garage floors, parking lots, and more.
The Chomp Pull It Out concrete cleaner stands out among competitors because of its high-performance levels. This concrete cleaner has a deep penetrating formula that provides great results in less time than similar products. This formula helps remove petroleum-based stains and oil stains such as brake fluid, engine oil, or transmission fluid without damaging the cleaned area.
The Chomp Pull It Out Oil and Stain Remover costs around $20.
The Chomp Pull It Out Oil and Stain Remover comes in a 32 fl. Oz container and has a liquid formula. In terms of safety, this concrete degreaser is one of the safest to use on the market because it doesn’t include bleach, acids, or other chemical substances that have hazardous effects.
The advantages of the Chomp Pull It Out Oil Concrete Cleaner are as follows:
- Chomp Pull It Out has a versatile ‘poultice’ technology formula that makes it ideal for removing a wide variety of stains by using different techniques.
- Chomp Pull It Out is non-toxic and fully biodegradable.
- Chomp Pull It Out does not need agitation prior to use in order to work properly.
- Chomp Pull It Out is specially formulated not to discolor or deteriorate the cleaned area.
- Chomp Pull It Out requires small amounts of product to be effective.
The disadvantages of the Chomp Pull It Out Oil Concrete Cleaner are as follows:
- Chomp Pull It Out is not suited for large stained areas because it comes in a relatively small container.
3. Black Diamond Stoneworks Concrete Floor Cleaner
Black Diamond Stoneworks is a company specialized in the production of eco-friendly household cleaners, that has a variety of more than 30 products on the market.
The Black Diamond Stoneworks concrete floor cleaner is a premium soap designed to protect and maintain slate, travertine, limestone, polished concrete, and more.
The Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine has a natural formula that is very effective in cleaning and sealing concrete and stone, which makes it stand out among competitors. This concrete cleaner contains water, wood-derived oil soap, and proprietary ingredients, and can deliver proficient cleaning really quickly.
The Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine costs around $15.
The Black Diamond Stoneworks concrete floor cleaner comes in a 32-ounce container that has an ergonomic design and is also easy to store. The bottle is opaque, which protects the solution from potential UV-ray damage. This cleaning solution is Compact by Design Amazon certified, which means that the production process has low carbon emissions.
The Black Diamond Stoneworks stone cleaner has a concentrated pH-neutral formula that needs to be combined with hot or cold water. The amount of cleaning solution needed for 1 gallon of water is 4 ounces.
The advantages of the Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine concrete cleaner are as follows:
- Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine is fully biodegradable.
- Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine is not harmful to the user, as it doesn’t contain bleach or acids.
- Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine helps make the colors of the floor more vivid.
- Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine is suitable for outdoor, as well as indoor use.
- Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine is pet and child-friendly.
The disadvantages of the Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine concrete cleaner are as follows:
- Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone & Travertine is not suited for removing dirt and stains from unsealed concrete.
4. Zep Professional Heavy-Duty Powdered Concrete Cleaner
Zep Inc is a company that has become popular in the cleaning solution industry due to its drive to deliver EPA-certified products that measure up to every customer’s needs.
The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 is a heavy-duty cleaning solution designed to remove embedded soil from concrete surfaces. This soap is meant for professional use and can be used effectively on other types of dirt also.
The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934’s core strength is its ability to change color in order to indicate that it is actively working on removing embedded grime. This powder has an orange color that turns green when the detergent is dissolved in water. This detergent works really well in removing grime stains and stubborn grease stains from various types of concrete floors.
The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 costs around $90.
The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 comes in a 40-pound bucket that facilitates cleaning large dirty areas. The grimed surface needs to be watered before the product is applied. Ten minutes after application, the area has to be brushed, and rinsed with a pressure washer.
The advantages of the Zep Professional Heavy-Duty Powdered Concrete Cleaner are as follows:
- The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 is ideal for heavy-duty cleaning tasks due to its powerful formula.
- The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 comes in large quantities considering its affordable price.
- The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 is biodegradable.
- The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 has a fast-acting formula that dissolves embedded dirt quicker than similar products.
- The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 is suited for grease stains that are not very old.
The disadvantages of the Zep Professional Heavy-Duty Powdered Concrete Cleaner are as follows:
- The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 powder formula might turn solid if it is not stored properly.
- The Zep Powdered Concrete Cleaner R02934 requires the use of a brush for deep cleaning.
5. Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner
EcoProCote is a brand that produces high-performance chemicals and coatings. This brand is renowned in the eco-friendly cleaning industry for its high-quality and efficient products.
The Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner is an organic acid product designed for deep cleaning. This cleaning solution is suited for unsealed concrete and cementitious surfaces. This product’s formula makes it perfect for removing light rust, calcium, pollutants, efflorescence, ground stains, lime build-up, and more.
The Eco-Etch Pro Concrete concrete cleaner stands out among competitors because it has etching properties. The capacity of this cleaner to open the pores of the concrete in order for the coating to penetrate and adhere to the surface makes it a good choice for people who want to seal their concrete.
The Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner costs around $30.
The Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner comes in a 1-gallon container and can be undiluted for harder stains or diluted at a rate of up to 3:1 for light-duty cleaning jobs. One gallon of product can cover a 200 square feet surface.
The advantages of the Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner are as follows:
- The Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner is an organic acid that will not harm the lungs or skin of the user because it doesn’t contain muriatic acid or phosphoric acid, which are usually used for these procedures.
- The Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner is versatile and is suited for various surfaces such as concrete bridges and profiling, or brick fences, without damaging them.
- The Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner is 100% biodegradable.
- The Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner will not harm the vegetation that surrounds the cleaned area in case of contact.
The disadvantages of the Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner are as follows:
- The Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner doesn’t just clean dirt but also makes the surface more porous, a procedure that some users want to avoid.
6. Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner Concentrate
Sheiner’s is a company that produces cleaning solutions delivered to hospitals, janitorial service providers, and other commercial users all over the US.
The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner is a non-toxic product designed for professional and residential use. This cleaning solution is also suited for marble, vinyl, granite, stone, linoleum, Marmoleum, tiles, stained and sealed concrete, and more.
The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner is different from its competitors because it is perfect to maintain a clean house, even if it will not be able to remove efflorescence from driveways. This concrete cleaner is really effective in eliminating bad odors, apart from being able to remove dirt and stains.
The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner costs around $30.
The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner is packed in a 128-ounce container and is lavender-scented. This product needs to be diluted in order to be used on the surfaces mentioned above. One ounce of product is enough for 1 gallon of water, resulting in a total of 128 gallons of cleaning solution.
The advantages of the Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner are as follows:
- The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner has a neutral pH, perfect for indoor use.
- The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner doesn’t contain ammonia, bleach, or other toxic chemicals and is safe to use around children and pets.
- The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner is really cost-effective considering the high amount of cleaning solution that results after dilution.
- The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner doesn’t require rinsing, reducing the time needed for a cleaning job.
- The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner Concentrate has a Compact by Design Amazon certification that states that the production of this cleaning solution comes with reduced carbon emissions.
The disadvantages of the Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner are as follows:
- The Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner is not suited for removing stubborn grease stains from outdoor concrete surfaces.
7. RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover
RadonSeal is a well-known brand in the US specialized in the production of concrete and brick cleaners and sealers.
The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover is a cleaning product designed to remove salt deposits, lime, rust stains, and non-greasy stains from unsealed cement, bricks, and masonry.
The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover stands out among competitors because it is specially formulated to be used both indoors and outdoors. This product has a strong formula that is free of bleach, petroleum distillates, muriatic acid, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acids, and abrasives. This formula is composed of Urea Monohydrochloride in a 25%-30% concentration, is 70% more effective than glycolic acids, and comes without their toxic effects.
The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover costs around $50.
The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover has a liquid formula, comes in a 1-gallon bottle that has an ergonomic design, and is made in the US. The evaporation rate of this concrete cleaner is the same as the one of water, which means that the cleaned surfaces will dry in less time than with the use of similar products.
The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover has a 1-year shelf life and can be used by itself together with a brush or together with a pressure washer.
The advantages of the RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover are as follows:
- The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover has low odor levels which makes it perfect for indoor use.
- The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover does not have a corrosive effect on the skin.
- The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover is ready to use and doesn’t need dilution.
- The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover is water-soluble and doesn’t require neutralization.
- The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover can be used both on vertical and horizontal surfaces.
The disadvantages of the RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover are as follows:
- The RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover is not suited for heavy-duty deep cleaning tasks.
8. American Hydro Systems 2662 Liquid Rust Concrete Stain Remover
American Hydro Systems is a brand specialized in irrigation products and everything that comes with them. Special cleaning solutions used in the field are one of the brand’s main focuses.
The American Hydro Systems Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover is a liquid cleaning solution designed to remove stains resulting from irrigation systems. This product is suited for concrete, stone, grout, asphalt, bricks, wood, vinyl, and more. This can be used efficiently only for outdoor surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, sidings, boats, and stucco.
The Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover is different from other types of concrete cleaners because it targets only one type of stain and does a great job of removing it really quickly. The product is easy to use and does not require any brushes or other tools to do its job.
The Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover costs around $16.
The Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover has a liquid formula that comes in a 1-gallon ergonomic bottle. One bottle of product is enough to cover a 400 square feet surface if it is applied with a sprayer.
The advantages of the American Hydro Systems Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover are as follows:
- The Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover is cost-effective, as it covers a large surface by using just one bottle.
- The Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover acts really quickly by removing stains within a few seconds.
- The Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover has a ready-to-use pre-mixed formula that doesn’t require dilution.
The disadvantages of the American Hydro Systems Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover are as follows:
- The Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover’s use is restricted only to rust stains.
- The Rid O’Rust Rust Stain Remover contains acids that can be irritating to the eyes and skin.
9. Terminator-HSD Eco Removes Oil & Grease Stains on Concrete
Terradis is a company based in Australia that specializes in the production of grease cleaning products, targeting stains such as motor oil, petrol, diesel, or crude stains.
The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner is formulated to remove hydraulic fluid, oils, solvents, and fuels quickly and efficiently. This cleaning solution can be used on concrete, asphalt, porous stone, and soils.
The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner is different from competitors due to its composition. This product comes in the form of a powder that includes microorganisms that feed on petroleum compounds. This is why using a pressure washer for this product to work is not compulsory.
The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner costs around $40.
The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner is eco-friendly and doesn’t produce any toxic vapors. The only byproducts resulting from the use of this cleaning solution are water and CO2. This product comes with great results after 4 to 6 weeks of use, with weekly application that requires not removing the product from the surface that it is applied to.
The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner is packed in a 2-pound container. This quantity is enough to efficiently clean a 200 to 400 square feet area.
The advantages of the Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner are as follows:
- The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner is one of the most environmentally friendly products on the market, as it is 100% biodegradable and doesn’t contain any environmentally toxic substances.
- The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner is not irritant to the skin, eyes, or lungs and can be used safely by anybody.
- The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner is really easy to use and the cleaning process doesn’t require any special tools.
The disadvantages of the Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner are as follows:
- The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner doesn’t work on efflorescence or animal grease.
- The Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner requires long-term action in order to remove stains, so the final results are not immediate.
10. ACT Concrete Cleaner Eco Removes Oil Grease Mildew Stains
ACT is a company established in 1996 that has become one of the most renowned eco-friendly cleaning products manufacturers. This brand is accompanied by various certifications that include EPA, USDA Bio preferred Product, and more.
The ACT Concrete Cleaner is an eco-friendly cleaning solution based on a formula that disintegrates oils and proteins to deep clean a variety of surfaces. To achieve an immaculate surface, a few consecutive weekly applications might be required.
The ACT Concrete Cleaner stands out among products that use similar formulas due to the wide variety of stains that it can remove. This cleaning solution is efficient in removing petroleum-based stains, antifreeze, grease, oil, diesel, rust, protein-based stains, pet waste stains, condiment stains, soda pop, bird droppings, and more. The large number of surface types that this product cleans without deteriorating is also what makes it different from its competitors. Surfaces such as concrete, rock, stone, pavers, marble, tile, grout, wood, plastic, metal, can all be cleaned in no time.
The ACT Concrete Cleaner costs around $40.
The ACT Concrete Cleaner comes in a 2.5-pound plastic container, has a powder formula, and covers a surface of approximately 250 square feet if dosed appropriately.
The advantages of the ACT Concrete Cleaner are as follows:
- The ACT Concrete Cleaner is safe to use among children and pets.
- The ACT Concrete Cleaner removes petroleum-based stains in a shorter period of time compared to products that use similar cleaning formulas.
- The ACT Concrete Cleaner is really easy to use because the application is simple and does not require any special tools.
- The ACT Concrete Cleaner doesn’t require rinsing, which reduces the time needed for a cleaning task and makes the process less messy.
The disadvantages of the ACT Concrete Cleaner are as follows:
- The ACT Concrete Cleaner does not provide immediate results, which might be inconvenient for some users.
Do You Need a Concrete Cleaner?
It doesn’t matter if you have natural stone surfaces, stucco walls, or pure concrete – when it comes to curb appeal, there’s nothing more important than cleanliness. But out there, the façade of your home and yard is facing dirt and grime every day. Over time the lime and mortar residues, moss, algae, and efflorescence all accumulate, creating an ugly film and leaving your concrete looking dull and dirty.
Concrete is not an easy surface to wash. The material is porous – anywhere between 5 and 20% of any concrete block are tiny holes. The little holes hold onto dirt, water, and oil particles, making concrete cleaning a tough task. Because of that, you’ll find your regular pressure washer soap or detergent fall short when you attempt to clean our concrete driveway with it. Regular soap scum removers that you might use in your bathroom, all-purpose detergents, or floor cleaners might do okay on a sealed concrete floor, but in most cases they aren’t strong enough to bring your outdoor concrete to a shine. Unless you’re dealing with a simple stain on a sealed concrete floor, you should get a specialized concrete cleaner. With a dirty or oily driveway, you need to use a product that is designed to tackle the “hidden stashes” of dirt deposited deep within tiny holes of concrete blocks.
If you notice efflorescence – the chalky white salt residue on your concrete surfaces, you want to get rid of a year’s worth of road grime, or there’s a deep-set oil stain, your best chance of getting rid of it is finding the right type of concrete cleaner that can deal with that particular issue.
Concrete Cleaner Buying Guide
How well your concrete driveway cleaner works on the stain you’re dealing with depends on you finding a product with the right features. You can make an informed choice without getting too wound up in the chemistry behind concrete detergents and how they work. Here, we will cover the most important information you should know to make a great pick and get rid of that stain or dirty patch for good.
1. The pH Factor
The pH factor measures the acidity or alkalinity of the formula. Depending on where the product falls on the pH scale, it’s best suited to tackle particular kinds of dirt that’s typical for concrete. In fact, two of the most common concrete issues – efflorescence and oils require cleaning with an acid or alkaline cleaner respectively. On the other hand, neutral cleaners (with a pH of 7) are great for mild cleaning of sealed concrete floors. Finally, there are novel enzymatic and bacterial cleaners that are ideal for tackling pet stains and other protein and hydrocarbon-based dirt trapped inside the porous concrete.
1.1. pH Neutral Cleaners
If you have concrete floors inside your home or garage, it’s likely that the concrete is sealed with a top-coat that keeps dirt from getting embedded within the material. In these cases, a pH neutral cleaner is a perfect pick. The balanced pH factor makes sure that all surface contaminants are cleaned without ever damaging it, keeping your concrete in great shape for a long time. Even if your concrete is unsealed, if it doesn’t generally see a lot of dirt or you simply need to give it a mild cleaning, a pH neutral formula can make it shine. This is especially easy when you pair up a pH neutral formula with a surface cleaner machine.
1.2. Acidic cleaners
Cleaning with acids can be harmful, but with a bit of precaution and careful handling, it’s the best way to deal with a type of dirt that’s native to concrete: efflorescence.
If you ever notice white residue on your driveway, and if it doesn’t go away after you rinse it with water, chances are that you have efflorescence on your concrete. The white powdery or crystalline salt can’t be washed away because it’s insoluble, and you need a strong acidic product to remove it. Efflorescence has many possible underlying causes, but in essence, it’s caused by water vapor rising through the slab of concrete and bringing salt along to the surface. The water responsible for this unpleasant-looking residue usually comes from underground or from the water used to set the concrete, so you can feel free to pressure wash your already-set driveway without worrying about causing efflorescence.
An acidic cleaner will neutralize the salts, making getting rid of efflorescence as easy as rinsing it off. You may need to scrub a bit, depending on the strength of the product you opt for. Take note that it’s important to neutralize concrete after acid cleaning, and to rinse the area with clean water afterwards. Neutralizing is typically done with an alkaline formula or, traditionally, baking soda. However, ready-to-use acidic products often have a self-neutralizing design that only requires a rinse with water, so your chosen product may or may not require alkaline neutralizing the concrete afterwards. Check this on the back label or the product manufacturer’s website.
1.2.1. Acid type
There are several types of acidic concrete cleaners out there. Traditionally, diluted muriatic acid is widely used for its fantastic results, but this chemical is very hazardous and dangerous. You shouldn’t attempt to use muriatic acid on your own – leave that to a professional. However, getting a muriatic acid-based product that’s commercially available and user-friendly should work great for you as long as you follow all precautions and recommendations. Sulfamic acid is a great pick for non-professionals because it’s effective, yet relatively safe to handle. Finally, phosphoric acid is commonly used in closed spaces because it creates less fumes.
Acid washing can be hazardous and you should always closely follow the directions on the label. Remember that acid fumes can be dangerous to you, your pets, plants, and also metal objects (especially stainless steel).
1.3. Alkaline cleaners
You might be looking for a way to finally get rid of that years-old grease stain on your footpath, or you may expect your next pump oil change to be messy. Either way, you should opt for an alkaline concrete cleaner.
If you need to deal with a greasy or oily patch, alkaline cleaners, also called “concrete degreasers” are the solution. You can use the degreaser to get rid of tire marks, tars, any type of oil, grease lube, and so much more. The alkaline formula breaks down the oily substance, letting you simply power wash it away. In fact, you should leave the alkaline solution for a while and let it gnaw at the greasy stains. Wait for a few minutes for the diluted product to work on new stains, or let the concentrated formula sit for an hour or more on stains that are already embedded deep within the concrete slab. Check the back label for more information about using your particular product.
Concrete is naturally alkaline, so alkaline cleaners are also often used to neutralize your concrete after cleaning with acid. Make sure to check whether you should neutralize your driveway after using an acidic product to remove efflorescence.
You should remember that alkaline cleaners can be harmful to paints, and even damage aluminum. That’s why you should take necessary precautions to move your car and any aluminum or painted surfaces that might get in the way while cleaning with an alkaline product. Furthermore, you should avoid using alkaline concrete cleaners indoors, since alkaline vapors can damage metals.
1.4. Enzymatic and Bacterial Cleaners
Enzymatic and bacterial concrete cleaners are a natural solution for many concrete issues. These come in many forms, but the ones that help you deal with grease or animal urine stains are the most popular and most commonly used.
If you’re dealing with an oily patch but you’d prefer to avoid the possible hazards of dealing with an alkaline concrete cleaner, there’s a natural, risk-free option out there. A bacterial cleaner is great at breaking down different types of oils, but you have to find the right product for your stain. That’s because bacterial cleaners are essentially packages of live bacteria that feed on a specific type of dirt, for example, petroleum compounds. The microbes that are found in these cleaners typically present no danger at all, so the product is safe to use on almost any surface and it won’t hurt you, your plants, or your pets. However, bacterial cleaners take their time to work, as the bacteria physically gnaws away at the oily patch at the microbial level. You should read the instructions for use carefully: bacterial cleaners typically require a bit agitation with a brush, a tiny bit of water misted from a spray bottle, and no rinsing at all since the product dissipates on its own after there’s no “food” left and the bacteria has done its job.
On the other hand, while enzymes are not live microbes, they’re a useful, natural way to battle stains. As with bacterial cleaners, you should be careful to choose the right type of enzymatic cleaner based on the type of stain you’re dealing with. Enzymes are natural catalysts that are used to speed up chemical processes. There are three types of enzymes you should choose from: Lipolases are commonly used on fatty or oily stains, proteases are enzymes that are ideal for protein stains (for example, pet urine), and amylases are enzymes that can get rid of carbohydrate or starch-based stains.
2. Diluted or Concentrated Formula
As with most types of pressure washer and foam cannon soaps, you can get concrete cleaner either as a concentrated or ready-to-use formula.
When it comes to pH neutral cleaners, they are quite straightforward: you can get a quarter, half-gallon, or a gallon bottle of concentrated product that you can mix on your own, or you can get a spray bottle with the ready-to-use solution. Since most pH neutral cleaners present no danger to people, pets, plants, or objects, you can feel free to experiment with dilution ratios to find the most effective solution for you.
However, acidic and alkaline cleaners can both cause damage if used improperly but need to be relatively strong to tackle the hard stains they’re designed for. You should remember that the strength you need depends on the type, severity, and age of the stain you want to get rid of. Most concrete cleaners, both acidic and alkaline typically come ready-to-use, but highly concentrated so that they can tackle set-in stains. Because of that, you should check whether your product can be diluted with clean water if you’re dealing with a less severely soiled concrete.
FAQ About Concrete Cleaners
1. What is efflorescence, is it harmful, and how to get rid of it?
Efflorescence is one of the most common issues that people come across when it comes to concrete driveways, footpaths, or patios. It’s easy to recognize – it’s the white powder on unsealed concrete or white blush on sealed floors.
Efflorescence seems to appear out of nowhere, but the matter of fact is that it rises to the surface from inside the concrete slab. The white streaks are caused by a sort of salt, a mineral that exists in most modern concrete. This salt is soluble, so water that slowly evaporates and rises brings it along to the surface of the concrete slab. The moisture that is responsible for efflorescence is typically either the water used in the building and setting process or comes from underground. Don’t worry – you can’t cause efflorescence by pressure washing concrete that is already set and dry.
Normally, efflorescence simply wears off or you can even sandblast it away, but in some cases it can be quite stubborn. If you tried spraying it off with your pressure washer and it’s not helping, your concrete might need treatment with an acidic cleaner to remove the salt deposits. However, if you don’t mind the white residue, there’s nothing to worry about because efflorescence can’t hurt the structural integrity of your concrete – it’s a purely aesthetic problem, though it may indicate high moisture levels.
2. What do I need to know before cleaning efflorescence with muriatic acid?
If you’ve been dealing with efflorescence for a while, you probably already came across muriatic acid during your research. If not, you might know it as the acid that is used to unclog drains. This powerful acid is traditionally used to rid your yard concrete of the white powdery substance, but today you can get easier to use, milder acidic product that is just as effective. In fact, muriatic acid is the strongest commercially available acid. Because of its great strength, you should be very careful if you choose to try muriatic acid out on your own.
Muriatic acid is otherwise known as hydrochloric acid, and in essence, it’s hydrogen gas in water. You can use clean water to dilute it, but you should choose the vessel you use wisely because muriatic acid can burn through many types of material. You can use containers made of glass or acid-resistant type of plastic. Also, make sure to always add acid to water and not the other way round, because pouring water over muriatic acid can cause it to explode and spit acid, not unlike hot cooking oil. Never mix muriatic acid with anything other than water.
This type of acid requires caution during use. It can cause serious chemical burns on your skin, so you should always use complete body protection, including gloves, goggles, and a breathing mask. A breathing mask is necessary since the acid releases strong fumes. For the same reason, you should make sure that pets and plants are out of the way while you’re dealing with the acid.
Finally, make sure to always have a spray bottle with a mix of water and baking soda nearby when working with muriatic acid. Baking soda can be used to quickly neutralize the acid if something goes awry. Use half a cup of baking soda in one quart of water for the best results.
3. Can I use bleach to clean concrete?
Bleach is a commonly used, multi-purpose house cleaner that can also help you keep your cement looking good. However, bleach is unlikely to get rid of efflorescence or oily and greasy stains. Instead, you should opt for bleach if you have an issue with mold or mildew. This is quite common in cement basements, but it can also happen on outdoor concrete as well. The benefit of bleach is that you can use it on both unsealed and sealed concrete.
You should never use full-strength bleach because it’s quite powerful and can cause damage to many different kinds of surfaces. For most uses, it’s sufficient to use ¾ of a cup liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water. Apply bleach with a mop, let it sit for five to ten minutes, and then rinse with a pressure washer.
Make sure your pets are away from the area where you use bleach and ventilate the room well if you’re using bleach indoors (a respirator is recommended). Bleach can hurt or kill your plants, so don’t let it pour over them or get into the soil. Spray your plants with clean water and cover them with a tarp before spraying bleach nearby.
4. Can I spray concrete cleaner with my pressure washer like soap?
No. In fact, most concrete cleaners are very different compared to, for example, vinyl siding shampoo or any other pressure washer soap. First off, they aren’t designed to bubble up and create lather. Acidic, alkaline, and enzymatic or bacterial cleaners are all different, but none of them should come in touch with your pressure washer soap tank, and especially not go through your pressure washer pump since they may cause serious damage.
Instead, the role of your pressure washer when cleaning your concrete comes later, when it’s time to rinse. You should do everything before that by hand.
Keeping your concrete driveways, patios, footpaths, and outdoor walls are not all that complex – for the most part, it’s enough just to spray them with a pressure washer once in a while. However, once you get an oily stain ingrained in concrete, or if natural efflorescence appears, you need to know the answer to the question of what is the best concrete cleaner. Use an acidic cleaner for white powdery residue, an alkaline or bacterial cleaner for oils and grease, or pick an enzymatic cleaner for pet stains that simply won’t go away.
We hope we covered everything you need to know about concrete and the cleaners designed for it, and that you find a perfect fit among our concrete cleaner reviews.
If you need to clean something else, or you lack some equipment, there are plenty of useful guides and reviews of pressure washers and accessories here.