9 Best Concrete Cleaners – (Reviews & Guide 2020)

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For the most part, concrete is pretty low maintenance, but it does pick up dirt through the seasons, and sometimes you simply want to make it look great again. Whether the dirt and stains are years old, or whether you are expecting some spillage from your next oil change. Cleaning concrete requires special products that are designed for the job.

With the wide range of products in today’s market, you need to know about the different types of stains to find the best concrete cleaner, to make sure that you get the right product, I’ve put together a handy buyer’s guide which contains all the info you need. In this guide, I’ll show you all you need to look out for and how to decide which type of concrete clean you need.

Once you know what you are looking for, jump into my concrete cleaner reviews to find the perfect product for your yard, driveway, walkways, or concrete patio.

PRODUCTDETAILS
Chomp Pull It Out Oil/Stain Remover for Concrete, Grease, Remover for Garage Floors & Driveways

Chomp Pull It Out Oil/Stain Remover for Concrete

  • Volume: 32 fl. oz.
  • Best Suited For: Unsealed concrete
  • Works on: Petroleum-based stains
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Black Diamond Stoneworks Limestone and Travertine Floor Cleaner: Natural Stone, Marble, Slate, Polished Concrete, honed or Tumbled Surfaces. Concentrated Ph. Neutral. (1-Quart)

Black Diamond Stoneworks Concrete Floor Cleaner

  • Volume: 32 fl. oz.
  • Best Suited For: Stone, Polished concrete
  • Works on: General dirt
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Zep Professional Heavy-Duty Powdered Concrete Cleaner, 40Lb. Bucket, Biodegradable, Dissolves Quickly and Removes Tough, Embedded Soils (R02934), Orange

Zep Professional Heavy-Duty Powdered Concrete Cleaner

  • Volume: Casting 40 lbs
  • Best Suited For: Unsealed/sealed concrete
  • Works on: General dirt, Oil
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Eco-Etch Pro, Concrete Etcher & Cleaner, Efflorescence Remover, Organic Concrete Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Muriatic Acid Alternative (1 Gallon)

Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner

  • Volume: 1 gal
  • Best Suited For: Unsealed concrete
  • Works on: Efflorescence, Lime, Rust
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Sheiner’s All Purpose Cleaner and Floor Cleaner Concentrate - 1 Gallon Mopping Liquid Solution for Home, Office, Kitchen, and Toilet - Lavender Concentrated Formula - pH Neutral & Non-Toxic

Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner Concentrate

  • Volume: 1 gal
  • Best Suited For: Sealed concrete, Indoor flooring
  • Works on: General dirt
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Best Concrete Cleaner Reviews

On Sale - 17% off Chomp Pull It Out Oil/Stain Remover for Concrete, Grease, Remover for Garage Floors & Driveways
 
  • INDUSTRY'S MOST POWERFUL OIL STAIN LIFTING FORMULA: Chomp! Pull It Out uses a deep penetrating formula to lift stains from porous flooring surfaces like concrete and brick. It is effective on oil or petroleum-based stains (transmission fluid, brake fluid, etc. ) commonly found on concrete and paver driveways, garage floors, parking lots, and drive-through lanes.
  • SIMPLE & SAFE: Unlike other stain removers that use harmful chemical compounds to attack tough oil and grease stains, Pull It Out stain remover helps to address these problems safely and simply. Although it goes a long way in removing difficult stains from concrete and other porous surfaces, Pull It Out does not contain bleach, acid, or other potentially hazardous materials.
  • EASY TO USE: This cleaning formula is convenient and easy to use. Simply pour a small amount of the formula onto any oil or petroleum-based stain to cover it and allow it to dry. As it dries, the Pull It Out formula draws out the contamination causing the stain. Once the cleaning formula is dry, you can easily brush it away like chalk dust, revealing a stain-free surface.

If you happen to have a deep-set petroleum stain in your concrete that you want to get rid of quickly. The stain itself is of a small to medium-size, then you don’t need to spend a fortune on a pack of cement degreaser.

What you can do instead to save you some money is to pick up a small bottle of Chomp Pull it Out oil and stain remover for concrete.

This is a product that’s been specially designed for petroleum-based stains. This includes various types of motor and hydraulic oil stains, brake and even transmissions fluids, gasoline, and much much more.

Even if the concrete has a cooking oil stain (common in my household), this product will fix it.

This formula from Pull it Out doesn’t contain bleach or acid, so you don’t have to worry about discoloring your concrete, masonry or bricks. That said, you shouldn’t use this on painted or sealed surfaces as it’s been designed to pull out oils from the porous texture of concrete.

To use this, you apply a small dab of this product onto the stain, let it sit for a while, so it dries out, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a day, so use this if you expect no rain, then you rinse it away with a brush and water or with a pressure washer.

Chomp Pull it Outcomes in a 32 fluid ounce bottle, and it’s a green product, so it’s non-toxic, and it’s also fully biodegradable.

Pros

  • This removes oil and petroleum-based stains
  • There is no agitation required to make this product work

Cons

  • It is a small bottle

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  • REGULAR USE WILL ENHANCE your stone's natural beauty, making colors more vivid.
  • WORKS GREAT ON POLISHED CONCRETE. Honed, tumbled and all porous surfaces!
  • PH NEUTRAL, BIODEGRADABLE will clean & protect your stone surfaces.

Here we have a product that is useless to you if you need something to work with sealed concrete. However, if you have a tumbled stone, honed or polished concrete floors, and pathways, whether this is in your garage, yard, or home, then this might be the product for you.

Say, for example, you have a beautiful travertine hall or a marble kitchen floor. Perhaps you have a whimsical limestone path in your garden. No matter which is it, it’ll require regular maintenance like everything else.

This is where Black Diamond Stone Wash is a great pick for your honed or tumbled stone, it won’t only clean, but it will also nourish it, giving it a great shine. This product can be used on a wide variety of stone-line surfaces, including slate, marble, natural stone, and even polished concrete.

This is a pH neutral product, which means it’s fantastic for general and gentle cleaning, but if you have efflorescence or deep-set stains, perhaps deep-set oily stains, then this isn’t going to do much for those.

Still, this pH neutral formula makes this product safe to use on a wide range of surfaces. To make it even better, this formula requires no rinsing after use.

The Black Diamond Stone wash comes in two sizes, you can get a 32 fluid ounce bottle and a full gallon bottle. This is a concentrated product, so you only need to use about 4 ounces for every gallon of water, meaning this product is going to last you for quite a while.

Pros

  • This can be used on slate, marble and polished concrete
  • Being pH neutral and concentrated formula

Cons

  • This isn’t designed for use on unsealed concrete

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  • Sold in 40Lb. Bucket for easy useage
  • This hard-working, biodegradable concrete cleaner changes color when wet to indicate its concentration level while working
  • The industrial strength powder dissolves quickly and removes tough, embedded soils

If you happen to have a large patch of concrete that is soiled and needs to be cleaned, then you are going to need a lot of products to get the job done, and this is where Zep has you covered.

Zep has a great deal for you, this huge 40-pound bucket of granular concrete cleaner should be more than enough to clean your entire yard and garage and still have some leftover. This 40-pound bucket holds around 5 gallons of product, and the price per gallon is very low, making this a fantastic budget product and well worth your while.

The Zep professional heavy-duty powdered concrete cleaner is a great choice for a wide range of regular dirt and grime. It is capable of removing general stains and grime, and it can even tackle oil and grease stains that have settled in yet.

This is an interesting formulation, and the granules of this cleaner change color when they get wet. They start off as orange granules and turn green when the product is active and working.

To use this product, you should wet down the concrete where you intended to clean with clean water, then pour over the Zep powder and let it soak in for around 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, agitate the granules with a stiff brush and then finally rinse the surface with a pressure washer.

Pros

  • This is a huge 40 pound, 5-gallon bucket for an incredible price
  • Product lets you know it’s working by changing color from orange to green

Cons

  • It’s not effortless, you need to get involved with a stiff brush

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  • CONCRETE ETCHER: Safely etch concrete floors and precast concrete for optimum coating adhesion.
  • EFFLORESCENCE REMOVER: An organic etcher that will remove efflorescence, calcium, and mortar.
  • MURIATIC ACID & PHOSPHORIC ACID ALTERNATIVE: A safe organic acid that won't burn skin or lungs.

Unfortunately, there is no way for you to prevent efflorescence, that’s the white powdery residue that shows up on concrete. It’s just something that appears for many people. However, there is an easy and safe way to remove it quickly, and that’s the Eco-Etch Pro Concrete, etcher, and cleaner.

This is a product for those of you who have unsealed concrete, which is suffering from efflorescence, mortar, lime, or calcium build-up. It’s also useful for dealing with soil stains or rust residue from metal furniture and water.

If you are looking to cover your concrete with a sealer or a coating, you should always etch the concrete first, and this is a product that’s ideal to do that.

This product has an acidic formula that works very well with concrete troubles, but this is also a safe product to use, unlike traditional choices such as muriatic and citric acid. Though you should still exercise caution and remember that you much wear protective gloves and goggles when working with acids as they can cause serious chemical injuries.

This product is very easy to use, it does require agitation to work, but there is no need to neutralize this product with alkaline products after use, you just need to rinse it with water.

Eco-Etch Pro concrete cleaner comes in a 1 or 5-gallon bottle. You can use this product at its full strength, or you can dilute it up to 3:1 for light cleaning. A gallon of this product will cover around 200 square feet, depending on dilution.

Pros

  • This Acid based product is ideal for etching or cleaning efflorescence, lime, calcium and rust stains from concrete
  • Mild, safe and easy to use

Cons

  • This may require a few uses before it can get rid of the more heavy stains

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On Sale - 8% off Sheiner’s All Purpose Cleaner and Floor Cleaner Concentrate - 1 Gallon Mopping Liquid Solution for Home, Office, Kitchen, and Toilet - Lavender Concentrated Formula - pH Neutral & Non-Toxic
 
  • KEEP YOUR FLOORS SHINING CLEAN AND SMELLING FRESH - The highly-effective Sheiner's multi surface cleaner has a long lasting stain resistant. Our multipurpose cleaner is ideal for any types of floors and prevents the spread of germs on surfaces.
  • YOUR ULTIMATE HOUSEHOLD CLEANER, WORKS ON ALL SURFACES - Our product can be used as a kitchen cleaner, a toilet cleaner, or a counter cleaner. It is perfect for cleaning any types of flooring finishes such as cement, linoleum, vinyl, ceramics, or tiles.
  • ELIMINATES TOUGH STAINS AND ODORS - Sheiner's floor cleaner is specifically formulated for cleaning heavy traffic areas and removing dirt and grime from your floor. Our enhanced synthesized formula natural cleaning products target dirt and foul odors at their source even on the most heavily soiled surfaces.

Next in this lineup, we have an inexpensive and general-purpose floor cleaner that you can use on your indoor sealed and stained concrete and almost any other flooring surface you might have in your garage or home.

Sheiners Floor cleaner concentrate won’t be much use for you if you need to deal with efflorescence in your driveway, but it will ensure you can get that perfectly clean home.

This is a concentrated product and comes in a 1-gallon bottle. Don’t let its small size fool you, this will last you a while as you dilute 1 ounce of this product into a gallon of water. The pH neutral formula won’t damage your floors, instead, it will gently clean them, but it will leave them thoroughly cleaned. It may be gentle, but it packs a punch for dirt.

This is a non-toxic, eco-friendly, and biodegradable formula, which makes this safe for use in any environment, even if you have small children and pets.

This I would call a general-purpose floor cleaner, and it has a pleasant lavender smell. So not only will your home look great, it will smell fresh too. It can be used on linoleum, tiles, stained or sealed concrete, Marmoleum, and many other types of house flooring.

Pros

  • This is ideal for a wide variety of indoor flooring
  • An inexpensive well-concentrated formula that isn’t toxic

Cons

  • This isn’t designed for unsealed concrete

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PRODUCTDETAILS
RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover - Cleans Efflorescence, Mortar Haze, Lime Deposits, and Rust Stains. No Odor, Safe for Use Indoors & Outdoors

RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover

  • Volume: 1 gal
  • Best Suited For: Unsealed concrete, Masonry
  • Works on: Efflorescence, Lime, Rust
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American Hydro Systems 2662 Rid O' Rust Liquid Rust Stain Remover, 1 Gallon

American Hydro Systems 2662 Liquid Rust Concrete Stain Remover

  • Volume: 1 gal
  • Best Suited For: Concrete, Metal, Stone, Asphalt
  • Works on: Rust
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Terminator-HSD Eco-Friendly Bio-Remediates and Removes Oil & Grease Stains on Concrete and Asphalt Driveways, Garages, Pavers, Patios, Parking Lots, Streets and Warehouses (2 LB)

Terminator-HSD Eco Removes Oil & Grease Stains on Concrete

  • Volume: 2 lbs
  • Best Suited For: Unsealed concrete, Asphalt
  • Works on: Hydrocarbon stains – Oil, Grease
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ACT Concrete Cleaner Eco Friendly Removes Oil Grease Mildew Stains- Microbial Perfect for Driveway Garage or Warehouse 2.5lbs. Covers 250sqft.

ACT Concrete Cleaner Eco Removes Oil Grease Mildew Stains

  • Volume: 2.5 lbs
  • Best Suited For: Unsealed concrete
  • Works on: Oil, Grease, Animal Waste, Mold
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  • Safer - Non-Corrosive to Skin. Safe for Indoor Use. Zero-VOC Formula. No Odor.
  • Stronger - 70% More Effective than Glycolic Acids, 50% more Effective than Phosphoric Acid.
  • Easier - Ready to Use. Simply Spray or Brush.

Have you noticed that your unsealed concrete or pavers, masonry, or even bricks have started to develop a white powder coating, or they are displaying other non-greasy deposits, then you might want to try a mild and safe product before turning to those heavy-duty acids.

This product is acidic enough to do a fantastic job of making your driveway, walls and pathways look amazing without causing damage.

RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover is a fantastic product that will keep you safe while it works on removing those unsightly stains and deposits. It can be used on both your vertical and your horizontal surfaces. It can even be used indoors as long as the room is well ventilated since it doesn’t contain any VOCs which are considered very hazardous for your lungs. The product itself is non-corrosive to skin. Still, I highly suggest using protective gloves and goggles to protect you from accidents.

This is an easy to use product that you can either brush on or you spray it directly onto the affected area. If you decide to use your pressure washer to spray it, make sure to use an external cleaner intake hose so that the solution bypasses your pressure washer pump and it’s seals completely. Once you are ready to rinse this away, you don’t need to worry about any alkalization since this product can be simply rinsed away with clean water, which will be enough to neutralize the acid.

This is a much safer product alternative to muriatic acid and is packaged into 1-gallon bottles.

Pros

  • Much safer and easier to use for efflorescence and lime deposits than the more harmful acids
  • This can be used both indoors and out.

Cons

  • This isn’t a strong acid, so it’s not very effective on very heavy efflorescence deposits.

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On Sale - 40% off American Hydro Systems 2662 Rid O' Rust Liquid Rust Stain Remover, 1 Gallon
 
  • Removes well water rust stains from most exterior surfaces
  • Rid ‘O Rust is safe for painted and un-painted surfaces, metal surfaces, stucco, concrete, stone, grout, and asphalt and will not etch concrete
  • Easy to use: no scrubbing required

Perhaps you have a large garden or yard, there’s a good chance that you have sprinklers to keep your lawn and plants well-watered. The issue with water and sprinklers is that it often has minerals and iron deposits. When this water reaches your driveway, concrete patio, pathways, walls, and other surfaces, it can result in ugly stains, including rust.

This product is ideal if you need to remove rust type stains and good news! It’s safe to use on the majority of surfaces whether they are painted or not. This is safe for stucco, walls, concrete, stone, grout, vinyl, and much more. Also, it won’t damage metal.

This product is incredibly easy to use; you only need to apply it to the affected area, wait, and then rinse. Do not put this into your pressure washer soap tank. Instead, it should be used in the external cleaner suction hose bypassing the pump entirely. The reason for this is because this product is not designed for use in a pressure washer and could cause damage to your washer pump seals, which will be a costly replacement.

This product comes in a 1-gallon bottle, which is enough to cover approximately 400 square feet.

Pros

  • Ideal for use if you sprinklers cause rusty stains in your yard
  • No scrubbing or any elbow grease needed at all

Cons

  • Will only remove rust, if you have other issues with your concrete such as mold, mildew or efflorescence choose another product

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  • ECO FRIENDLY AND POWERFUL OIL STAIN REMOVING PRODUCT: Terminator-HSD breaks down and dissolves the oil into naturally occurring byproducts of CO2 and water. Other products may lift the oil but the oil is rinsed down the drain or into sewers and retention ponds that will cause environmental problems for your community
  • LARGE STAINS REMOVED: The powder can be spread on large stains with ease. Liquid treatments take too much product to treat large surface area stains
  • REMOVES OIL STAINS FROM: Concrete, Asphalt, Pavers, Driveways, Streets, Garages, Parking Lots & REMOVES STAINS OF: Oil, Grease, Any Hydrocarbon based stain

If you are someone who’s looking for a natural solution for oily stains within your concrete, then you’ll be happy to know that this product from Terminator, the Terminator-HSD Concrete Cleaner firstly doesn’t need a pressure would and you don’t need to use any protective equipment, just time and patience.

Why? Because this product is entirely natural and risk-free. Its effectiveness comes from the microbes it contains, these will feed on the petroleum compounds. This concrete cleaner from Terminator-HSD works on concrete, asphalt, and even porous stone. Though it won’t help with efflorescence or animal grease, if you have any oil, fuel, antifreeze, hydraulic fluid, or fuel stains on your concrete, then this is a great choice.

This product is incredibly simple to use, and because it’s all-natural, you don’t need to wear protective equipment. To use this, all you need to do is sprinkle the powdery substance over the affected areas and then mist lightly with water. I suggest using a spray bottle and not using your garden hose as you only need a small amount of moisture.

Then let those microbes get to work; they will slowly eat away the oily stain for a few days. Every once in a while, remist the area with some water to keep the microbes going. There’s no need for scrubbing, just sweep the area after a couple of days and repeat the process until the stain is gone.

This product contains two pounds of product in a single bottle.

Pros

  • This is a completely natural product. It’s full of microbes which will eat the petroleum and any hydrocarbon-based stains away
  • No need for elbow grease

Cons

  • It takes a long time to completely remove stains.

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  • ECO-FRIENDLY Concrete Cleaner Eliminates Oil, Greases, Mildew, Mold and Antifreeze, Stains from Concrete, Cement, Patios, Driveways, Pavers, Wood, Soil, Plastic and Other Surfaces.
  • QUICK AND EASY APPLICATION, NO SCRUBBING REQUIRED, SAFE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY-Safe around people, animals, plants. Will not remove paint. Bio-remediates as it cleans.
  • 100% GUARANTEED - Backed by Amazon A to Z guarantee. Made in USA. USDA Certified. EPA testing guidelines. 1lbs. covers 100sqft.

If you are wanting a natural and harmless solution, perhaps because you have pets or children, then I highly recommend ACT BioRemediation Products Concrete Cleaner.

It doesn’t matter whether you are dealing with chewing gum stuck to your driveway or a greasy stain, this product provides an easy solution to these problems.

This is a bacterial cleaner, it’s a powdery substance that contains microbes. These microbes will feed on substances such as petroleum-based stains like hydraulic fluid, oils, antifreeze, grease, they’ll also handle mold, mildew, chewing gum, even animal waste.

This is a gentle formula and is rather universal due to the wide range of substances it can deal with. This can be used on a plethora of surfaces, including pavers, concrete, wood, marble, metals, plastics, and more. This can also be used on painted and unpainted surfaces without worrying about damage to the paint, such as discoloration.

ACT Concrete Cleaner is an eco-friendly option. This product is so gentle and eco-friendly that it won’t hurt your plants or pets. It’s also very simple to use, all you need to do is to simply sprinkle this onto the affected areas, lightly mist with water from a spray bottle and wait for the microbes to do their job, you don’t even need to rinse afterward.

This product comes in a 2.5 pound contain, which covers around 250 square feet.

Pros

  • An entirely natural product that’s mild enough to be used on a wide range of surfaces and won’t hurt plants or pets
  • No scrubbing or rinsing required this is a hands-free job

Cons

  • It takes a lot of time for this product to work its magic

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Do You Need a Concrete Cleaner?

Best Concrete Cleaner

Whether you have natural stone surfaces, pure concrete, or stucco walls, it really doesn’t matter. When it comes to curb appeal, one thing that stands out is cleanliness. Your yard and the façade of your home are facing a constant battle with and grime. As time goes on, lime and mortar residues, algae, moss, and efflorescence all build-up, this means an ugly film on your surfaces, leaving your concrete looking dirty and dull.

Concrete isn’t an easy surface to clean. Washing this material is challenging because it’s porous with anywhere between 5 and 20% of the surface, the concrete block being tiny holes. These little holes hold onto the dirt, oil particles, and water, this makes concrete cleaning a tough task.

It’s because of this that you’ll find that your regular pressure washer soap or detergent falls short when it comes to cleaning a concrete driveway. Regular soap scum removes that you might use in your home, such as your bathroom, all-purpose detergents, and even floor cleaners do an alright job on a sealed concrete floor, but for the most part, they just aren’t strong enough to bring your outdoor concrete back to a pristine shine.

Unless what you are cleaning is a simple stain on a sealed concrete floor, then you really need to get a specialized concrete cleaner. When you are dealing with a dirty or oily driveway, you need to use a product that has been designed to tackle the “hidden stashes” of dirt, which has been deposited deep within those tiny holes in the concrete block.

If you notice any efflorescence which is the chalky white salt residue on your concrete surfaces, or if you need to get rid of years worth of road grime, or perhaps there’s an awful deep-set oil stain, your best chance of getting rid of these is by using the right type of concrete cleaner than can deal with these issues and penetrate deep into the concrete block.

If you need to clean something else or you lack the equipment (such as a surface cleaner or brush), there are plenty of useful guides and reviews of pressure washers and accessories in this section.

Concrete Cleaner Buying Guide

How good your concrete driveway cleaner works on the stains on your driveway will depend entirely on finding the right product with the right features. Thankfully you can make a well-informed choice without getting too involved in the chemicals and their chemistry behind the concrete detergents and how they work. In this section, I’ll cover the most important information that you need to know to make the right choice to get rid of your stains and dirty patches.

1. The pH Factor

Concrete Cleaner Reviews

pH factor is all about how acidic or how alkaline the formula is. Depending on where the product ends up falling on the pH scale, it will determine the type of dirt that it’s best designed to tackle. The two most common concrete issues, oils, and efflorescence require cleaning with either an alkaline or acidic cleaner. There are also neutral cleaners that have a pH of 7, and these are great for mild cleaning of sealed concrete floors.

Finally, there are also novel enzymatic and bacterial cleaners; these are perfect for dealing with pet stains and other hydrocarbon and protein-based dirt, which is trapped inside of the porous concrete.

1.1. pH Neutral Cleaners

If your home or garage has concrete floors, this concrete is likely sealed with a top coat, which is designed to prevent dirt from getting embedded within the concrete. When it comes to sealed concrete, you want to be a pH neutral cleaner. The balanced pH factor ensures that all surface contaminants are cleaned without causing damage to the topcoat on your concrete. This ensures that your concrete is kept in great shape for a long time.

If your concrete is unsealed and it doesn’t see a lot of dirt or just needs a light clean, then a pH neutral formula can make it shine. This is especially true, and the job made much easier if you pair that pH neutral cleaner with a surface cleaner machine.

1.2. Acidic cleaners

Using acid within a cleaner can be harmful, but if you use a bit of precaution and care when handling, this is the best way to deal with dirt that’s native to concrete, that being efflorescence.

Have you noticed a white residue on your driveway that won’t go away even after you’ve rinsed it with water? If so, the chances are that you have efflorescence on your concrete. This white powdery or crystalline salt can’t be washed away because it’s insoluble, the only way to get rid of it is to use a strong acidic product. Efflorescence has many underlying causes, but for the most part, it’s caused by water vapor that’s risen from within the slab of concrete, and with it, it brings salts as the water evaporates the salt is left behind. The water which leaves this unpleasant-looking residue usually comes from underground or from water that was used to set the concrete. This isn’t from you washing it, so don’t be afraid to pressure wash your already-set driveway.

Using an acidic cleaner will neutralize the salts; by doing so, you will make getting rid of the efflorescence incredibly easy, it will just require you to rinse it off. Sometimes you may need to do a bit of scrubbing, that entirely depends on the strength of the product you use.

Note: Make sure to neutralize your concrete after acid cleaning and to rinse the arid thoroughly with clean water.

It’s easy to neutralize an acid, you just need to apply an alkaline solution, and traditionally this is baking soda. However, many ready-to-use acidic products often come with a self-neutralizing design that only requires you to rinse with water, so depending on the product you’ve chosen, you may or may not need to use an alkaline to neutralize the concrete afterward. Check the label or the manufacturer’s website to ensure you use the product correctly

1.2.1 Acid type

You need to be aware that there are several different types of acidic concrete cleaners on the market. Traditionally, a diluted muriatic acid is widely used because of its fantastic results, but this chemical is very hazardous and can be dangerous. I don’t suggest that you use a muriatic acid unless you are a professional, trust me this stuff is mean, so leave it to the professionals.

That said, you can get a muriatic acid-based product that’s commercially available and user-friendly, which should work great for you as long as you follow all of the precautions and recommendations. Sulfamic acid is a great pick for non-professionals because it’s effective at cleaning while still being relatively safe to handle.

Lastly, there’s phosphoric acid is commonly used in closed spaces because it produces fewer fumes.

Acid washing can be a hazardous task, and you should always make sure that you follow the directions on the label completely. Also, keep in mind that acid fumes can be very dangerous to your health, the health of your pets, plants, and also any metal objects such as stainless steel.

1.3. Alkaline cleaners

Alkaline Cleaners

You may be looking to finally clean away that grease that’s been on your footpath for years, or you may expect your next oil change to bit a little messy, it happens, or if you’re like me, you spilled some grease when you took the ribs out of the smoker, to clean up this mess you need look at alkaline concrete cleaners.

If you are looking to deal with a greasy or oily patch, then an alkaline cleaner, which is also called “concrete degreases” are the solution you are looking for, you can even get rid of tire marks and tar. Plus, any type of oil, grease lube, and so much more. The alkaline in the formula breaks down the oily substances allowing your to power wash it away.

In fact, you should leave your alkaline solution to dwell for a little while, to let it gnaw away at those greasy stains. I suggest waiting for a few minutes to allow the diluted product to work on new stains, or let the concentrated formula to sit for an hour or even longer on stains that are really embedded within your concrete slab.

Make sure to check the product label for more information about using your particular product.

Concrete itself is actually natural alkaline, so alkaline cleaners are often used to neutralize your concrete after they’ve been cleaned with acid. Make sure to check whether or not you need to neutralize your driveway after using an acidic product to remove efflorescence.

Do keep in mind that alkaline cleaners are harmful to paint, and can even cause damage to aluminum. It’s because of this that you should take necessary precautions to move your care and any aluminum or painted surfaces that might get it the way or suffer from overspray when you are cleaning with an alkaline product.

I also suggest that you don’t use alkaline concrete cleaners indoors, as the alkaline vapors themselves can cause damage to metals.

1.4. Enzymatic and Bacterial Cleaners

Enzymatic and bacterial concrete cleaners are your natural solution for many issues your concrete may face. These cleaners come in many different forms, but the ones that will help you with grease or animal urine stains are very popular and commonly used.

If you happen to be dealing with an oily patch and you don’t want to use an alkaline cleaner due to the hazards that come with it, then there is a natural and risk-free option. A bacterial cleaner is fantastic at breaking down the oils, but you have to use the right product for your stain.

This is because bacterial cleaners are essential packages of living bacteria that feed on a specific type of dirt, for example, petroleum compounds. The microbes that you find in these cleaners typically present no damage to you or your surfaces, your plants, or even your pets.

However, bacterial cleaners take a while to work as the bacteria will physically eat away at the oily patch at a microbe level. Make sure to read the instructions thoroughly before use carefully. Bacterial cleaners usually require a bit of agitation with a brush, a tiny bit of water misted from a spray bottle and no rinsing at all since this product will dissipate on its own after the food is gone, which is after the bacteria has done their job of eating all of that food.

Enzyme cleaners aren’t live microbes, but they are a very useful and natural way to battle stains, though just like bacterial cleaners, you need to choose the right type of enzymatic cleaner for the type of stain that you are trying to get rid of. Enzymes are a natural catalyst that are basically used to speed up chemical processes. There are three different types of enzymes that you should choose from. Lipolysis, which are commonly used for fatty and oily stains, proteases are enzymes that are ideal for dealing with protein-based stains such as pet urine and amylases, which are enzymes that are perfect for carbohydrates or starch-based stains.

2. Diluted or Concentrated Formula

Diluted or Concentrated Formula

Like with various types of pressure washer foam cannon soaps, you can get a concrete cleaner in either a diluted ready-to-use form or in a concentrated formula.

When to using pH neutral cleaners, these are very straightforward, they come in a quarter, half-gallon or gallon bottle of concentrated product that you mix on your own. You can get a spray bottle of ready-to-use solution, but that’s not very cost-effective. Since the majority of pH-neutral cleaners present no danger to people, plants, pets, or objects, you can experiment with the dilution ration to find the perfect and most effective solution for your needs.

Acidic and alkaline cleaners, however, can both cause damage if used improperly, but also need to be strong enough to tackle the hard and difficult to remove stains that they are designed for. You should keep in mind that the strength you will need will depend on the type, age, and severity of the stains you are looking to get rid of.

The majority of concrete cleaners, both alkaline and acid typically come in ready-to-use, but highly concentrated so that they can deal with those set-in stains. Because of this, you should check whether your product can be diluted with clean water if you need to use it on a less severely soiled patch of 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 face with their concrete driveways, patios, or footpaths. It’s really easy to identify, it’s the white powder on unsealed concrete or a white blush on sealed floors.

The problem with Efflorescence is that it can appear out of nowhere, but actually, what’s happened is that water has risen to surface from within the concrete slab, and as the water vapor evaporates away, the salts are left behind. These white streaks you see are caused by a sort of salt, a mineral that exists in most modern concrete.

While the salt is soluble and this problem is caused by water containing salt rising through the surface of the concrete slab and the water evaporating away, please do not worry about pressure washing, you can’t cause or make efflorescence worse by pressure washing concrete that has already set up and is dry.

Normally a build-up of efflorescence will simply wear away, you can even sandblast it away, but there are times when it can be rather stubborn. So if you’ve tried to wash it away with your pressure washer and it’s not helping, then your concrete may need treatment from an acidic cleaner to remove the salt deposits.

However, if you aren’t bothered by the white residue, then leave it be. It causes no harm, and efflorescence can’t hurt the structural integrity of your concrete, it’s entirely an aesthetic problem. However, it can indicate high moisture levels.

2. What do I need to know before cleaning efflorescence with muriatic acid?

If you’ve been dealing with a build-up of efflorescence for a while, then you most likely have come across muriatic acid when you’ve been doing your research. If not, then you may know it as an acid that can be used to unclog blocked drains.

This is a powerful acid that traditionally was used to rid concrete of the white powdery substance, but today you can use milder and much easier to handle acidic products that are just as effective.

Muriatic acid is the strongest acid that you can get commercially, but because of how strong it is, you should be very careful if you chose to use muriatic acid on your own. Personally, I suggest using a professional instead of using muriatic yourself.

Muriatic acid is also known by another name and that hydrochloric acid, which is basically the hydrogen gas in water. You can use clean water to dilute it’s strength down, but you should choose the vessel you dilute it in very wisely. The reason for this is because muriatic acid can burn through many different types of materials, so you should use containers that are made out of glass or acid-resistant plastic. Also, only ever add acid to water, never water to acid, the reason? Pouring water over muriatic acid can cause it to explode and spit acid, both of which are incredibly dangerous. Also, never mix muriatic acid with anything but water.

This type of acid requires a lot of caution during use. It can cause very serious chemical burns, so you should always wear complete body protection, including gloves, goggles, and a breathing mask. Why a breathing mask? Well, the fumes that the acid releases are strong and also dangerous. It’s for these reasons, you should make sure that pets and plants are out of the way when you are dealing with acid.

Also, make sure to keep a spray bottle nearby, which has a mix of water and baking soda when you are working with muriatic acid. Baking soda can be used to quickly neutralize the acid, should anything go awry. Use half a cup of baking soda for every one quart of water for the best results.

I’m going to repeat this, use a professional cleaning company to deal with your concrete, let the professionals use the muriatic acid, it’s dangerous and well worth letting professionals deal with it.

3. Can I use bleach to clean concrete?

Bleach is a very commonly used multi-purpose cleaner, commonly found in the home that actually will help to keep your concrete looking good. Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that bleach will make any difference to efflorescence or oily and greasy stains.

Instead, you should use bleach if you have an issue with mold or mildew. These are common in cement basements, but it can happen outdoors as well, one of the big benefits of bleach is that you can use it on both sealed and unsealed concrete.

If you do use bleach, you should never use full-strength bleach because at it’s full strength, it can be quite powerful and could cause damage to a variety of surfaces. For most uses, you can take ¾ cup of bleach in a gallon of water. Apply the diluted bleach solution with a mop, let it sit for around 5-10  minutes, then rinse it away with a pressure washer.

Do not let your pets anywhere near the area where you are using bleach and if you are using it indoors, making sure to ventilate the room. I actually recommend using a respirator to ensure that you don’t inhale the bleach fumes. Bleach can hurt or kill your plants, so don’t let it run over them or get into the soil. Spray your plants with clean water and then cover them with a tarp before spraying or spreading bleach nearby.

4. Can I spray concrete cleaner with my pressure washer like soap?

No, absolutely not. Most concrete cleaners are very different when you compare them to a vinyl siding shampoo or with any other pressure washer soap. Firstly, these aren’t designed to bubble or foam up to create a lather. Acidic, alkaline, and enzymatic or bacterial cleaners are all different in how they achieve their results, but none of them should come into contact with your pressure washer soap tank, and they certainly shouldn’t go through your pressure washer pump as this may cause serious and permanent damage.

Instead, you should apply these chemicals by hand and then bring your pressure washer in later to rinse these chemicals away.

Best concrete cleaners comparison chart

Product NameVolumeBest Suited ForWorks On
Chomp Pull It Out Oil/Stain Remover for Concrete32 fl. oz.Unsealed concretePetroleum-based stains
Black Diamond Stoneworks Concrete Floor Cleaner32 fl. oz.Stone, Polished concreteGeneral dirt
Zep Professional Heavy-Duty Powdered Concrete Cleaner40 lbsUnsealed/sealed concreteGeneral dirt, Oil
Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher and Cleaner1 galUnsealed concreteEfflorescence, Lime, Rust
Sheiner’s Floor Concentrate Cleaner Concentrate1 galSealed concrete, Indoor flooringGeneral dirt
RadonSeal Efflorescence Remover1 galUnsealed concrete, MasonryEfflorescence, Lime, Rust
American Hydro Systems 2662 Liquid Rust Concrete Stain Remover1 galConcrete, Metal, Stone, AsphaltRust
Terminator-HSD Eco Removes Oil & Grease Stains on Concrete2 lbsUnsealed concrete, AsphaltHydrocarbon stains – Oil, Grease
ACT Concrete Cleaner Eco Removes Oil Grease Mildew Stains2.5 lbsUnsealed concreteOil, Grease, Animal Waste, Mold

Wrap Up

We all want to keep our patios, driveways, footpaths, and outdoor walls clean isn’t all that difficult. For the most part, it comes down to just spraying them with a pressure washer every now and then. Though there are times when you get an ingrained oily stain in your concrete, or natural efflorescence appears, it’s in these times when you need to pick the best concrete cleaner for the job. Use an acidic cleaner for the white powdery residue, an alkaline or bacterial cleaner for grease and oils, or choose an enzymatic cleaner for those persistent pet stains.

I hope that I’ve covered everything that you need to know about concrete and the different types of cleaners that have been designed to keep it pristine. Hopefully, you’ve found the perfect fit for your needs amongst my concrete cleaner reviews. If you have any questions or you want to share your own experiences and knowledge, please leave a comment below!

9 Best Concrete Cleaners – (Reviews & Guide 2020)

Last update on 2020-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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