How to Remove Stains on Concrete

how to get rid of stains on concrete

Who can remember what their driveway looked like when it first installed? The next thought that comes into mind is it’ll probably never look this pristine ever again.

Over time, we tend to neglect concrete areas of our homes whether it be the driveway, alfresco and patio areas, pool surrounds or pathways. 

It’s not only until it’s overrun with weeds and riddled with stains that we realise something needs to be done.

Depending on what has caused the stain, it may require different removal techniques. However, this doesn’t mean you should go and grab the most potent stain remover from Bunnings just because it’s concrete.

Some types of concrete do not fare well with certain cleaning agents, especially liquid limestone and exposed aggregate.

In this article, we explain how to remove various stains without damaging your driveway or alfresco area in the process.

How to remove oil and grease

These types of stains are particularly hard to remove and will require you to think outside the box. Surprisingly, oil and grease stains can be removed by rubbing cat litter into the stain and letting it sit for one or two hours before sweeping it up. 

The highly-absorbent litter will soak up the stain. Another method is to scrub the stain with some detergent and water using an old towel or nylon brush. Worse comes to worst, your last resort is to get a high-pressure wash, which usually removes the most stubborn of stains.

How to remove chewing gum from concrete

The easiest way to remove chewing gum is to apply ice on it first and simply pull and scrape off as much as possible. Next step is to apply a poultice created using methylated spirits and leave to dry.

This will turn the gum residue brittle making it easy to remove using a stiff nylon bristle brush. Finishing scrubbing the area with some warm soapy water before rinsing with clean water.

How to remove clay soil and common drink stains from concrete

These types of stains can easily be removed with a bit of elbow grease and warm soapy water. Rinse the affected area after scrub.

If this method is not effective, the next step is to apply a poultice that is saturated with 1 part glycerol and 4 parts water. Allow it to sit with the stain for at least 24 hours before removing and hosing down the area.

How to remove fungus from concrete

First step is to wet the surface before applying chlorine bleach and giving it a good scrub. For safety reasons, make sure to wear protective gloves and goggles during this process.

Alternatively, you can choose to pressure wash the surface and apply bleach and leave to sit for a while. After a few minutes come back and rinse the fungal residue thoroughly with the pressure hose. 

If the fungus or mould persists, you may want to consider using sugar soap. Wet the concrete surface first before applying sugar soap, scrub the surface and then rinse with a quick pressure wash. 

How to remove paint from concrete

If the paint has already dried up, attempt to scrape off as much as possible before applying a commercial paint remover for 20-30 minutes. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s safety and handling instructions, wear protective gloves and goggles and only use in a well-ventilated area. 

After leaving to sit, scrub the affected area to gently loosen the paint then wash the surface thoroughly with clean water. Stubborn stains may require additional scrubbing with an abrasive cleaning powder and brush. 

Alternatively, you can opt straight for a pressure wash.

If the paint is still wet, soak up excess paint using a highly absorbent cloth or paper towel. Do not try to wipe or rub as this will only spread the paint and rub it further into the concrete. If it’s a water-based paint, immediately blot the affected area using a paper towel and rinse with water until all traces have been removed.

For oil-based paints, leave the paint to dry for a few days before using a dry-paint removal technique has mentioned before. Using paint removers or solvents used to remove wet paint in less than 3 days may result in spreading the stain and cause deeper penetration.

Quick Tips To Remove Concrete Stains

  • Stay away from wire brushes as this may cause further damage to the concrete.
  • Be careful when washing oil and other chemical stains, making sure it does not go into gardens or storm drains.
  • Always do a spot test on a small hidden area of your concrete to ensure no further damage is caused by these cleaning methods.
  • Always wear protective clothing, gloves and goggles when dealing with cleaning chemicals.
  • Be mindful when using bleach or other chemicals on decorative concrete surfaces as it can discolour or damage it.
  • Pressure washers are one of the easiest and most effective cleaning methods if used properly. Misuse can lead to further damage caused to the concrete, so it’s always best to consider hiring a professional with experience in pressure washing concrete surfaces.

More maintenance tips here:

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