Q: I have an old concrete patio that is still in great physical shape, but looks horrible. What is the best
way to clean it?
A: As a surface that is exposed to the daily wear-and-tear of weather, foot traffic, lawn equipment and other potentially harmful elements, it’s good idea to clean your concrete patio every spring. The best way to clean a concrete patio is determined by how dirty it is and/or the type of stain you’re dealing with.
Assuming that you’re concrete patio doesn’t have cracks, chips or require any other repairs (that’s another topic) there are several appropriate cleaning approaches to consider. In some cases, you might even use a combination of these cleaning options to get the best results. Always start by removing any loose dirt or sediment with a broom or blower.
- For light dirt or stains to a concrete patio, simply mix liquid dishwashing detergent with water in a
spray bottle, squirt it on the desired areas and scrub with a stiff nylon bristle brush. You can
take the same approach with other detergent-based cleaners like trisodium phosphate (TSP) or QUIKRETE® Concrete & Asphalt Cleaner being sure to follow mixing directions
on the packages. Using bleach or other acidic cleaners can discolor or otherwise harm the concrete,
plants and other things around the patio. In addition, using a brush with wire or metallic bristles
can scratch or damage the concrete. After cleaning, rinse the area thoroughly with a water hose.
- For concrete patios with slightly more challenging dirt and stains, mix one-fourth parts vinegar or baking
soda with one part water in a spray bottle and clean as you did with the liquid dishwashing detergent
- To remove extremely stubborn dirt and stains from a concrete patio, clean with a 2,500 PSI pressure washer,
which can be rented at many home improvement and hardware stores. When working with a pressure washer
this powerful, be sure to wear protective eyewear and gloves. You should also consider putting plastic
sheets down around the base of your house and over plants surrounding the concrete patio for protection.
- For the most difficult dirt and stains, try QUIKRETE® Cleaner Etcher & Degreaser.
It’s a safe alternative to acidic cleaners that is strong enough to remove the toughest dirt and
stains. Mix the cleaner with water in a plastic gardening sprayer or plastic watering can according
to the directions on the bottle. It’s always a good idea to test the strength of your mix in a small
inconspicuous area of the concrete patio in case the concentration needs to be adjusted. After cleaning,
rinse the area thoroughly with a water hose. In addition to cleaning, QUIKRETE® Cleaner Etcher & Degreaser is also used to prepare patios and other
concrete surface before applying decorative stains.
Once the concrete patio is clean, apply QUIKRETE® Concrete & Masonry High Gloss Sealer or QUIKRETE® Concrete & Masonry Waterproofing Sealer to protect the surface so this annual exercise is easier in the future. (Keep in mind sealed concrete can be slippery when wet.)