Because concrete is such a durable and easy-to-maintain flooring surface, many commercial facilities are opting to stain and/or polish the concrete slab and to use it as the flooring surface instead of another type of traditional flooring. Concrete is non-flammable and very hard to break, making it perfect for commercial applications.
In addition, concrete is easy to clean compared to other materials. It doesn’t stain as easily as wood and has no grout lines that get dirty like tile. However, while concrete is hard to stain, it can happen and it’s important to know how to clean concrete, both for appearance and sanity.
These cleaning methods are best on stains like grease, oil, spilled food, and other more natural stains. When you start removing stains from stronger substances, like other chemicals or paint, the required list of tools needed can get more dangerous and depends a lot on the type of concrete you have.
When dealing with those types of stains, it is best to find out what your concrete provider says to do specifically, especially if you have polished concrete.
- Regularly sweeping and mopping your concrete keeps the necessary deep cleaning to a minimum. Using a vacuum is also very effective, especially in corners and other hard-to-sweep areas.
- Using a neutral pH cleaner when mopping can help remove small stains. Just make sure that your concrete doesn’t have any sealers applied that react poorly to pH cleaners.
- Remember to always check your concrete type and your sealers/polishers (if you have any) before using chemicals to ensure that negative reactions do not occur.
You can incorporate these tips into your nightly janitorial cleaning regimen.
Unpolished concrete is stained much more easily than unpolished concrete, so the cleaning is a little bit more rough. There are a few methods you can use to clean this type of concrete.
- Toss sawdust or cat litter over any oil or grease spots on the concrete and leave overnight. The next day, sweep up all the absorber and then vacuum and/or dust mop to remove all other particles.
- Sprinkle powder dish detergent over the stain(s) and let it sit for 45 minutes. If the stain is dry, sprinkle it with water until moistened first.
- Boil water and pour it on the detergent after 45 minutes. Scrub the stain with a stiff brush, and then mop with clear water.
- Mix 2 ounces of washing soda with 1 gallon of hot water in a bucket and then mop the entire floor with the mix. After, mop the whole floor a second time with clear water to remove all solutions and dry with cloth.
- Sweep and vacuum the floor. Mix flour and hydrogen peroxide into a paste that resembles peanut butter and then spread over the stained area. Let it sit overnight, and then scrape off with a plastic-edge tool. This is a more natural solution that others.
- Sweep and vacuum the floor. Mix Trisodium phosphate (TSP) with water and use a nylon bristle brush to scrub the stain with the mixture until the stain is gone. After scrubbed, rinse the floor with water.
Polished concrete is a more popular choice because it is much harder to stain, however the polish means that you have to be more careful about what cleaning tools to use, so you don’t ruin the finish or cause a bad reaction.
Unfortunately, for polished flooring there is not a whole lot of general stain removing information that applies to all polished concrete because of the different types of polish and the different chemicals used in individual polishers. Always look at the information about your polisher either online or in your handbook before diving into cleaning because instructions very so much.
General Information for Polished Concrete
- It is recommended that you do not use substances like ammonia, bleach, vinegar or any other highly acidic chemicals. Stick to dish soaps, detergents, stone cleaners, and other gentle cleansers – only neutral pH cleaners. Do not let these cleaners sit for long and make sure you clean them off the floor thoroughly.
- Sweep your floor first. Use a mop to spread a safe cleaner around your floor, then rinse with water.
- Some polished concrete floors can withstand the TSP and water mix to remove stains, however it isn’t a given. Make sure to check your polisher’s handbook.
With these methods you can remove almost any stain, from oil to grease to stains from spilled food. Always be careful when cleaning with chemicals, especially if you need to remove stains from your concrete that are chemical-based themselves and call for special cleaners (like paint.) Stay safe when stain cleaning, and if you need help for a commercial facility, look for a nightly janitorial cleaning company that specializes in cleaning various flooring surfaces.