Clean Exterior Concrete Like You Mean It

Don’t despair! You don’t have to put up with a dirty driveway and stained steps. Here’s how you can clean concrete exterior surfaces effectively.

To start, you’ll need a few tools and materials to clean concrete

Depending on the surface area, you may choose to invest in a power washer. That’ll certainly get the job done faster! But for most run-of-the-mill surface stains and dirt build-up, your regular garden hose and a good nozzle (and cranking up the water pressure) should do your concrete just fine. You’ll also need a strong outdoor push-broom, bleach, and baking soda. We would also recommend face protection for using bleach — this ingredient is to get rid of any surface stains. If you don’t want to use bleach, we also recommend a more environmentally friendly vinegar and baking soda mixture below.

Clear that surface before you make it shine

Remove any furniture, plants, and debris at this time. Sweep off pine needles, dirt, and other materials as best as you can. Setting aside anything you typically keep on the surface — like patio chairs or potted plants — will ensure an evenly clean concrete area. If bleach is going to be involved and you need to protect nearby areas or landscaping, you can create a barrier with dense plastic tarp.

Prepare your concrete cleaning solution

If you’ll be deploying the bleach, use three parts baking soda to one part bleach until you reach a “pea soup” consistency. Alternatively, you can mix vinegar and baking soda. The quantities are not as significant, but you want a paste. Because the vinegar will cause bubbling, take this step slow before adding more of either ingredient.

Clean that concrete!

Hose down all the concrete you’ll be tending to. Then spread your solution across the surface with your outdoor push-broom. Get scrubby with it. Pay special attention to any of those problem areas. You may have to rinse and repeat with your solution; give it at least thirty minutes between applications to let the area dry and see how it’s progressing. If there are severe rust stains or oil spots, a home remedy like this may not be totally effective. If you find that to be the case, there are plenty of pressure-washing professionals out there who specialize in masonry and concrete exteriors.

Enjoy your clean concrete — you’re all done!

Cassie Vu

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