Dirty Concrete Patio? This Is How You Clean It

how to clean conrete patio

As time goes on, even the sturdiest of patios is sure to get dirty. This is especially the case with patios that don’t have any sort of enclosing or screening around them. Over time, dirt, leaves, and other forms of detritus will settle on your concrete patio and make it dirty.

Cleaning a dirty concrete patio is sometimes time-consuming, but it’s rarely a difficult task. In fact, you have several options on how to give yourself a clean cement patio. Read on for some of the easiest ways on how to clean a concrete patio and complete your concrete patio maintenance.

Pressure Washer

The first thing for us to cover is a pressure washer. This is arguably the most common way of removing stains from a concrete patio. It’s easily done, immediately visible, and you can keep track of what areas are clean.

The first thing you’ll want to do is obtain a pressure washer. Obviously, you can always buy your own from local department stores or online. Many places often rent them out for a modest fee since the average consumer rarely needs a pressure washer.

Using a pressure washer is a simple task. The first thing you should do is clear your patio of anything that might get in the way. Potted plants, furniture, and other such obstacles needto be removed. You should also sweep away dirt, rocks, or other items that could become projectiles under pressure.

From there, you only have to set up your pressure washer. Pick the right hose and nozzle, attach the hose, and make sure everythings working. You should start on the lowest setting to avoid pushback from the machine. It’s also a good idea to clear the system of air by holding down the trigger on your pressure washer.

Make sure that you’re safely using the pressure washer. Never use it on a ladder or any other dangerous footing. Also make sure that you never point it at another person, animal, or easily-breakable surface. Pressure washers can become dangerous if used improperly, so be careful!

how to clean concrete patio without pressure washer

Using Bleach

Another common tactic is cleaning a concrete patio with bleach. Bleach is a powerful cleaning chemical and can chase away most dirt and grime on a patio easily. It’s important to know that bleach can clean more than just dirt stains. Mildew stains, for example, are usually removable with bleach.

However, bleach can also turn dangerous with improper use. There’s more steps to cleaning with bleach than walking outside and pouring a jug across your concrete patio.

As before, you’ll want to clear away anything the bleach could get on. These chemicals are corrosive enough to ruin some things, such as fabrics or weak plastics. It will also cause severe damage to plants, possibly killing them.

Second, make sure that you’re also protected. At the very least, wear strong rubber gloves while handling the chemicals. Long pants, close-toed shoes, and even a face mask are also good ideas. Make sure they aren’t clothes you care about, though; bleach can discolor and ruin clothes.

Dilute the bleach in water – a gallon of water to every 3/4ths a cup of bleach is a good ratio. With it diluted, use a mop to thoroughly spread the bleach across your concrete patio. Tougher stains may require slight scrubbing with a soft tool or another pass with the mop.

Allow the bleach to sit for about five minutes. Once this time has passed, rinse the mop and dip it in a container only holding water. Use this to clean away the bleach from the surface and reveal the bright, clean concrete underneath.

cleaning concrete patio with bleach

Using Vinegar

Vinegar is a classic cleaning substance that people commonly use to sanitize and scrub away. It’s also useful for concrete patio maintenance and removing stains from concrete patio surfaces.

It isn’t quite as powerful as bleach, so you’ll need to employ a bit of elbow grease. White vinegar specifically is great for cleaning away concrete stains, especially rust stains. Pour white vinegar directly over the surface you intend to clean. If you’re using it on your entire concrete patio, you’ll need a lot of vinegar, but the same method applies.

Allow the vinegar to sit and penetrate into the stained concrete. This can take about 20 minutes, but you might need to give it longer or reapply for severe stains. Once it’s penetrated, scrub the area with a stiff-bristled brush such as a deck brush. This is often adequate to remove most stains.

For more stubborn stains, you can reapply the vinegar and repeat the process. You can also mix this method with the pressure washing method. It can make it much easier for the pressure washer to remove stains that it wasn’t able to remove on its own.

Using vinegar is cheap, effective, and has no negative effects on your health. If your concrete patio is enclosed, you’ll want to leave some windows open and some fans on. Otherwise, the vinegar scent won’t go away for a long time.

cleaning concrete patio with bleach

Using Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid is another common chemical for cleaning concrete, though it is less common than others. Muriatic acid is actually perfect for concrete, especially if you intend to apply a fresh coat of stain or other layering. This is because the acid etches the concrete, which is a preparation step to recoat concrete.

To start cleaning the concrete patio with muriatic acid, mix one part of acid to ten parts of water. Let this mixture sit and prepare a second mixture with one cup of ammonia to one gallon of water. With these mixtures made, you can begin using the acid.

Spread the acid across the concrete. Spraying or brushing both work fine, but make sure that you’re using an even coating to prevent uneven cleaning. Wait about eight minutes and then neutralize the acid by spraying the ammonia mixture over it. From there, wash both mixtures away with clean water.

Muriatic acid excels at cleaning away red mud and rust stains as well. Make sure to use proper protection while handling the acid.

cleaning concrete patio with muriatic acid

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda, like vinegar, is another common household ingredient that works as a patio stone cleaner. It’s also a great way if you’re wondering how to clean a concrete patio without killing grass. While you shouldn’t smother your plants with it, baking soda won’t harm plants as harsh chemicals will.

Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to create a paste. With this paste, brush it over the concrete. You can allow baking soda to sit for as long as you’d like and it won’t damage the concrete. 30 minutes is usually enough to get clean concrete.

From there, you’ll want to scrub the concrete with a stiff-bristled brush. Once this is done, you can wash away the baking soda. You can substitute water for vinegar, but the reaction can cause a mess if not done outside.

cleaning concrete patio with muriatic acid

Using Trisodium Phosphate

Though other cleaners have taken their place, trisodium phosphate was once the most popular cleaning substance. This was especially the case for hardy surfaces like cleaning flagstone patio surfaces. It’s another great way if you’re wondering how to clean a concrete patio without pressure washer access.

Like with others, you’ll want to mix the phosphate with water. A good ratio is a 1/4th a cup of trisodium phosphate to a gallon of water. If the concrete is especially dirty, up to half a cup of phosphate is fine.

You can spread the phosphate mixture using a brush, mop, or by simply spraying it on. It’s a good idea to wear protective gear while doing this and make sure the air is circulated properly. The phosphate mixture won’t have to rest for long; you can start scrubbing almost immediately if you’d like.

TSP and a pressure washer work well together as a patio cleaning solution, but you don’t strictly need a washer. Scrubbing with a stiff brush for more stubborn stains can help.

cleaning flagstone patio

Using Kitty Litter

The final method is one that not everyone thinks of, but many have around the house. Using kitty litter is a great DIY concrete patio cleaner for concrete stains. It’s especially useful for removing grease stains. This is mostly because kitty litter excels at drawing out and absorbing moisture from a stain, making it easier to fully remove.

Kitty litter is most effective for newer stains that haven’t set in fully yet. Cover a stain with kitty litter and let it sit for about half an hour. Sweep away the kitty litter and scrub the area with a bristle brush. Using a simple soap like dishwasher detergent here is a useful step. Afterwards, clean the area with water and repeat if necessary.

removing stains from concrete patio

Cleaning Concrete Patio

Now you know how to clean a concrete patio. The best way to clean concrete patio surfaces depends on your needs. There are dozens of different patio stone cleaners. Whether you use chemicals, household items, or cat litter to clean your stain, all of these methods are highly effective. For more information, feel free to contact us or browse our informative blog.

Is it possible to clean a patio using trisodium phosphate?

Yes, cleaning your patio with trisodium phosphate is a great method if you don’t have access to a power washer. It is recommended to use protective gear while cleaning the patio. Here you’ll find other methods that are safer and easier to use.

How can I use baking soda to clean my patio?

By mixing water and baking soda you create a paste. Brush this paste on the patio and let it sit for around 30 minutes. Using baking soda is a safe way to clean your patio. Other effective cleaning methods for patios can be found here.

Does vinegar damage my patio?

Vinegar doesn’t damage the patio and is actually one of the safest ways to clean your patio. How you can use vinegar effectively on your patio is described here.