Before you start, remember concrete is a very hard material, so you don’t need to be as cautious as your would be with other masonry. Your primary tools will be a power washer with a wide spraying nozzle, and biodegradable detergent. For more stingy areas, you may also consider using a hard bristle brush(but don’t use a wire brush!).
In general, concrete is one of the easiest masonry materials to maintain and clean. The rule of thumb is if you don’t see any stains(dirt, algae, mold, etc) then a quick rinse with a power washer and a light amount of detergent should be enough. Giving your concrete a rinse every couple months will prevent staining, and buildup of foreign materials. Keep the power washer at least 12 inches above the ground, so that you don’t promote the erosion of the top layers of concrete.
When you encounter a tough stain, such as oil, gasoline, paint, you’ll want to scrubbing the area with a hard bristle brush and a heavier amount of detergent. This may take a few tries for minor stains, however it may not work for anything that has soaked itself into the concrete. At this point, you can try a TSP(Trisodium phosphate cleaner) solution, and giving it a rinse with your power washer. This is a powerful degreaser, and should take care of most hard to clean stains.
Once in a while, you’ll encounter a stain that just does not want to part ways. Rust is often very hard to remove once it sets into your concrete. These stains can be caused by leaving iron based tools or metal pieces, that transfer their rust to your concrete slab. For these ultra hard to clean stains, it’s time to bring out some power. Muriatic acid is a powerful acid used to clean tough stains on some masonry. It should be your last resort. I would highly recommend that you get this treated by a professional due to exposure issues.
The last step in maintaining and cleaning your concrete would be to keep an eye out for any cracks, shifts, or erosion. Cracks expand over time, and can cause drainage issues if left untreated. Shifts in your concrete can become a danger to you and your family by becoming a tripping point. And overly smooth concrete, becomes a slip hazard. If you see any of these issues, contact us for your FREE Estimate & Consultation.