4 Best Homemade Concrete Cleaner Recipes in 2022

By
Meg Amy
Meg has years of experience as a freelance writer for both lifestyle and creative platforms. She has a degree in Psychology and Communications from The University of The Sunshine Coast. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge to provide honest and educational content to inspire easy solutions for living a cleaner life.
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Updated March 2, 2022

DIY cleaning for spotless concrete

DIY cleaning for spotless concrete

Homemade Concrete Cleaners

Are you tired of using harsh chemical cleaners to remove the grime on your concrete floors?

We know how hard it can be to find an effective cleaning solution to clean your driveway or concrete patio.

Many concrete cleaners have strong ingredients that can be toxic for you and the environment. But, a DIY cleaner for concrete can be an easy solution for you.

Here, we’ll explore the best recipes for a homemade concrete cleaner. These cleaning solutions are quick and easy to make.

Let’s take a look!

Warning

Make sure you always check with your floor manufacturer to see what type of cleaners are safe for your concrete floors.

To help you, we’ve added a list of floor types that are compatible with each homemade concrete cleaner. We’ve based this list on experts and industry guides.

But, it’s best to check directly with your manufacturer first. Or, you may end up voiding your warranty.

Homemade Concrete Cleaners

These are our top recipes for a DIY concrete cleaner to clean concrete and remove tough stains.

You can use these methods on your garage floor, basement floors, concrete patio, and other concrete surfaces.

Keep in mind that all of these homemade concrete cleaner methods are meant to be used with a mop. But, if you have a concrete patio or driveway, you may want to use these cleaners with a pressure washer.

In this case, we don’t suggest pouring a homemade concrete cleaner directly into your pressure washer. Doing this could clog or damage your pressure washer.

So you should apply the homemade concrete cleaner straight onto your concrete. Then, clean it using only the pressure washer and water.

And make sure you only use a cleaning solution that’s compatible with your pressure washer.

Here are our best concrete cleaners for DIY cleaning!

1. Dish Soap

Dish soap

Dish soap is a kind of detergent that can be great for mopping concrete surfaces such as your basement floor. It’s also an ideal DIY concrete patio cleaner for removing oil stains and loose dirt.

Detergents work well because they contain surfactants. These are surface-active agents that work to break up grease stains and grime on your concrete.

They bond water to dirt and grease to break it up so you can wash it away. This helps to lift and remove dirt to provide a deeper clean than water.

Dish soap also has a neutral pH level, the same as water. So it provides a gentle clean on your concrete without causing damage.

In fact, manufacturers recommend only using neutral pH cleaners on your concrete. So, dish detergent is an ideal cleaning solution for mopping your concrete.

Make sure you follow the dilution ratio when cleaning with dish soap. Otherwise, you may end up with a sticky film on your concrete.

And always rinse your floor after cleaning.

In regards to laundry detergent, be careful using these on your concrete. Laundry detergent can contain solvents or salts that may etch your concrete.

Floor Compatibility

Dish soap is compatible with all types of concrete floors:

Recipe

To use dish soap to clean your concrete floors, you can mix it with clean water.

To do this, mix one fourth (¼) teaspoon of dish soap with one (1) cup of lukewarm water.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is also known as isopropyl alcohol and works well as a concrete cleaner. It’s a clear and colorless liquid that has a fruity odor.

Rubbing alcohol is a volatile dry solvent widely used in the cleaning industry. It’s known as a “volatile” solvent because it dissolves without leaving any residue and dries almost straight away.

You can use rubbing alcohol to dissolve grease and oily dirt, as well as other stains.

And because it dissolves quickly, it doesn’t need any rinsing after cleaning. However, you can rinse it with hot water if you choose.

Floor Compatibility

You can use rubbing alcohol as a concrete cleaner on all types of concrete floors, including:

Recipe

You can use a mild solution for light soil levels. Dilute the cleaning solution by mixing one-part alcohol and two parts distilled water.

For tough spots, oil stains, and stubborn concrete stains, you can use a higher concentration.

3. Trisodium Phosphate

Trisodium Phosphate

Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is an alkaline solution that’s highly soluble in water. It’s an ideal DIY concrete cleaner to tackle the toughest stains such as rust or oil stains.

It has a solid white, granular or crystalline appearance and is often used for cleaning concrete.

TSP is commonly found in soaps and detergents. But, its most common use is in cleaning agents.

Because of its alkaline nature, TSP is an ideal solution for cleaning tough surfaces. So it’s recommended by experts for cleaning unsealed concrete (think patio or driveway).

However, like many other phosphate cleaners, it’s not as commonly used anymore. This is because of its impact on lakes and rivers once it enters a water system.

And keep in mind that TSP is an alkaline solution, so it can be very corrosive. For this reason, you should only use it on unsealed concrete.

Floor Compatibility

TSP is compatible with:

Not compatible with:

  • Polished concrete floors.
  • Stained concrete floors.
  • Sealed concrete floors.

Recipe

To clean light or moderate soils

  • Mix one-quarter (¼) cup of TSP with 2 gallons of warm water.

For heavier cleaning tasks

  • Mix one-half (½) cup of TSP with 2 gallons of warm water.

4. Bleach

Bleach

Liquid bleach is a common chemical for household cleaning. It’s made up of water and sodium hypochlorite.

For general cleaning, it’s usually available with a concentration of between 3 to 9 percent.

Because it’s also a highly alkaline concrete cleaner, it’s ideal for stubborn grease or concrete stains. So it’s perfect for marks on dirty concrete that don’t come off with water alone.

Bleach won’t harm porous concrete if you use it occasionally. However, because of its alkaline nature, it can strip away the concrete sealer over time.

So you may end up needing to reapply your sealant if you use bleach frequently on your concrete. For this reason, it’s only compatible with unsealed concrete.

The CDC recommends diluting bleach for cleaning your concrete (1). This will decrease the alkalinity and make it safe for regular use on unsealed concrete.

But always make sure you rinse any cleaner from your concrete surface after cleaning. And avoid letting any residue dry.

Floor Compatibility

Bleach is compatible with:

Not compatible with:

  • Polished concrete floors.
  • Stained concrete floors.
  • Sealed concrete floors.

Recipe

For cleaning your concrete:

  • mix one cup of bleach with five gallons of water.

What To Avoid

You should avoid the following to protect your concrete floors.

Abrasive Cleaners and Cleaning Tools (Baking Soda)

  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners like baking soda or salt as they can damage your concrete floors.
  • A scrubbing brush with stiff metal bristles can grind dirt into your concrete and cause scuffs, scratches, or dull the surface.
  • Metal particles from a scrub brush can also get stuck in the pores of the cement and cause rust stains.

Acidic Cleaners (White Vinegar or Lemon Juice)

  • Acidic cleaners clean well but will dissolve or etch your concrete over time. This can permanently damage your concrete. So many manufacturers don’t recommend using them because of their eroding impact.
  • For example, spilling soda or orange juice can damage your floor just like battery acid can. So avoid using a homemade concrete cleaner with acid like lemon juice or white vinegar.
  • However, to remove some specific types of stains such as rust stains, official cement concrete and aggregates organizations allow the use of diluted acidic cleaners. Follow strictly the recommended dilution: 1 part acid for 10-20 parts water. Make sure to rinse off thoroughly the solution after treatment. And do a spot test on an inconspicuous area. 

Highly Alkaline Cleaners (Bleach or Ammonia)

  • Avoid using highly alkaline cleaners on sealed, polished, or stained concrete.
  • Alkaline cleaners may not harm your concrete with occasional use, but they can strip away the sealant over time.
  • Only use an alkaline homemade concrete cleaner on unsealed concrete floors. And also, make sure you follow the correct dilution ratio to avoid causing damage.

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