How to Clean Concrete Floors: No Special Equipment Needed!

dirty concrete floor with extensive dirt build up

When you hear people talk about cleaning concrete flooring, you often hear words like ‘power washer’, ‘floor machine cleaner’, and ‘floor scrubber’ get thrown around a lot. These are all forms of specialised equipment used to clean concrete and cement floors. 

Now, the question is, ‘do you need special equipment to clean YOUR concrete floor?’ Well, the only way to answer this accurately is to first assess the condition of the floor; if you’re dealing with a heavily soiled concrete floor, it’s best to hire a professional cleaning service that will use specialised equipment to get the job done. On the other hand, routine cleaning and removing stains from concrete is rather easy with a few basic cleaning tools and products. All you need is the right information on how to clean concrete flooring without special equipment and that’s exactly what we have for you today!

What to Use to Clean Concrete Flooring

Stain removal treatment of a concrete floor

Before you proceed to clean your concrete floor, it’s important to know what type of finish it has in order to use the right cleaning products and tools for the job. In general, sealed or waxed concrete requires a pH-neutral cleanser which is suitable for removing stains from concrete and giving it a refreshed look. Harsh cleaning agents or products like vinegar, lemon extract, ammonia, and bleach must all be avoided as they can damage concrete if it is not protected properly. As far as cleaning tools are concerned, brooms, dust mops, or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment are all suitable for cleaning concrete floors. 

Nowadays, most concrete flooring in residential and commercial properties are either sealed or waxed, however, if you are looking to clean unfinished concrete, we have solutions for both types!

Cleaning Method for Sealed Concrete Floors

Man scrub treating a concrete floor for stain removal

One of the tricky parts to cleaning concrete (both finished and unfinished) is that, much like grout lines, cracks and/or saw cuts tend to accumulate dirt and bacteria which can look rather unsightly. Therefore, it is important to closely inspect the floor for such lines of dirt, and clean them manually if found. This can be done before or after cleaning the rest of the floor; post-cleaning is generally preferred as some of the dirt may get removed while sweeping and mopping the floor as part of your regular cleaning routine. This makes it easy to spot clean these fine lines thereafter. The use of an old (soft-bristled) toothbrush and mild cleanser are advisable for cleaning cracks and saw cuts on concrete flooring.

As for the rest of your sealed concrete floor, a thorough clean can be achieved using the steps below to remove dirt and stains.

  1. Start by removing dust and debris with a microfibre dust mop or static broom. The reason why these specific types of cleaning tools are advised is owed to their level of efficiency in picking up dust. A vacuum cleaner is also a good option, however, if you don’t have an appropriate brush attachment with long enough bristles to cover the metal part or beater bar, it is advised against as this can leave scratches on the finish of your concrete floor. 
  2. Even with a pH-neutral cleaner, it is advisable to keep moisture on the floor to a minimum. For weekly maintenance of your concrete flooring, use a damp microfibre mop (preferably a flat-head), and a mild cleaning solution. If your flooring gets lightly soiled every day, remove dust and dirt, followed by spot cleaning stains/marks with a damp mop to keep your concrete clean and looking good.
  3. Every month or as and when needed, your stained or polished concrete floor will need a little buffing to regain its lost sheen. For this, a commercial product is advised depending on the type of finish you have.

Cleaning Method for Unfinished Concrete Floors

Concrete floor after thorough cleaning

A lot of people don’t pay much attention to unfinished concrete surrounding their house until it is heavily soiled from foot traffic and exposure to outdoor elements. In case of a garage, you might even have some grease stains and muddy tire tracks that need to be cleaned up. Before we get to the cleaning process for unfinished concrete floors, however, it must be pointed out that the methods for routine cleaning, and pre-maintenance cleaning are different. Therefore, if you plan on sealing/waxing/polishing the floor, a deeper clean is advised.

If your unfinished concrete flooring is in need of routine cleaning, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sweep the floor with a hard or semi-hard straw broom and pick up the debris in a dustpan. If you're dealing with fine debris, consider using a leaf blower to get rid of the dust from the floor, and hose it down thereafter. This alone will make your unfinished concrete appear much cleaner.
  2. To tackle stains on unfinished concrete, start with a mild cleaning agent such as a pH-neutral product, and a non-wired scrub brush. Dampen the stained area, apply the cleaner, and scrub in circular motions. Allow the floor to dry completely before observing and, subsequently, repeating the step if needed.
  3. Stains which have had enough time to really set in may require a commercial stain remover such as a degreaser or bleach. 

WARNING: Do not use harsh chemicals such as bleach and degreasers on polished, stained, or waxed concrete as they will damage the finish.

There you have it! No special equipment, no complicated steps to follow; just two simple guides on how to clean concrete floors, finished and unfinished!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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