clean indoor concrete floors

jamtoreadAugust 5, 2006

How do I clean it?

I just started living in a home with "poured concrete" floors..(wording from owner) no carpet or wood.

Its just like the sidewalk or garage floor with a some sealer on it. Lines/cracks (1/4 deep) make 2 by 2 squares for 1000 sq ft.

Dusting or mopping cleans the surface but nothing removes the spots, grease,scum.

The Cracks are worse...Very dirty. Using a knife I have dug out the "stuff". Dirty, hair, crumbs, and I don't want to know what else. It took me 1/2 hour+ to do one crack.

Driving me crazy....

Help and thanks..My first post after lots of reading forum.

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I think you rent a scrubber and a water sucking shop vac and scrub and suck the filth up.....and bill your landlord!
Or call the baord of health and see what the guide lines are...
Sounds like it's sort of living on the street....with a roof and without the rain to wash things off!
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 12:42AM
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I have a problem with this too. I have a bluestone slab at the foot of my fireplace and I cannot get it clean. Someone suggested myriotic acid, but it is sort of dangerous to work with, so I hesitate. I'm going to go to the nearest hardware store and ask their suggestions. Good luck

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 9:36PM
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Concrete floors are not an esthetic shared by all but with the right setting and large area rugs, it can be a great look. The house above is in Arizona where the cool concrete floors make a lot of sense. The owners embrace a very modern look and the concrete works for them.

As for deep crack grime, I would rent a steamer and tackle the crud that way. Here are some concrete cleaning solutions that might work for you. Unsealed concrete is pourous and will absord oil etc.

A Heavy-Duty Floor Cleaner
Here's a recipe for a solution that will remove extra-tough dirt and grime from asphalt, glazed or unglazed ceramic tile, concrete, flagstone, and slate floors:

* Mix 1⁄4 cup low-sudsing, all-purpose cleaner; 1 cup ammonia; and 1⁄2 gallon cool or cold water. Caution: Wear rubber gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area when using this powerful solution.
* Apply the solution to the floor with a sponge mop, using pressure for heavily soiled areas; rinse with cool, clear water for spotless results.
* Dry with a soft cloth.

Concrete is an extremely strong, durable material made from cement and aggregate. Concrete is porous, whether used as a floor in garage, porch or patio, driveway or walks.

Often porch or patio floors will have an extra smooth surface, but it will still absorb stains easily. It may be sealed or painted. Concrete floors are sealed to prevent staining, since without sealing it absorbs stains readily. The floor must cure and dry after it is laid before it can be sealed, with the time required varying with weather, temperature, building conditions, etc. Floors must be clean, and any remaining alkali in the concrete must be neutralized before sealing. Contact a good paint store or cement dealer for complete instructions and materials to use.

Painting concrete varies depending on its use. Latex floor paints react with rubber tires in garages, as well as with bicycle tires, lawnmower tires, etc. The result is peeling. Alkyd floor enamels are more moisture resistant, and normally old up better under these conditions. But they are more slippery when wet. If there is moisture rising from beneath the surface of the floor it may also cause enamel floor paint to peel.

To clean, wet with clear water. Apply a hot solution of 2 to 2 1/2 ounces washing soda or 1/2 ounce TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) per gallon of water. TSP can be found in paint, hardware and home center stores.

Grease Stains: In a garage, it is advisable to place a shallow metal pan under the car to catch dripping oil. Spreading the area under the car with sand or sawdust will help absorb dripping oil. Periodically saturated sand or sawdust should be scraped away and fresh, clean material put in place. This will prevent tracking oil to other areas of cement or into the house. If oil or grease is spilled on porch or patio cement, apply an absorbent powder such as fuller's earth, cornmeal, or sawdust to absorb as much oil as possible immediately. Leave it on stain for a few hours and sweep up.

Here are some various methods to remove grease stains:

  1. Using a stiff long handled brush, scrub stain with concentrated detergent suds. Rinse well with hose. Dry and repeat if necessary.
  2. Sprinkle "dishwasher" detergent (dry) on wet concrete. Let it stand a few minutes; pour boiling water on area. Scrub and rinse. Use rubber gloves on hands.
  3. Commercial products are available in paint/hardware home centers. Some can also be used on blacktop surfaces.
  4. On wet oily surface of concrete, sprinkle with tri-sodium phosphate. Allow to stand 15 to 30 minutes, then scrub with stiff brush and hot water. Rinse with clean water.
  5. Dissolve a cup tri-sodium phosphate in 1 gallon of hot water. Pour over stained cement surface generously and allow to soak 15 to 20 minutes. Scrub vigorously with stiff brush or broom. Rinse off with hose. Repeat if necessary.
  6. Scrub the concrete with a grease solvent to remove as much as possible of the grease stain. Have good ventilation and avoid spark or flame as solvents are flammable. Naptha, often recommended, can ignite, just from a spark from friction or rubbing.
  7. Mix 1 part sodium citrate to 6 parts water and 6 parts glycerin and add enough whiting or fuller's earth to make a thick paste. Spread paste on oil or grease stain. Let stand 1 week. Add new paste when it dries. Flush with water after brushing dry paste away. Repeat if necessary.

Rust Stains : Make a paste of 1 part sodium citrate crystals to 6 parts water and enough whiting or fuller's earth to make a paste. Spread paste on rust stains and allow to dry. Scrape off. Rust should be removed. Repeat if necessary.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 1:15PM
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Concrete "tile look" floors are pretty popular now. In my previous home we had concrete in the living room (meant as a temporary measure after nasty carpet was removed, it lasted 3+ years). DH painted the floor with latex paint and covered with several coats of oil-based poly. Held up great. But we didn't have the pseudo-grout-line cracks you have.

I don't know what your floors are sealed with, but we used vinegar and water to mop with. For regular cleaning though, we just used a vaccuum with a "bare floor" setting. I think that once the "grout-lines" are cleaned out, that you would be able to keep them clean just by vaccuuming regularly. Perhaps a grout brush would be helpful in cleaning out the cracks?

Not sure what you mean by "spots, grease, scum" that won't come up with mopping - do you think that the concrete might have been been dirty before they sealed it? If so, they're there for good. If it's on top of the sealer, it should come off with 409 or some other general purpose cleanser.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 3:01PM
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In a commercial setting, those saw cut control joints you have been struggling to clean out are commonly filled with caulk which would be one potential solution for you. Or fill them with something else...epoxy comes to mind.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 11:21AM
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I have a recently stained concrete floor that has been sealed with a lacquer sealant. It was subsequently cleaned using a mix of water and WD40. The WD40 left a residue that feels like a greasy film and looks as if the finish is dulled. Any ideas on how to remove the WD40 from the floor without damaging the sealant?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 5:27PM
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Would like to paint concrete floors in a house built in 1925 that has concrete fllors. First I want to clean them- the floors once had linoleum over the concrete so there is some type of mastic-tar? residue. Don't really want to use muriatic acid inside. How do you recommend cleaning and what painting technique

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 2:21PM
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Learning how to properly maintain your flooirng can help it last longer. There are harsh cleaning chemicals that might affect the appearance of your conrete flooring especially if you hvae opted for the stained or epoxy coated kind. Thank you for the tips. The given photos above are inspiring!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 6:27AM
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Try store brand "sudsy" ammonia. It's cheap (I paid $1,79 for a gallon, dilute with water) and strong (strong fumes, too). apply with a scrub brush and rinse thoroughly.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 9:41AM
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My entire house is on one level and concrete that has been stained. When I damp mop It dries dull. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2014 at 2:31PM
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Go to a paint store like Sherwin-Williams and buy concrete sealer. It's a clear coating that comes in various gloss levels and is easy to apply. It costs about $50 a gallon, but it will look great and will decrease your maintenance.

Here is a link that might be useful: Concrete sealer

    Bookmark   November 4, 2014 at 2:42PM
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I moved into an apartment that has unsealed concrete floors. What is the best way to clean them?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2014 at 9:37PM
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