Most homeowners clean patio furniture and wash the cushions on a regular basis. But, one thing they often forget about is the floor. No matter how careful you are, it will get dirty over time, particularly when cemented. Concrete surfaces like cement can take a battering as they are exposed to all types of weather, dirt, and debris throughout the year.
Now, wouldn’t it be great if they always look just as lovely as they did when they were first installed? Well, fortunately, there are numerous methods for cleaning cement paths and maintaining their appearance. And the good news? You probably already have all the essential cleaning products at home. So, without further ado, let’s get to work!
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Preparation is the key to DIY projects. Thus, for this project, you also need to prepare the area properly. How? Sweep the area of any loose debris before you start the cleaning process below. Pour cat litter over any standing liquid and let it soak up for about 30 minutes. If you don’t have any cat litter on hand, baking soda will absorb the excess moisture. Plus, all of the methods below will require the use of a scrub brush.
3 methods to clean cement paths with homemade solutions
Cleaning paving slabs, paths, or deckings can be achieved with the use of special patio cleaners. Yet, instead of spending your money to buy them, you can make your cleaners using household and eco-friendly materials and a bit of elbow grease. Below you will find 3 simple methods to clean your cement paths with homemade solutions.
Method 1: Make a paste using baking soda and bleach
Make a typical concrete cleaner using three parts baking soda and two parts bleach to remove stains that have grown over a season or so (for example, after leaves have been collected on your cement paths during the autumn). The paste should have the consistency of pea soup: thin enough to pour over your concrete but thick enough not to run off.
Method 2: Make a paste using white vinegar and baking soda
If you want to make a cleaner that is less harmful to the environment, combine white vinegar and baking soda. Fill a bucket or bowl halfway with white distilled vinegar, then gradually add soda.
Because the mixture will bubble up, gradually and slowly add the baking soda not to overflow. Allow the bubbles to deflate for a few moments so you can check your consistency before adding extra soda.
Method 3: Make a solution of vinegar and water
You will need a pinch or two of salt, equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Then, mix all of them in a spray bottle. This DIY vinegar-water solution is excellent for small soiled spots and will help you apply the cleaner more precisely and prevent it from seeping into places you don’t want it to, such as flower beds or the lawn. Allow 20 minutes for the solution to sink into the concrete.
How to clean cement paths with a commercial cleaning solution
While home remedies work wonders on cleaning, you can, of course, use commercial products to clean your pavers. Here’s how to do it:
1. Make sure the area to be cleaned is clear
Remove any debris, such as leaves and twigs, from the area and move any outside furniture out of the way. If you’re using bleach, make sure pets and children can’t get into the area.
2. Protect the greenery nearby
Be mindful to keep an eye out for neighbouring vegetation. Hose them down or cover them with a light plastic cover to give them a protective layer. Also, by laying down rolled up towels or sheets at the lawn’s border, you can create barriers between the area you’re going to clean and any nearby grass.
3. Use a garden hose
Rinse the area to be cleaned with your garden hose. If you’re concerned about the water draining properly, you can use a bucket of water and a mop instead of a garden hose.
4. Apply the cleaner to the area
Spray, pour or spread your cleaner across the area to be cleaned, depending on the sort of cleaner you’re using. This process should be done with gloves and a protective face mask.
If you have black or rust stains, soak any mixes for a few minutes or up to half an hour. If the stain lingers after scrubbing, you will need a second coat of cleaner. Scrub again after 15 minutes, and then hose it down.
5. Scrub the area using a short scrub brush
Scrub the stains with a short scrub brush after your cleaner has had time to soak. This will release any tenacious dirt or grime that the cleaner hasn’t been able to remove.
6. Rinse the cleaner thoroughly
After you’ve finished cleaning, rinse the area with a hose, spray bottle, a bucket of water, or a watering can. Depending on the extent of the stains and how much cleaner you used, this could take several rounds. Allow the area to air dry, especially if you’re cleaning on a hot day.
Make sure to hose down any plants or garden beds that may have been sprayed with the cleaner and are located near the cement path.
How to remove stubborn stains from your cement paths
1. Use an enzymatic cleaner
If your concrete has stains from pets or other animals, use an enzymatic cleaner. These cleaners are designed to target and break down the protein in stains. They should be applied straight to the stain without diluting any liquid and then let soak in.
On the other hand, such cleaners can take a few days to break down the stains on your cement path, so be patient with them.
2. Use an oil-based cleanser
Non-washable crayon stains can be removed with oil-based cleaners. Apply the cleaner and let it soak for a few minutes before cleaning with a short, stiff-bristled brush. After that, rinse with hot water.
3. Try using laundry detergent on grease stains
If you have grease stains on your cement path, laundry detergent can help you get rid of them. Make a paste with powdered laundry detergent and water. Apply the paste on the stain, cover it with plastic wrap, and leave it to soak for 24 hours. After that, scrape and rinse.
4. Sprinkle cat litter over oily stains
Cover the stained area with clay cat litter and crush it with your feet while wearing old shoes to remove oil stains from the cement path. Allow it to sit for up to 24 hours before sweeping it up and rinsing it away.
5. For hydrocarbon stains, use a degreasing product
Alkaline cleaners, often known as degreasers, can help you get rid of hydrocarbon stains. A concentrated degreaser can be found online or at most home improvement stores. Scrub the cleaner into the concrete after applying it to the stain.
Allow for a few hours of sitting time, or as directed by the product’s instructions. Pull up the stain with a utility rag, clear off the excess with clean water and then reapply the cleaner as needed. If the stain is still fresh, dilute the cleaner. Some stains may need to be treated many times before they are fully removed.
6. Use laundry detergents and bleach to get rid of mildew
If you have plants near or on your cement path, the moisture trapped between their leaves might cause mildew stains. You will need 3 litres of water and 1 litre of bleach. Add around 237 mL of washing detergent and thoroughly mix up the whole thing.
Use a stiff-bristled brush to apply the solution and allow it to soak until the stain turns white. Make sure it doesn’t dry out. You can also try moving your plants to a different part of the concrete patio and letting the sun and air naturally eradicate the mildew stains.
7. To get rid of algae, use vinegar
If you have algae on your cement path, you can remove the discolouration with undiluted distilled vinegar and a brush with stiff bristles. You may also try filling a liquid fertiliser sprayer with pool chlorine and spraying it if you have a wider area affected by algae.
8. Use a pressure washer to clean the area
Pressure washing can clean most dirt and debris off your cement path if you don’t want to scrub or use a cleaner. Keep in mind that while power washing, the pressure is extremely high. So avoid shooting at any plants that the water’s force will damage. Choose a power washer with a minimum pressure of 3,000 psi and a minimum flow rate of 18 litres per minute.
- If you’re using bleach, wear safety gloves and a mask.
- Allow any of the cleaners above to soak into the concrete surface for at least half an hour if you have stubborn stains.
- Clean your cement path regularly and keep it sealed with the right clean concrete sealers. The frequency with which you clean and reseal will be determined by various factors, such as weather extremes and sunshine intensity.
- Wire brushes should be avoided since they can scratch the concrete.
- Avoid using a metallic brush since it can leave metal fragments that rust and stain your cement path.
Finally, a good and thorough cleaning can go a long way in the appearance of your cement paths and concrete driveways. You now know how to clean up your patio by mixing up the right solution, gently scrubbing the concrete, and treating tough stains!