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How Do You Clean Unsealed Concrete Floors?

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Concrete is an extremely durable material. But without proper upkeep, it can get damaged and wear down faster than normal. Cleaning it and making sure it’s in good condition will allow your concrete to be strong for as long as possible. So, just how defensive is unsealed concrete is against liquids?

Concrete is rather durable but porous. Because of this, there are a lot of different strains that can appear. Make sure to identify what type of stain you are dealing with before picking up your cleaning tools, as different stains require different methods of cleaning.

Found in most garages and some basements, concrete is found in just about any home. As such, it’s important to determine how strong concrete is in order to take care of it better.

How Do You Clean Unsealed Concrete Floors?

How Easily Does Unsealed Concrete Get Stained?

While concrete is very durable, the same cannot be said about its resistance to stains.

Concrete is rather porous, meaning that it absorbs just about any liquid. For the most part this won’t mean anything, but it can affect the durability of your floor and even invite unwanted stains. So yes, unsealed concrete can get easily stained if you are not careful. For the most part, though, this can be cleaned.

How to Clean Unsealed Concrete Floors

You can always go over your concrete with either a vacuum or a mop for immediate spills. This won’t clean up stains rooted within, however. For that, you’re going to have to do a bit more research depending on the type of stain you’ve got.

What Cleaners to Use

In general, baking soda and borax are rather good at cleaning tough stains. They can be used for almost any tough stain due to their strength and safety on concrete.

Sometimes you’re going to need different types of cleaners depending on the stain you have. After all, not everything can be cured with baking soda and borax. Sometimes you’re going to need much more specific cleaners, and those require a bit of a run-down.

  • Concrete degreasers are specifically designed to fight oil and grease, as they are a bit of a different stain not normally cleanable with a general concrete cleaner.
Oil Eater AOD1G35437 Original 1 Gallon Cleaner/Degreaser
  • Enzyme pet urine cleaners are not made for concrete only but are the best pet urine cleaners out there for concrete. They do not damage concrete and also eliminate the unpleasant smell accompanied by urine.

What Cleaning Tools to Use

Aside from any sort of baking soda or borax you can purchase from just about anywhere, there are certain things you can use to make cleaning unsealed concrete easier on you:

  • Vacuum Cleaner or Broom
  • Mop or Rag
  • Towel or Cornstarch
  • Concrete Cleaner
  • Concrete Degreaser
  • Enzyme Pet Urine Cleaner
  • Soft Bristle Brush
  • Stiff Bristle Brush

It’s worth mentioning that you will definitely not need each and every one of these tools, as they only apply to specific types of stains. You will want to do more research into the type of stain you have, then accordingly pick what it is you need.

Alongside this, you’ll want to run through a room with either a brush or vacuum cleaner first. This gets rid of any lingering dust or dirt, which will only get in the way of your cleaning.

Cleaning General Stains and Messes

If you spill, say, a soft drink or some soup, it won’t be the end of your concrete. And for general stains, it would be a good idea to use a general stain cleaner. For that, I would recommend Eco-Etch Pro’s Concrete Cleaner.

Eco-Etch Pro Concrete Etcher & Cleaner (1 Gallon)

As it handles just about any general stain, you simply need to apply the concrete cleaner, scrub with water, and repeat until your stain is clean.

Cleaning Mildew and Mold Stains

Mildew and mold are one in the same when it comes to cleaning them but look a bit different. It’s worth identifying just which one you have for the sake of identification, although they have no real difference.

Visually, mildew is grey and white with a bit of a powder look, while mold is green and black while also being much thicker than mildew.

All you need to clean mold and mildew is water and baking soda. To make a homemade cleaning solution, fill a spray bottle or a bucket halfway with water, then add ¼ baking soda.

NOTE: You could always use the Eco-Etch cleaner, but this is a more economic cleaner anyone can make at home.

Cleaning Grease and Oil Stains

Grease and oil both can be cleaned in the same way, with which there are two.

  1. If the stain is fresh, place something above the grease and/or oil to soak it up like a towel or cornstarch. After about 24 hours, remove the towel or vacuum the cornstarch
  2. If the grease and oil stain is a bit older however, it may be better to use a concrete degreaser.. It is straightfoward to use: Apply the liquid on the stain and allow it until it’s dry. After, vacuum or sweep away the chalk-like substance left behind.

Cleaning Rust Stains

Rust can be found on concrete by metal furniture, often found in basements and garages, which is where most concrete flooring is also typically located.

This is where borax can come in handy, as it is an economic way to remove rust.

  1. Make a mixture of water, borax, and hint of vinegar. This sort of borax paste can eat away at rust without risking any damage to your concrete.
  2. Rub your borax paste into the rust
  3. Let it sit for fifteen minutes, then scrub it down.

Cleaning Efflorescence Stains

If you are unaware, efflorescence is when salt and moisture find their ways atop your concrete. Whenever the moisture evaporates, the salts within will crystalize into what is known as efflorescence.

The best way to clean this is to apply the previously recommended Eco-Etch cleaner, as one of its main strengths is the ability to clean Efflorescence. However, you will need a bit more than just this depending on how long the crystallized salt has been there.

TIP: Scrape the efflorescence with a sharp object and see if it can be easily scraped off. If it can, then all you will need is the cleaner. If not, dip a stiff bristle brush in your cleaner and be prepared to scrub away.

Cleaning Urine Stains

Sometimes our pets can make an accident, which can unfortunately seep its way into concrete.

This is a rather simple solution though, as all that’s needed is an enzyme pet urine cleaner. That way both the stain and smell can be eliminated as soon as possible.

Cleaning Soil Stains

For outdoor concrete, potted plants can eventually stain your concrete. This happens because of the water trapped within the soil, eventually creating a bit of a soil stain.

Since soil stains are not very strong, all it usually takes is to run it down with soap water. Should this not work though, try using the ‘borax paste’ found within the rust section, as soil and rust stains are not very different from one another.

How to Prevent Stains on Unsealed Concrete Floors

In order to prevent future stains, it is worth looking into sealing your concrete. Sealed concrete is protected from most any liquid that would go through the porousness of concrete, as well being a guard against mildew and mold. Sealants nullify almost any liquid that would normally damage concrete, making it the perfect protective tool.

If your concrete is outdoors however, sealed concrete can be more prone to damage and premature aging. For this, it could be worthwhile to invest in a concrete coating.

Coatings are only coatings, which only act as an outer layer of protection. This can provide you all the protection you need, without the loss of longevity that concrete normally provides. Despite its high cost, this can be a worthwhile investment for future protection.

Related Questions

Should I Use Vinegar to Clean Unsealed Concrete?

Do not use vinegar, as it can damage the concrete. Its acidity damages both sealed and unsealed concrete, so it’s best to avoid this one altogether.

Can I Prevent Efflorescence Stains?

There is truly no way to properly prevent an efflorescence stain before it happens.

Can I Use Steel Wool on Stains?

Steel wool can scratch concrete, so it would be best to avoid it entirely. Stick mainly to either soft or heavy brushes when cleaning.

How Durable Is Unsealed Concrete?

It’s no question that concrete is very durable. The thicker the concrete, the more weight it can sustain. In most cases where concrete is located in a garage, for instance, that type can support anywhere from one or two cars to multiple large trucks. All of this depends on durability, however, which is something you need to recognize for yourself.