Keeping a house or building clean is vital not just for the sake of its appearance, but also for the health and well-being of its residents and visitors. Yet cleanliness goes beyond just inside the home. Outdoor maintenance of the concrete sidewalks, foundations, driveways and patios are just as important.
It requires more than just raking leaves and plucking weeds. The concrete (or brick, or stucco, or cinder block) can stain over time, experience discoloration, or even rust depending on the material. You will need cleaning materials designed with the right mix of ingredients to handle these issues.
Fervent gardeners and the environmentally-conscious may be hesitant, and it is not hard to imagine why. Many concrete cleaners are formulated with the sole priority of getting the job done. Some, however, also make it a priority to take care of the environment at the same time. In both ways, these products leave a place better than they found it.
Here is some advice on cleaning concrete surfaces with biodegradable, eco-friendly solutions like the NuLook Concrete Cleaner.
When preparing to clean exterior surfaces with eco-friendly concrete cleaners, you cannot simply fire up the power washer right away. There are a few steps you must take before getting started. Without surface preparation, you might cause some damage in your effort to make everything better.
Safety precautions are also essential when working with contractor-grade products. Before you even begin, put on rubber boots and protective gear over your eyes and hands. Make sure that any gear you get complies with OSHA standards.
You should also clear the area that you intend to clean of anything that may get in the way. Some concrete cleaners can be corrosive, so you will want to keep it away from any outdoor metal furniture. The same goes for any debris you see, which can complicate the process. Additionally, we advise watering any grass and all plants around the area. These cleaning products are biodegradable, but this extra step can provide some extra protection.
Tips on Cleaning Concrete Surfaces
Believe it or not, you may need more than a general purpose concrete cleaner to clean specific stains. A degreasing product, like EnviroClean Degreaser, will remove the grease and oils. After removing any oil from the concrete, you could apply some Rust Stain Remover on any rust or even leaf stains (tannins) that you see.
No serious effort at cleaning exterior ground surfaces can be truly successful without a sufficiently powerful pressure washer — 2500 to 3000 psi should do. Please remember to view our Product Data Sheets for specific product application instructions.
Applying Protective Sealant
True deep cleaning is not just about getting rid of present stains but taking measures to prevent future ones. You can keep foreign material from making its way below the surface by applying a penetrating sealer, such as Trojan Masonry and Concrete Sealer. It may be yet another step in this process, but your house or building’s exterior surfaces will look better than ever — and for longer. Protective measures will greatly delay the timeline when you'll need to clean it all again.
What Not to Do
When you think of cleaning solutions that could come in handy for concrete surfaces, bleach and vinegar seem like obvious choices. Both have plenty of household applications, and no home collection of cleaning supplies is complete without them. However, vinegar can leave a nasty and highly noticeable mark that is difficult to remove. We also urge you to avoid applying vinegar on ceramic tile or stone.
Bleach is not nearly as forbidden. It can disinfect concrete if not mixed with detergent, and it can take care of mold, mildew, and spots. Best of all, it can do all this without causing any actual damage to the concrete. However, you must be careful with how you use it — especially concerning other chemicals and cleaning solutions. Its properties may not be compatible with certain sealants and could attack them. To be clear, this does not result in damage to the concrete itself either, but it does remove a protective layer and invite damage from other sources. On top of that, you must avoid applying bleach in places where you already applied solutions that contain ammonia. The mixture produces an extremely dangerous gas.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions from Envirosafe
All of the aforementioned cleaning solutions can go a long way towards restoring the color and cleanliness of your concrete surfaces. You just have to make sure that you take the right precautions, use them in the right order, and follow our advice. Cleaning concrete is not a task that you should tackle with low-effort intent. Carelessness can result in serious damage, or at least a dirty and ugly sidewalk and patio.
Despite the properties that these products have, there are eco-friendly versions available for those who want to protect their lawns, gardens, and the local environment. Here at Envirosafe, our mission is to create, rigorously test, and provide these products as safer alternatives to more common kinds. Visit our online superstore today and check out our massive selection of cleaners, sealers, and more.