Concrete cleaning is important around your home if you love the clean look of concrete surfaces like I do. If you have concrete walls, driveways, barriers, walkways, courts, etc., pressure washing is the perfect way to keep it bright and stain-free.
Do you want to clean a horizontal OR a vertical concrete surface?
Here are pro-style cleaning tips for BOTH vertical and horizontal surfaces:
HORIZONTAL CONCRETE SURFACES:
Aside from normal dust, dirt and mud, the most common cleaning problem you'll
face with horizontal concrete surfaces is
oil/grease or rust.
Water alone is just fine for removing dust, dirt and mud, but you'll
definitely need a degreaser to remove oil and grease. The fresher the stain, the more likely you'll be
able to lift it! Although there's no absolute guarantee you'll be able to
lift every stain.
So if you see an oil/grease stain, attack it right away. But first, remember to absorb as much of the surface oil as you can with clay kitty litter.
Rust, which can deeply invade your concrete surface, is tough to completely
eliminate. Many professionals swear by detergents which contain oxalic acid.
Remember to follow the manufacturer's
There are some amazing surface cleaners and water brooms available to homeowners which greatly reduce the amount of time it
to clean a large, flat, concrete surface. (A surface cleaner accessory is pictured above.)
VERTICAL CONCRETE SURFACES:
The most common dirt on vertical concrete surfaces, aside from dust and mud, is mold, algae or mildew.
I often see this in areas of the country that have very hot, humid summers.
You'll need a concrete cleaner to really remove this type of growth - and hopefully keep the algae or mildew from coming back.
And there are some very handy and extension poles which will help you
effectively and quickly clean vertical concrete. Always clean from top to bottom, in 3-4 foot widths
MY TIP: Be forewarned that if you're cleaning colored concrete you should
test it in a very inconspicuous
place, first, to see if the color comes off! If so, you'll need to contact your concrete contractor or manufacturer for
specific cleaning or sealing instructions!
It sounds very obvious, but please take an extra minute to make sure all of your nearby windows are tightly closed when you're cleaning vertical concrete! Trust me, it's more than worth it to double-check this! Having a window open just a crack can allow for a huge amount of indoor water damage.
When you're cleaning concrete, you'll want to wear jeans and rubber shoes to
protect yourself, and don't forget to wear your
safety goggles. Never power wash while standing on a ladder, make sure electrical lighting fixtures and jacks are removed
or sealed from water.
Always use your black low pressure nozzle to apply your detergent or degreaser and make sure you allow the fluid to rest on the dirty surface for a few minutes! Follow the manufacturer's directions. Let your detergent do the work, making it easier for you to clean.
If you are using a standard pressure washer nozzle, start pressure washing your concrete by holding your white nozzle 3-4 feet away. Slowly move your nozzle closer, IF needed. Change to a more powerful nozzle only if necessary.
As hard a
concrete can be, it can still
be damaged or gouged by pressure washing, so clean slowly and carefully.
Here's a general guideline for cleaning concrete, but remember, it's only a guideline:
PSI RATING --------- Closest Nozzle Distance from Surface
2,000 to 3,000 --- 12" to 18"
3,000+ --- 18" to 30"
Just a reminder: don't forget that you need to fill in any cracks, and allow ample drying time, before you pressure wash any concrete surface.