Techniques for Cleaning Concrete

A concrete driveway can be an unfortunate victim to rust, oil, and other chemicals splashed on it from cars. They can make the concrete look unsightly, but there are concrete cleaning methods you can use, so it looks as good as new again.

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Hot Water and Pressure Washing Method

It’s best to use a mixture of hot water and pressure washing with a long-handled brush for stubborn stains. You should always wear safety goggles when using a pressure washer and avoid getting cleaner on your skin or clothing because it could irritate. If your concrete has mildew stains, you might want to try mixing 1/2 cup of bleach with one gallon of water before scrubbing to remove them. Mildew is caused by mold spores in the air, which end up sticking to the concrete. You want to kill them, and bleach is a great way to do it because it kills so many different types.

If the stains are from oil, you can use a more acidic cleaner like vinegar or lemon juice. After spraying it on, let it sit for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing it with your brush. You’ll be able to see if the stain is gone by rubbing some of the areas; if the concrete looks lighter than the surrounding areas, that means some of the stains still remain.

Dry Ice Method

You can also remove concrete stains using dry ice. It’s best as an alternative to pressure washing because you don’t have to worry about water and chemicals being sprayed around your home or driveway. Instead, simply sprinkle dry ice over the area and sweep it across with a broom or a stiff-bristled brush. The dry ice will remove the stain, and you can pick up the ice with a dustpan once it’s done.

The only problem with this method is that there’s no way to sweep dry ice into cracks or along edges, so if you have any of those areas, your best bet is hot water pressure washing. It won’t harm plants growing in your concrete either because it evaporates as soon as it touches them, leaving no residue behind.

Paint or Paint Stripper Method

As an alternative to dry ice, you can also use paint strippers that are already made up. You’ll need a metal putty knife, tin foil, and rubber gloves to complete this step. Start by covering your plants with the foil, and then apply the paint stripper to the concrete using the paint edge of your putty knife. Wipe it off when everything has been covered, let it sit for about two hours, and scrape it out using your putty knife. The remaining stain should be very easy to remove now.


Now you know how to get stains out of your concrete. The best methods are pressure washing, dry ice, and paint strippers. They each have their benefits for different types of stains, but they all do the same thing: clean up a dirty driveway or patio, so it’s as good as new again!