Cement drives accumulate stains over time due to leaking oil and other fluids like brake fluid and antifreeze. How do you clean up those difficult stains? There are several different methods you can use to clean stains from your cement driveway.
- Sweep your driveway with a stiff bristle broom. This will remove most debris like moss and lichens.
- You can also vacuum the driveway with a good shop vac.
- Place a soft absorbent cloth over the stain and leave it for a short time. Do not rub the stain. That will only push the stain deeper into the pores of the cement. When you pick up the cloth, a good deal of the stain should come with it.
- Sweep some fine sand or absorbent material like cat litter over the stain with a stiff bristle brush or broom and leave it stand at least overnight. When you clean up the sand the next day, most of the stain should be gone.
- Mix 1 part trisodiumphosphate with 6 parts hot water, Apply the paste to the stain with a brush and leave it for several hours or longer. When the paste is dry, scrape it up and the stain along with it.
- You can also make a paste of liquid detergent and water and use it the same way as with the tsp.
- You can purchase a number of different chemical solutions for removing oil and rust stains from concrete. Be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use safety gear like goggles and gloves.
- Use a mixture of oxalic acid and water.
- You can use a mixture of muriatic acid and water, as well.
- You can mix sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) or sodium hypochloride (household bleach) with water and try them.
- Be careful when using acid or alkaline mixtures to clean up stains. They can cause damage to surrounding surfaces.
- Test your mixture on an inconspicuous area of your cement slab to make sure it is safe to use on the stain.
- After using a chemical product on the stain, flush it away with plenty of clean water.
- Always start with the simplest method first, like sweeping and using absorbents. If those do not work, then proceed to more aggressive methods like cleansers and chemical mixtures.
- Oil and rust stains are very difficult to remove completely from cement driveways but if addressed as soon as they occur, you can usually eliminate most, if not all, of the stain and keep your driveway looking like new.
- As always, prevention is the best remedy. Use drip pans or pieces of cardboard to catch suspected drips or leaks until they can be repaired.
Discuss this and other Home Improvement Topics in our How To Forum