The concrete in your driveway or garage might not be something you think about often, but an unsightly stain can grow into an intolerable eyesore over time. A small oil leak in your car can blemish your home’s curb appeal. Even the products you use to shine your tires leave marks.
When things like this happen, you need a way to get that concrete looking new again. Fortunately, there are several options. We’ve sorted through what’s available to find the best concrete cleaners for everyday use. Some feature formulas targeted at specific stains, while others are up to just about any challenge. Read on to see how you can freshen up your concrete.
The Best Concrete Cleaners
Simple Green Pro HD Heavy Duty Cleaner Concentrate has made a name for itself by providing effective cleaning compounds that are easy on the environment. This professional-grade concrete cleaner comes as a concentrate that, when diluted with water, yields 14 gallons. It cleans oil, grease, and other sticky messes with a non-corrosive chemical formula. This versatile cleaner is safe on a wide range of surfaces, so it can be used on and around porches and grass without risking damage.
Purchasing cleaners as concentrates is much more economical than buying ready-mixed alternatives, so this is a great way to clean large areas at a reasonable price. For best results, use this product with a pressure washer and power scrubber to remove stubborn stains.
- Large, 1-gallon container for multiple jobs will yield 14 gallons of product
- Multi-surface cleaner
- Biodegradable, safe for the environment
- Good for Indoor/Outdoor use
- Brand Simple Green
- Model Pro HD
- Weight 9.38 pounds
Safe for pets and children
Sold as an economical concentrate solution
Can be used in multiple cleaner
Not the best choice for grease or oil
Not as effective as harsher chemicals
May need to dilute it less than the manufacturer recommends for it to be truly effective
The easy-to-use Scotts Outdoor Cleaner takes the guesswork out of mixing concentrates. Just attach this bottle to your garden hose and spray a thorough coating evenly over the affected area of your driveway. The formula is designed to mix with the water as it passes through to create an effective concentration. Once it’s applied, scrub the entire area with a stiff brush or broom, then rinse clean. This outdoor cleaner is safe to use near plants. It is also appropriate to use on wood, vinyl, and brick surfaces.
The garden attachment is not meant to be refilled, so you’ll need to replace it rather than refilling it with concentrate. This option can be purchased in several sizes and styles of container to suit your needs.
- Non-toxic cleaner for concrete, siding, wood, composite
- Safe to use around plants and grass
- Includes Oxy-Clean for added stain removal benefits
- For stains caused by mold, mildew, algae, and moss
- Brand Scotts
- Model 32-ounce concentrate
- Weight 2.4 pounds
Attaches to your garden hose for easy spray application
Bleach-free without any heavy chemical smell
Effective for multiple surfaces
Not a large amount of product
Doesn’t work for grease stains
Some concern over effectiveness on tough stains
Break up difficult rust and mineral accumulation on your driveway or in your garage with CLR PRO Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover. This product has long been used to clean plumbing, but its powerful compound makes it great for cleaning up rust spots left on concrete by older cars. Because it was created for plumbing applications, it is safe to rinse and will not harm septic tanks. In addition to being a capable concrete cleaner, this product has many uses around the house. You’ll likely use up this one-gallon bottle before you realize it. This is not a concentrate, so use it at full strength for the best results.
We appreciate that the manufacturer makes it easy to access safety information and material safety data sheets. (If rust on your vehicle is an issue, check out our favorite rust removers for automobiles here.)
- USDA certified Biobased cleaner
- Bleach-, ammonia-, phosphorus-free
- Safe for septic systems
- Pre-diluted and ready to use straight out of the bottle
- Brand CLR
- Model Pro
- Weight 9 pounds
Produced by a women-owned company
Environmentally safe for plants, children, and pets
Approved for food-grade surfaces
Not as strong as harsh chemical cleaners
A little pricey compared to some other cleaners
Not as effective on hard water deposits as other cleaners
If oil stains are a problem for you, the Oil Eater Original Degreaser might be just what you need. This concrete cleaner is specifically designed to break up and remove oil stains from hard and fabric. The water-based, biodegradable formula works without harsh acids or abrasives, so it’s gentle on everything but oil. A dilution chart on the bottle indicates how strongly to mix this concentrate for various applications.
In addition to cleaning concrete floors and automotive parts, this cleaner is safe to use as a spot cleaner prior to washing laundry. It can even be used to clean cooking grease from grill grates. The biodegradable formula makes for safe, easy cleanup — just rinse away with a hose.
- 1-gallon of concentrated cleaner
- Water-based solvent
- Multi-surface cleaner
- Brand Oil Eater
- Model Original
- Weight 9.5 pounds
Non-toxic and safe for the environment
Can be used straight 1:1 for tougher jobs
Excellent price point
Not for use on food-grade surfaces
Some concern over the product’s effectiveness on garage floors
Not as strong as harsh chemicals
Of all the options on this list, the Wet and Forget Stain Remover is the easiest to use. This cleaner is mild enough that it does not need to be rinsed. Just spray it evenly over your concrete surface, and let it remove mold and moss as it dries. No scrubbing or pressure washing is required. The gentle formula is also environmentally friendly, so you don’t have to worry about overspray getting on your lawn.
While very effective at removing mold from concrete, this cleaner is not intended to remove oil stains. Those who live in humid, shady areas will love its ability to keep concrete driveways and walkways from turning green. You will need to purchase a sprayer bottle separately.
- Bleach-free, non-caustic cleaner
- Safe for environment, kids, and pets
- 1-gallon concentrate yields 6 gallons of product
- Touchless spray-on formula
- Brand Wet And Forget
- Model WAF800006
- Weight 7.98 pounds
No rinsing required
Super easy application process
Non-toxic, but kills mold and mildew
Only good for outdoor use
Not effective on grease stains
Can require frequent reapplication
If you’re looking for a straightforward and easy-to-use oil and stain remover that’s perfect for garage floors and driveways, consider the Chomp Pull It Out Oil/Stain Remover. This is one of the industry’s most powerful stain lifters. It uses a deeply penetrating, yet safe formula to pull stains and oil out of porous surfaces, making it an ideal choice for your driveway, brick walkways, and garage floor. It’s even been successfully used on parking lots and drive-through lanes. This cleaner is very easy to use, you just pour enough of the cleaner onto any petroleum or oil-based stain to completely cover it, and wait for it to dry.
The cleaning formula will draw out the contaminants and will dry into a powder-like substance that is easily brushed or swept away to reveal a pristine surface underneath. (Read up on our recommended steps to clean your garage floor here.)
- Bleach-free, non-caustic cleaner
- Uses a stain-lifting formula
- Effective for petroleum and oil-based stains
- Comes premixed, ready to use
- Brand Chomp
- Model Pull It Out
- Weight 2 pounds
No rinsing required
Super easy application process
No dilution needed
Only good for outdoor use
Only effective on oil-based stains
Small amount in the bottle
Our pick for the best enzymatic concrete cleaner is the EXIMO Waterless Concrete Cleaner. This cleaner is available in 0.75, 3, and 36-pound bags and it uses active microbes to attack and break down hydrocarbon chains found in oil and petroleum-based contaminants. It will effectively remove stains caused by diesel, gasoline, grease, oil, and more. Even better, this concrete cleaner is completely natural, so it’s safe for animals, people, and surrounding plant life. It’s an excellent multi-purpose cleaner that can work efficiently and effectively on concrete patios, driveways, sidewalks, stairs, pavers, parking lots, and more. Super easy to apply, you just spread it on the surface you want to be cleaned and leave it on there to go to work. You don’t even need to sweep it up or rinse it off.
- Available in 0.75, 3, and 36-pound options
- Enzymatic/Bacterial Cleaner
- Brand Eximo
- Model XMO012
- Weight 0.75, 3, or 36 pounds
Completely safe for people, pets, and plants
An easy-to-use cleaner
Good for multiple stain causers
Takes a long time to work
It’s easy to use too much
Dried dust residue can be difficult to remove
Best Concrete Cleaner Buying Guide & FAQ
As you can see, there are many options available when it comes to choosing a concrete cleaner. As should be expected, some are much more effective than others, and some are much better for the environment than others. Your choice also greatly depends on what types of stains you’re up against. Are you hoping to remove mold and mildew stains, hard water deposits, or tough set-in grease and oil stains? Not all concrete cleaners are created equally, so we’ve put together this informative buying guide to help you choose the one that best suits your needs.
Do You Need a Concrete Cleaner?
Some people might ask the question, “What’s the point of cleaning concrete?” It’s outside, it’s supposed to get dirty, right? That’s true to a certain extent, but depending on what’s staining or dirtying up your concrete, it can lead to corrosion and untimely erosion or breakdown of your home’s concrete, whether it’s a driveway, walkway, garage floor, basement floor, or even a decorative concrete countertop. This can further lead to cracking or weakening of the concrete, which can end up costing you a lot of money to fix or replace in the long run.
We all know that stained and dirty concrete detracts from your home’s appearance and curb appeal, possibly even bringing down your overall property value in the long run. That’s a pretty good reason to get out and clean your concrete.
Other times, stains can be caused by caustic or toxic substances that you wouldn’t want yourself, your family, or your pets to come in contact with. If that’s the case, it’s imperative to clean your concrete as soon as possible.
- Concrete cleaners improve the look of your concrete, and thus your home
- Concrete cleaners protect and extend the life of your concrete, saving you possibly thousands of dollars in expensive concrete replacements or repairs
- Concrete cleaners remove potentially hazardous or dangerous substances and prevent your family, pets, and environment from being unintentionally injured.
The Most Common Types of Concrete Cleaners
There are several different types of concrete cleaners that are designed specifically to meet certain needs, and then there are others that are more versatile, overall cleaners suitable for a multitude of different substances simultaneously. With the increasing popularity of decorative concrete floors and countertops in homes, it’s vital to ensure you’re picking the appropriate one for the job so that you won’t cause more damage to your surface in the long run. Here are some of the main types of concrete cleaners.
These cleaners are the most abrasive and generally the most aggressive cleaners. They’re designed for removing stains, dirt, and contamination that is dissolvable only by acids. Think high salt content solutions and hard water stains. Acidic cleaners contain active ingredients and come in ready-to-use concentrations that you apply directly to stubborn stains and substances. Because acidic cleaners are so strong, it’s imperative to thoroughly wash all of it off the concrete once you’re done using it. Leaving it on can lead to erosion, cracking, or damage the integrity of your concrete over time, which is exactly the opposite outcome that you’re hoping to achieve by cleaning your concrete in the first place.
Alkaline cleaners are also sometimes referred to as concrete degreasers. They’re known for being the best option to dissolve and remove stubborn and unsightly stains caused by grease, oil, and other hydrocarbon-based substances. Alkaline concrete cleaners are also ideal for neutralizing and removing acidic cleaners after you’re done using them. They are usually packaged as concentrates that you dilute down to the desired consistency and are much more cost-effective and work better than using baking soda and water to neutralize your acidic cleaners. Just be sure to leave these cleaners on long enough for them to really do their job. Many times, people will wash them off too soon, missing out on the desired level of cleanliness.
Be aware these cleaners will need to be wiped away if you’re using them for grease or oil, as their effective method of cleaning is to actually lift the substances out of the concrete, causing them to come to the surface to be removed. (If cleaners aren’t getting the desired results for your garage floor, learn more about our favorite garage floor paints here.)
pH Neutral Cleaners
pH neutral cleaners are the mildest concrete cleaners you can get. They’re especially suited for indoor floors and countertops that don’t have a lot of heavy stains or damage. Use them on sealed concrete surfaces that don’t have a lot of deeply embedded grime and dirt, since they’re cleaned often. That being said, they’re also suitable for use on unsealed concrete, but they will only be effective on very mild problems and will only frustrate and disappoint you if you’re hoping to remove stubborn rust, grease, oil, mildew, or mold stains.
pH neutral cleaners come as a concentrate that you then dilute to your desired ratio according to the level of cleaning you need. For additional info on sealed concrete, feel free to check out our favorite concrete driveway sealers .
Enzymatic or Bacterial Cleaners
This category of concrete cleaners is relatively new compared to the others listed here. They use the wonder of organic chemistry and active, living enzymes to attack, breakdown, digest, and remove stains and contaminants. They’re also often referred to as oxidative cleaners, as they break down hydrocarbon-based, protein-based, and starch-based contaminants through the process of oxidation. They’re particularly effective on stubborn pet urine, not just the stains, but that lingering smell that seems impossible to get rid of. You all know someone who’s lived with pets and they just can’t seem to get the offensive odor of stale urine out of their home. This cleaner is the miracle they’ve been waiting for.
Perhaps the only drawback to enzymatic cleaners is that they take a long time to work. Depending on the size of the area being cleaned, they need to be allowed time to do their job.
The Most Important Features of Concrete Cleaners
When choosing a reliable and effective concrete cleaner, there are a few key features to look for that will indicate that you’re getting the best bang for your buck and not just buying glorified dish soap. Let’s face it, if you’re going to go through all the time and effort it takes to clean your concrete surfaces, you want a result that will be satisfying and not leave you frustrated and feeling ripped off.
Proven Track Record
One of the key features you want to look for in a good concrete cleaner is a proven track record of delivering stellar results. Reading online reviews from different sites will help you know if the product you’re considering is effective and if the results it claims are realistic and reliable. Cleaners that have been around for a long time are usually well-respected and trusted for doing what is needed to yield desired results.
Another thing to pay attention to when selecting a good concrete cleaner is its chemical makeup. Are the main chemical ingredients going to be strong enough to produce the level of cleaning you need? A reputable concrete cleaner won’t skimp on high-quality ingredients that will do a thorough job. Another thing to watch for in this area is whether the chemicals are environmentally safe or not. Some of you may be committed to only using components that are biodegradable and non-toxic, safe for family and pets. If this is the case, make sure you read the labels to learn what the active chemicals or compounds of the concrete cleaner are.
Most reliable and effective cleaners will come sold as an economical concentrated formula that you dilute with water to the level you want in order to achieve a successful and thorough clean. This allows you the ability to customize the cleaning compound and tailor it based on the job you have to do. It’s the most versatile way to use a concrete cleaner. It’s like having several different strengths of concrete cleaner in one efficient bottle.
Best Concrete Cleaner FAQs:
Q: What is the best concrete cleaner?
A: The best concrete cleaner is one that is well-known and has a proven track record for delivering great results for that particular job.
Q: How much is the best concrete cleaner?
A: The more reputable cleaners tend to run around $15-30 per gallon of concentrate.
Q: How to make a concrete cleaner at home?
A: The easiest and most common DIY concrete cleaner is made up of 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/8 cup of liquid dish detergent dissolved in 1 gallon of water.
Our Top Pick
This is our favorite concrete cleaner because it’s not only environmentally safe and non-toxic to humans and animals, but it comes in a dilutable concentrate that allows you to achieve different strengths of cleaner based on different project needs. It’s also a versatile cleaner that is designed for grime and grease on a variety of surfaces, including concrete, metals, plastics, engines, siding, floors, walls, countertops, and car exteriors. It can also be used in various cleaning machines, such as floor scrubbers, pressure washers, carpet cleaners, ultrasonic cleaners, and more.
With the plethora of great options for high-quality concrete cleaners currently on the market, like the Simple Green Pro HD Heavy Duty Cleaner Concentrate and the Scotts Outdoor Cleaner Plus OxiClean, it can be difficult to know which cleaner is best for your particular needs. Hopefully our well-researched and thorough buying guide will help you weed through the options and find a concrete cleaner that will deliver reliable and meticulous results.