choosing the cleaner or degreaser

Whether it’s your residential or commercial property, oil or grease films on the floor can be a serious eyesore.

Worse, it’s difficult to remove these stains.  A floor that’s heavily covered with oil is very difficult to degrease, unless you have the right tool: cleaner or degreaser.

Scuffs, adhesive tape residues or rubber tire marks are other forms of stains. To remove these stains, you would need the right cleaner.

Concrete cleaners are readily available in most hardware stores, specialty concrete distribution outlets and janitorial supply outlets.

Different Types of Concrete Cleaner

To guide you on what to get, here are the different types of concrete cleaners:

  • pH Neutral cleaners

Notice that manufacturers often categorise degreasers as either acidic or alkaline due to their varying effectiveness in dissolving or cleaning different types of stain.

Some stains are better broken down in highly alkaline conditions while others will be dissolved and removed more effectively by acidic solutions.

The pH neutral cleaners are neither acidic not alkaline – they have a pH value of about 7. These are mild cleaners designed to clean interior sealed concrete surfaces that have no imbedded dirt.

These cleaners are typically concentrated. Dilute them with different quantities of water depending on the required level of cleaning.

How to use:

  • Soak the concrete surface with the pH neutral cleaner
  • Scrub it thoroughly with a suitable brush
  • Leave for a few minutes then vacuum the residue of mop up the surface
  • Rinse the surface with clean water, preferably from a high pressure water jet.
  • In case dirt remains, repeat the entire process or consider using a stronger solution.
  • Acidic cleaners

These are stronger cleaners designed primarily to remove dirt, stubborn stains and contamination that dissolve in acidic solutions. They are sold in most specialty concrete distribution outlets.

Use these acidic cleaners to wash away efflorescence. This is the white crystalline or powder-like insoluble metallic salt that typically appears on concrete surfaces and cannot be washed away by plain water.

Image Credit to Photobucket
Image Credit to Niskyne’s bucket

Efflorescence  occurs when the concrete has a high salt content, if the floor is exposed to hard water, or if the soil is highly alkaline.  

Acidic cleaners can either be in concentrated form or in a ready-to-use formulation. You can directly apply it to the stained area.

After removing the stain, be sure to neutralize the concrete and rinse well with clean water.

Also, consider using a sealer on the cleaned spot to protect it from future formation of the salt or alkaline contamination.

  • Alkaline cleaners

Commonly referred to as concrete degreasers, these take off  grease, oil or other hydrocarbon-based stains.

Due to their high alkalinity, the concrete degreasers emulsify (breaks down) the greasy contamination.

Apart from the stains, these cleaners can also neutralise concrete surfaces, especially after an acid stain or after they were cleaned using an acid cleaner. This is necessary because concrete is alkaline in its natural state.

These cleaners are generally concentrates, thus you need to dilute it   To with water before application. The amount of water you add to the alkaline cleaner will depend on the level of stain on the concrete surface.

For older or deep stains, apply the cleaner directly.

Let it soak and scrub so the cleaner can get into the stain to see results. Allow a little more time for the cleaner to work. Older stains may remain after first application so you may need to apply the cleaner again.   

You should be able to get your alkaline degreaser from an online store that deals in concrete cleaners and degreasers or at any concrete distribution outlet near you.  

  • Bacterial cleaners

Also referred to as oxidation cleaners, bacterial cleaners use the newest formula.  More specifically,  they use active enzymes and organic chemistry that would attack, emulsify and even digest grease, oil or hydrocarbons.

This makes them effective in removing hydrocarbon-based, protein-based and starch-based stains. They are therefore the best in removing dog urine from the concrete floor.

They mostly work even without water nor do they require any scrubbing or agitation. Just apply them directly to the stain and leave them on.

They  leave little or no residue to require washing. The bacteria or the enzyme in the cleaner actually eats away the contaminant leaving virtually nothing behind.  

The problem is, the bacteria needs time to do its work.  It can take days or even weeks to finish the job.  

They are also not readily available. But a little search on the internet should point you to the right store.

Final Thoughts..

Concrete floor stains require specific cleaners. Now that you know the different types of cleaners for each stain, you can now get what’s best to remove the stubborn dirt and stains and keep your concrete floor clean.

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