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This Strange Product Is The Best For Cleaning Stains From Concrete

How To Clean Concrete Stains

A few years ago, I may or may not have stained our back steps while working on a post about making your own firestarters using egg cartons, dryer lint, and melted wax. (Okay, so I definitely did stain the step. But in my defense, I figured it would be relatively easy to pour the melted wax into an egg carton without making a mess. This did not turn out to be the case.) The greasy wax left behind an unsightly stain on the concrete steps, and to put it briefly, my husband was not pleased.

Related: How To Make Your Own Firestarters

Even though I don’t really understand why something like a concrete stain would drive him crazy, I DO understand getting irrationally upset over little things once in a while. ;-) There are a hundred little habits of his that drive me up the wall, and sometimes I get a little more annoyed by them than I should. But that’s just part of being married for as long as we have, and we’ve found that trying to solve the problem usually helps smooth things over. So for my husband’s sake, I resolved to find a way to eliminate that stain for good and restore our clean concrete.

After a lot of digging around online, I finally came across a tip that sounded promising. Someone claimed that Drano (yes, the stuff you use to unclog drains) can help clean concrete. I was willing to give it a try, and let me tell you, it worked so much better than I could have imagined! The greasy, waxy stain virtually disappeared, as did the other small greasy stains I tried it on. Here’s how it works, so you can use this miracle concrete cleaner too!

How To Clean Concrete Stains

How To Clean Concrete Stains

You’ll need:

*Note: I used Drano Max Gel, but I’m sure other similar cleaners would work well too!

How To Clean Concrete Stains

Directions:

Start by squeezing or pouring drain cleaner onto the stain to cover it. Let the cleaner sit on the stain for a few minutes to help it sink it.

How To Clean Concrete Stains

Then take a stiff scrub brush and give the stain a good scrub (be sure to use a nylon brush as a metal brush can damage concrete). Use that elbow grease! :-)

How To Clean Concrete Stains

Once the stain has lifted, use paper towels to mop up as much of the cleaner and stain as possible. (You may want to use gloves for this part to make sure you’re not making too much contact with the drain cleaner.) Dispose of the paper towels.

How To Clean Concrete Stains

Finally, take your garden hose and rinse the area thoroughly with plenty of water. There won’t be very much cleaner remaining, but you’ll still want to dilute any remaining cleaner as much as possible so it doesn’t hurt the environment.

How To Clean Concrete Stains

I think the pictures capture just how effectively this method works! If you have tough concrete stains that you haven’t be able to remove, I definitely recommend giving this method a try. And who knows, it could just save your marriage too! ;-)

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Years ago I worked at a small gas station and store. When out concrete drive way started looking nasty the owner would have us use cheap cat litter.
    I have seen people just pour it on the stains and leave it. But we would stuff it into the cement with our shoes and then sweep it. You couldn’t see the stains any longer. Easier and better than using chemicals.imo

      • my reply gort shorted anyway the drano trick did not work for me..anyway I have a comment/question I for one do not see any truth in saying that white vinegar softens clothes I have used it several times and I just do not see or feel my clothes softened or lint free does anyone else share that ?

  • Drano is extremely caustic (basic)! You must neutralize it with something acidic like vinegar. Use caution-heavy gloves and protective glasses are essential.

  • Um, yeah….Drano, no. It’s scary to think what damage that stuff could do to the environment. But, something that I discovered years ago that works like a charm on like, greasy car oil spots on the driveway, garage, etc. is this stuff called Goo Gone. It comes in a liquid. Its thin enough that it can be sprayed directly on the stain. A little scrubbing, some paper towel blotting and rinse. Depending on the porosity of the concrete or the substance of the stain , there might need to be a couple of applications over a couple of days, but it works. That stuff is as staple in my household cleaning products as is a bottle of bleach.

  • Please use safety glasses. Getting drain cleaner (sodium hydroxide) in your eye will most likely result in blindness. While you’re at it, read and follow all the safety precautions for the product.

    For all you chemiphobic people who have commented, the chemical in drain cleaner or lye can be derived easily from common ashes, and like ashes from a forest fire, is easily neutralized by the soil and environment. It also reacts with atmospheric carbon dioxide to form washing soda (sodium carbonate).

    The real danger with such common chemicals is they are available cheaply and very concentrated, and can be hazardous when handled incorrectly.

  • Another thing Drano or any kind of drain un-clogger is good for is getting your white porcelain sink back to it’s bright white color and eliminating stains. I have old white porcelain sinks in my kitchen and they scratch and stain very easily. I pour Drano gel over the entire thing and let it soak just a few minutes, when I rinse it away my sinks are as white as can be. No stain marks or scratches!

  • I’m with Anna, not good for the environment. I have rescued 4 feral cats that have made my front porch their home and would never use anything outside to make them sick. When I have a concrete stain my master mechanic son told me to use kitty litter. I sprinkle it on and let it sit for a little bit and then kind of rub it in with my shoe. It has always cleaned my concrete very nicely. Kitty litter is is next to the best thing to use with outdoor cats.

  • Concrete has a pH of 12-13. When you introduce heavily acidic solutions, it will certainly dissolve the cement paste, which is what is holding the stains you seek to remove. Left on the surface, the acid will etch the concrete and leave you with a very rough concrete. Personal protective gear should be used for eyes, lungs, and skin.

  • I have some stains on my concrete, but I doubt I will use this method. We have pets. Even a little cleaner would be caustic on their feet, much less up their noses.

  • Your cement cleaner using liquid drink is wonderful. However, it is caustic. Therefore, I recommend you also add to your list, facial, (includes eyes of course), and skin protection for your arms…

  • Read this just in time, because I was telling my Son Adam to pick up some concrete cleaner at Lowe’s & to borrow his Uncle’s pressure washer, so he could clean the front & back porches that he has made a complete mess of. L8ke your husband I too have my peeves & dirty stained concrete (I get it from my Dad who is anal himself…a perfectionist if you will lol). Thank You for sharing this with me & I am going to use your method 1st.

  • Interesting. I’ve heard you can use a can coke for cleaning up this type of mess. One of my books said that’s what the police use when they’re trying clean up a crime scene- eg blood, etc.

  • Just a comment – I am wondering if you need to neutralize the acid in the drain cleaner? When you acid stain concrete – you have to neutralize the acid with baking soda or ammonia before you move to the next step of the process. I am going to try the draino in the garage today – but when I’m done I am going to neutralize it with ammonia. Thanks for the idea!

    • The Ph of drano is 11. You can’t neutralize that with baking soda because it has a Ph of 9. Vinegar or ammonia would both work because they have phs of 2.4 and 0.1 respectively. I personally would use baking soda because it is less stinky. But please, use protective eyewear, gloves and long sleaves. Chemical burns are no fun. If you think you may have one flush with water for 15 minutes. (advice from the wife of a chemist, I have learned a lot over the last 3 decades)

  • Great tip! I’ll remember this one! Just a suggestion: Drano is pretty caustic stuff. I would strongly suggest gloves and safety glasses, as well as possibly a dust mask to protect your eyes and mouth. Also, it would be a good idea to read the “what if” instructions in case you get it on your skin. Better safe than sorry.

    Thanks for all of your hard work and your great tips, Jillee!

    • Yes! The pictures shows heavy rubber gloves, but this is a strong acid. I’d wear safety goggles to scrub with it because of small splats that can come up. And no way would I use a full-strength water spray to wash it off — the backsplash could be dangerous to skin or eyes, not to mention clothes.

  • I believe one should not let the wash water just drain away. If it’s going to slide onto some noxious weeds by the clean spot that might be ok.

    • I took spray paint off a driveway with a pumice toilet bowl scrubber tool – I went through two of them – but it definitely took off the spray paint.

      • Good idea. I never think of using the pumice outside of the bathroom.
        Jillee needs to do a pumice post.

      • Be careful! My husband used a chemical to remove snow from our driveway and it turned the driveway to POWDER. There went $11,000.00 to repair.

      • I’m going to try the pumice! I’ve never seen that before. A pretty large part of our small patio is covered with red (and glitter) spray paint from my kids working on their Valentine’s boxes! I’ve tried many things to remove it with no luck!

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