Photo: Phillip Foster (Shutterstock)
Out of all the usual household tasks, washing the floors is one of the easiest to put off (repeatedly). It’s a lot of hassle to go through only to have people walk on the clean floors as soon as they dry.
And if you happen to have unsealed concrete floors in your basement or garage, you probably have better things to do than wash them on a regular basis (if ever). But let’s say that you find yourself in a situation where you really need to clean these hard, unfinished floors. Here’s what to do.
How to clean unsealed concrete floors
Because unsealed concrete is naturally porous, when a basement or garage floods or something spills, floors made of the material tend to absorb the liquid, which, if given a chance to soak in, can result in stains. But even if liquid isn’t involved, any grooves, cracks, or unevenness in the floor give dirt and dust a place to settle.
Flood clean-up is a topic for a different day, so today we’re going to focus on cleaning unsealed concrete floors when they’re dry. Let’s go:
If you don’t have a shop vac, use a broom and dustpan to sweep up any larger pieces of debris that has accumulated on the floor—things that might damage a regular vacuum.
Now that the bigger pieces are gone, go over the floor again with your shop vac or regular vacuum, taking the time to suck up as the remaining dust and dirt. Break out the attachments, if necessary.
Tackle the stains
If you come across any stains that you’d like to remove, now’s the time to do that. A few of your options include using:
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide: Make a paste out of both ingredients, apply some to the stain, then scrub with firm-bristled brush. If it doesn’t work right away, apply more of the paste and this time, let it sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing.Tide (or a similar powdered) detergent: Mix the detergent with a little water to make a paste. Wipe the floor with a wet cloth first, apply the paste, then use a brush to scrub. Rinse the area with clean water.White vinegar: Pour white vinegar over rust stains, let it penetrate for at least 30 minutes, then scrub it with a stiff-bristled brush, and rinse the area with clean water.Liquid dish soap: Apply to stains either directly or mixed with warm water, scrub, then rinse.
Wash the floor
Grab a mop and a bucket and mix up one of the following solutions:
Baking soda (1/2 cup) mixed into a large bucket of warm waterLiquid dish soap (2 tsp) + white vinegar (1 cup) mixed into one gallon of warm Tide [or other powdered laundry detergent] (1/3 cup) mixed into one gallon of warm water
Mop the floor once with the cleaning solution, and then a second time with clean, warm water. Use a towel to dry any areas where water has pooled. Otherwise, let the floors air dry.