What To Spray on Concrete Before Pressure Washing

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Tyre marks, oil leaks, chemicals, mould and mildew can affect the beauty of your decorative concrete driveways. And always, pressure washing solves your problem. Sometimes, simply using a pressure washer will not do the trick. You may need a cleaner or degreaser before turning on your washer for stubborn stains.

Pressure washing is an effective way to clean and refresh your concrete surfaces, whether it’s your driveway, patio, or sidewalks. But for an effective result, it is necessary to pre-treat the concrete before pressure washing. It helps to loosen dirt, stains, and grime, making those surfaces easier to clean during the cleaning process. Pre-treating your concrete surfaces enhances cleaning efficiency and ensures a more thorough and satisfactory outcome.

You can get different cleaners like Sodium Hypochlorite to remove different types of blemishes and contaminations, so how do you determine what to spray on concrete before pressure washing? Additionally, what is the best way to power wash concrete? Walk through our blog to understand different kinds of stains and solutions for each type.

What You Will Need?

Do not apply any chemicals to the concrete surfaces directly. The first step you should do is to prepare your concrete surface properly. Prepare the area by removing large stones, leaves, dirt or electrical cables. Once the area is clear, tape off adjacent surfaces such as brick retaining walls, outlets, or garage doors to avoid damage while pressure washing. 

Consult our professional cleaners to avoid damage during pressure washing.

Now comes the need to gather all the necessary materials for pre-treating your concrete. Depending on the type of stains and the condition of your concrete, you might consider using any of the following types of cleaners:

Acidic Cleaners

Acid cleaning, also known as acid etching, contains mild acids that are effective for dissolving mineral deposits and rust stains. 

These cleaners are heavy-duty mixtures containing mild acids that remove stains, dirt, and contamination soluble in acidic solutions. However, you should use them cautiously, as excessive use can harm the concrete surface.

You can choose Muriatic acid if you use an acidic cleaner on your concrete. But neutralize it after cleaning your driveway to prevent it from rusting the surface. 

Alkaline Cleaners

Alkaline cleaners, called “concrete degreasers,” effectively remove hydrocarbon-based stains such as oil and grease. These cleaners make concrete surfaces much easier due to their high pH level. 

Ideal for removing grease, oil, and organic stains, alkaline cleaners break down these substances, facilitating easier removal during pressure washing.

pH-Neutral Cleaners

pH-neutral cleaners are suitable for general cleaning and light stain removal. They are safe for both your concrete and nearby plants.

Remember that their dilution should be adjusted according to your desired cleaning intensity when opting for pH-neutral cleaners on your patio or indoor concrete floors. Read the precise guidelines on their packaging, detailing the recommended water-to-cleaner ratio to achieve optimal results.

Bacterial Cleaners

Bacterial cleaners are environmentally friendly and can eliminate mould, mildew, and algae stains. These cleaners Utilize enzymes to break down organic matter and effectively treat starch-, protein-, and hydrocarbon-based stains like pet urine.

Different Kinds of Stains and Solutions For Each Type

You can use several chemicals and cleaning products while cleaning concrete surfaces. But make sure you choose the right one depending on the issue you must tackle. 

You can try:

Dish Soap or Detergent

For light stains, a mild dish soap or detergent with water can often suffice as an effective pre-treatment.

Here’s how you can use dish soap to clean concrete floors.

Step 1: Sweep the concrete floor with a broom to remove loose dirt.
Step 2: Mix 1 gallon of warm water with 1 teaspoon of dish soap.
Step 3: Dip your mop into the cleaning mixture and wring it out.
Step 4: Wipe the mop over the concrete floor, moving it back and forth.
Step 5: Allow the concrete to air dry.

Concrete Cleaner or Degreaser

Concrete cleaner or degreaser is specific for breaking down oil and grease stains. These chemicals will help loosen up hydrocarbon-based stains like oil and grease and work well for porous materials.


Bleach is primarily for brightening and eradicating moulds and mildew stains. Dilute 1 cup of bleach in a gallon of water and apply on the surface. Let it sit for a few minutes without letting the solution dry and scrub away. 

Due to its potency, bleach should be used sparingly and with appropriate safety precautions. 

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Pour one cup of baking soda, 1 cup of water, and 2 cups of white vinegar, then spray the solution or apply it on the surface and let it sit. 

This process can be useful in lifting mineral deposits and certain stains.

Why Clean Concrete Before Pressure Washing?

Pre-treating your concrete before pressure washing is an essential work you must do. Besides its aesthetic benefits, concrete cleaning ensures you the following:

  • Enhanced Efficiency: Pre-treatment with cleaning agents helps to break down stains, allowing the pressure washer to more effectively remove dirt and grime.
  • Superior Results: The pressure washer can produce a cleaner and more appealing surface by addressing deep-seated stains during pre-treatment.
  • Time and Cost Savings: Effective pre-treatment often means shorter cleaning times and reduced water usage, leading to cost savings.

When time is limited, or you cannot personally attend to your concrete cleaning needs, you can rely on McCoy’s Pressure Washing. Our concrete driveway Lebanon TN sealing and cleaning team utilizes high-quality commercial products and state-of-the-art machinery to rejuvenate your concrete, even with persistent stains. 

How Pre-Treating Helps With Concrete Cleaning

Pre-treating your concrete before pressure washing sets the stage for a more efficient and effective cleaning process. By breaking down stains and grime, pre-treatment ensures that the pressure washer can thoroughly clean the surface with less effort.

Choose the Right Cleaner for Your Concrete

Selecting the appropriate cleaner depends on the nature of the stains you’re dealing with. Always conduct a small test in an inconspicuous area to confirm that the chosen cleaner won’t cause damage to your concrete.

Properly pre-treating your concrete surfaces will pave the way for a successful and satisfying pressure-washing endeavor. Choose your cleaner wisely, adhere to safety guidelines, and relish the revitalized appearance of your concrete spaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best chemical to clean concrete?

The optimal choice of pre-treatment chemical depends on the specific type of stain. Mild stains respond well to dish soap, while grease and oil stains need the power of concrete cleaners or degreasers.

What to do before pressure washing?

Before pressure washing, cleaning the area thoroughly to remove loose debris is crucial. Additionally, pre-treating visible stains will ensure a comprehensive and successful cleaning process.

Should I use bleach to pressure wash my driveway?

While bleach can effectively eliminate mould and mildew stains, its use should be cautious and well-diluted to prevent harm to nearby plants and surfaces.

How long should concrete cure before pressure washing?

For newly cured concrete, allow a minimum of 14 days for proper curing before initiating the pressure washing process. This period ensures that the concrete reaches its full strength and durability.

What do you seal concrete with after pressure washing?

After pressure washing, consider applying a suitable concrete sealer. This protective layer helps safeguard the surface against future stains and damage.

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