Many of us had used vinegar as a cleaning solution since before green cleaning was cool. Whether it was a trick you learned from your grandmother or a solution you found when you accidentally stained a dress, vinegar has long been regarded as an effective cleaning mechanism. But will it work on concrete?
Vinegar cleans concrete and gets rid of stains. However, it is not as effective as other cleaning solutions. Even so, you can use vinegar to clean up concrete stains on a budget. Note, though, that you may want to get other cleaning supplies as well for removing bacteria and germs from the concrete.
Let’s dive deeper into the workings of vinegar on concrete. Along the way, I’ll also discuss how vinegar does what it does and why it has earned a spot in your coveted cleaning cabinet.
What Does Vinegar Do to Concrete?
You should be able to tell just by the smell of vinegar that it’s a powerful acid.
And if the smell wasn’t enough, its sour taste should be an indicator of the acidity. So what does this acidity do to your concrete?
Vinegar strips concrete of surface-level messes when used as a cleaning solution. It’s part acetic acid, meaning it’s a powerful tool for breaking down materials such as dirt or stains. You can effectively use it to clean stains off your concrete.
Vinegar’s acidic nature is suitable for some materials but terrible for others when left on for too long or not diluted effectively. It may begin to strip more than just the surface-level layers of dirt and grime if left on for over 30 minutes and can do so in even less time for more delicate materials.
For concrete, in particular, vinegar is relatively safe, so you can use it to clean stains off your concrete, as discussed earlier. Vinegar does not make concrete dissolve or get weaker, but it may affect the strength of the cement holding the concrete together.
Cement and concrete are two different things, though. So while vinegar is okay for general use on concrete when diluted, it can still be harmful to cement. That’s why sometimes, on a job site, you might see construction workers using vinegar to remove cement from their clothing.
Does White Vinegar Hurt Concrete?
The acidic content is the difference between white vinegar and distilled wine or unique vinegar. Typically, white vinegar will have a higher amount of acid. So, will using white vinegar for cleaning hurt your concrete?
White vinegar does not hurt concrete. Like regular vinegar, white vinegar can help strip stains from your concrete without causing any extensive damage. You must dilute the vinegar before applying it to the concrete. Also, pay attention to how long you leave the vinegar on your concrete.
White vinegar shouldn’t leave any holes or cracks in your concrete, but this doesn’t mean you should let it sit for long periods. As discussed, the cement within the concrete stands to lose strength if vinegar is applied for too long. Be sure to check the acidic content of your vinegar to see the appropriate dilution amounts before trying any cleaning.
What Is the Best Way To Clean Concrete?
If you want to weigh out all your options, consider a few different things.
Your personal cleaning preferences are essential, so it’s okay to be picky. Whether you want to use a tool instead of a natural remedy or use a natural remedy rather than a chemical, there are options.
The best way to clean concrete is using any of the items below:
- Vinegar, baking soda, or a combination of the two
- Power washer
- Diluted bleach
- Kitty litter
Vinegar Is Safe for Your Concrete As Long You Don’t Leave It Too Long
Vinegar, as discussed above, is an effective and safe way to clean concrete. The acid breaks down surface stains and unwanted layers while maintaining the integrity of the concrete, so long as you pay attention to the dilution levels and don’t leave it on too long.
Making a paste out of baking soda and water can also help clean concrete, just as baking soda helps clean teeth.
Power Washer Will Make Concrete Cleaning Quicker
Power washers were made for this type of challenging job. Though you may still need to add some kind of cleaning solution, like a degreaser, pressure washers can clean concrete as long as the pressure is high enough. There are specific attachments for pressure cleaners that make this process much easier, and using the correct pressure can change the game.
Using Bleach Works As Long as You Dilute It
Bleach is another option for cleaning your concrete. Using the correct amount, you can clean your concrete and get rid of bacteria and other germs. Just be sure to follow safety protocols and dilute the bleach appropriately.
Kitty Litter May Help in Cleaning Concrete
While this is a unique suggestion, it makes more sense the longer you think about it. Kitty litter draws moisture up and absorbs it. So, if you were to put it on a stain or a liquid, it would absorb the smells and oils of that liquid into the litter. Then, when all the liquid is absorbed, you’ll clean the litter box more effectively. This concept may just work on your concrete, too!
What Is a Good Concrete Cleaner?
What would be considered a good concrete cleaner is dependent on your definition of “good”?
If you want something natural and chemical-free, which would be considered good, you might opt for home remedies. However, if you aren’t worried about chemical content and just want something to get the job done, there is a different answer.
A good cleaner removes stains and cleans the surfaces effectively without hurting them. Vinegar, baking soda, bleach, or power washing are good ways to clean concrete. Go for diluted vinegar or baking soda for chemical-free solutions. For a quick solution, consider bleach.
If you worry about product safety, the EPA has a helpful guide on what chemicals are safe and which ones you should avoid.
How Can I Make My Concrete White Again?
Over time, your concrete may have become lackluster.
If you’ve noticed that everyone else on the street’s driveway is white, and yours is yellowing, there are a few solutions.
You can make your concrete white again using vinegar, baking soda, or bleach. Pressure washing systems are also another solution for discolored concrete.
There’s no need to replace your entire driveway or sidewalk because of discoloration. Doing a deep cleaning may be time-consuming, but it’ll save you money in the long run.
Vinegar is an excellent cleaning solution for concrete and other things. It can break down surface layer stains with its acidic content. When diluted properly and not left on for an extended period, it can clean your concrete without damaging its integrity.
This isn’t your only option, though. You can also use the following products:
- Power washer
- Baking soda paste
- Kitty litter
For more, check out Does Vinegar Stain Carpet? Please Read Before Cleaning.
Hey, I’m Jim, and I’m the author of this website. I have been teaching people a wide variety of survivalism topics for over five years and have a lifetime of experience fishing, camping, general survivalism, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!