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How To Clean Concrete Floors

Concrete floors are ideal for businesses: they are relatively cheap, extremely durable and long-lasting and relatively easy to care for. Having said that, if concrete floors are allowed to become discoloured and dirty, they can look very unprepossessing, which can be off-putting if they are in areas frequented by customers. The simple solution to that is to ensure that concrete floors are kept clean – let’s take a look at how.

Types of Concrete Floors

  • Concrete floors in industrial and commercial settings are often sealed. This gives them an attractive shine, and protects the concrete from picking up all but the worst staining. Sealed concrete floors are the most common type of floor.
  • Unfinished concrete floors are sometimes seen in factory settings, where the public is not usually allowed. These floors are as sturdy as sealed floors but will soak up stains and spills such as chemicals, oils and so on, leaving unsightly patches on the concrete.
  • Decorative concrete floors have textures, decorations and even paint embedded into them to create an attractive floor. These are mainly used in high-traffic public areas that must look good at all times, and which can handle regular mopping and heavy duty scrubbing.

No matter which type of floor you have, all concrete floors are robust and can be kept clean and in great condition with the right tools and cleaning materials.

Advantages of Concrete Floors

As mentioned above, concrete flooring is very durable and strong, able to take immense weight and will not wear or deteriorate with frequent scrubbing and mopping.

It is also relatively easy to keep workplaces hygienic, as equipment can be easily dollied out of the way to allow for deep cleaning, gliding effortlessly over the nearly frictionless floor.

The final advantage is that concrete floors are a very cost effective option, being relatively cheap to install and then lasting for many years with just basic maintenance and occasional resealing.

How to Keep Concrete Floors Clean

As mentioned above, concrete floors are a) often used in industrial settings and b) can suffer from spills and dirt build-up in these settings. This is not something that can be ignored: many industries have extremely high standards of cleanliness.

There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of grime to be aware of on concrete floors.

The first is everyday dirt and dust which is carried in on clothing and shoes, blown in by the breeze, and even ground in by vehicles and machinery. This kind of dirt looks bad, but is generally superficial, just sitting on the surface of the concrete.

A regular regimen of sweeping, with a stiff-bristled broom, if you are old-school, or with a sweeping machine which is the best choice for very large concrete floors will whisk off loose debris and dirt before it can become embedded in the floor.

High traffic areas will become quite dirty over the course of a day – between cleanings – and these will require the use of specialist cleaning chemicals alongside the industrial scrubbing machines.

The second type of dirt is that which sinks into or bonds with the concrete floor, seeping through the seal and almost becoming part of the fabric of the floor. This dirt will not usually shift without the use of detergents.

  • Detergents are chemicals that break down the bonds between dirt and the surface it is found on, so it can be swept away – rather like soap loosening dirt from your fingers so it can be washed down the drain. These can be rinsed away once they have done their job.In industrial settings, these products are often unscented so as to leave a neutral – but clean – smell. Detergent can be applied undiluted (do follow all hazardous material guidance, some products must be diluted before any use if sold in extreme concentrations!) to heavy stains, left for a while and then scrubbed off, while more lightly soiled areas benefit from a lighter work over with diluted detergent.
  • Disinfectants are chemicals which actively kill bacteria. These chemicals should be applied to clean surfaces and allowed to dry in place so their disinfectant action can continue. Food production factories will usually have a sweep-clean-disinfect routine that must be followed to prevent contamination from occurring.
  • Eco-friendly alternatives are available for many detergents and disinfectants alike. For example, baking soda is a wonderful substitute for detergent as the fizzing action produced when it is mixed with vinegar works to dissolve the bonds of the grime on the concrete.It is also wonderful for lifting stains, even those which seem to have sunk deeply into the floor, like motor oil. Lemon juice – undiluted – is also a great natural cleaner, as is spirit vinegar, although both of these leave quite a sharp smell behind.

Grease and oil stains on concrete floors can be problematic. They can cause slips and falls, often have a pungent smell, and can attract rodents if not cleared up thoroughly. Soap – that is to say, detergent – breaks up fat and grease, loosening it from the concrete, so you can swab it away.

Heavy spills of grease or oil should be soaked up immediately with absorbent paper, straw or sawdust – anything dry and absorbent that will mop up and hold onto the oil until as much of the oil or grease is gone, and then the paste of strong detergent applied to lift the remaining residue.

Best Tools and Equipment for Cleaning Concrete Floors

Pressure mops and steam cleaners are excellent for concrete floors, especially if they are used from the beginning. They will keep the floor looking new and clean for much longer than traditional brooms which rely on human muscle for their power.

However, be aware that too much moisture on your floor can create its own problems – floors must be dried well after mopping and steaming so as to avoid rising damp, mould growth and unpleasantly clammy working conditions for the workers. Always allow floors to dry completely before allowing foot traffic to resume.

To summarise: there is no reason why a concrete floor cannot be kept looking like new with the right tools and cleaning regime – or why an existing floor cannot be restored to a like-new state with a little work.

If you have any queries about cleaning your concrete floors give us a call today!

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